Spider veins. It’s an apt name for those spindly veins that appear on the surface of your skin, usually in your legs. More than 40% of women over the age of 50 develop spider veins, and the reasons for this high number are varied.
In the following, Dr. Satjit Bhusri and the team here at The Vein Institute at Upper East Side Cardiology explore why postmenopausal women are so vulnerable to spider veins. And some of the links are more direct than others.
Let’s take a look.
Behind the web of spider veins
In most cases, spider veins occur when valves in the veins in your legs weaken. Under normal circumstances, these valves help to push blood back up to your heart for oxygenation. When they weaken, blood can fall backward or stall, filling up a vein and pushing it toward the surface of your skin.
The good news is that spider veins only involve the superficial veins in your legs, which are only responsible for delivering a small amount of blood back up to your heart (deeper veins carry 90% of the blood). So, the veins themselves are not problematic and your circulation is none the worse for the wear.
Why women over 50 are prone to spider veins
There are several reasons why so many women over the age of 50 have spider veins, and there may be a link to menopause for some.
First, the appearance of spider veins after 50 and the transition through menopause occurring around the same time may be coincidence, depending on the woman. The average age a woman passes through menopause is 51. Age can play no small role when it comes to spider veins, as valves in your legs naturally weaken over time. As well, your calf muscles can also weaken, and they help to keep your valves functioning well.
That said, more research is being conducted on the link between a woman’s reproductive hormones and her vascular health. We’ve learned that estrogen hormones help to relax and smooth your blood vessels, keeping them open to promote better blood flow.
So, when you pass through menopause and experience a precipitous drop in estrogen hormones, it follows that the health of your blood vessels can also change. As a result, you may be more susceptible to issues like spider veins, and their larger cousins, varicose veins.
The good news is that no matter how these veins came about, we can clear them away with quick-and-easy vein treatments.
To learn more, please call our New York City office on the Upper East Side at (212) 752-3464 to schedule your spider vein consultation today.