As women enter menopause, normally in their early 50s they experience yet another shift in their hormone levels. Menopause causes several changes in the body and its functions including changes to sleep, mood, hair and vascular health. It pays to be aware of the close link between menopause and varicose veins, as this way you have the knowledge to help keep your veins healthy.
Menopause is a natural occurrence that happens when women age. The ‘pause’ in ‘menopause’ relates to when a woman hasn’t experienced a menstrual cycle in 12 months. While women who have given birth and are breastfeeding may find their menstrual cycle stops for this length of time or longer, it is not menopause although the symptoms are similar.
As part of a woman getting older, the ovaries start to produce less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These control the sexual functions of menstruation and egg release. The decline in hormone production can start in the late 30s lowering a woman’s fertility. Eventually, the hormone decrease to a level where the ovaries stop producing fertile eggs.
There are a couple of other causes of menopause that bear no relationship to the natural decrease in hormones.
The reduction of estrogen and progesterone does more than affect sexual organs and their function. One dangerous condition of menopause is related to cardiovascular disease and vascular health. Consequently, menopause and varicose veins are often closely associated.
At moderate levels, these hormones are beneficial for veins and arteries and keep blood vessels flexible. When a vein and expand and relax as necessary, less stress is caused by blood flow changes. Without these hormones, veins can become dry and brittle. When this happens, the veins don’t function properly and cause the blood to collect and pool, causing even more damage.
In 2019, around 31% of menopausal women had varicose vein formations and according to a study back in 2012, it was found that 95% of women who developed cardiovascular disease (CVD) did so after menopause.
Women should be aware, however, that rises in estrogen levels can result in varicose veins from vein valves that have been weakened. Birth control pills can also cause estrogen levels to rise. So, before attempting any self-diagnosis and trying to adjust hormone levels up or down, please consult with your doctor.
Menopausal women may also find their metabolism slows down and may gain weight. A higher body weight places additional strain on arteries and blood vessels throughout the body. as a result, weight gain can be another factor that contributes to varicose veins developing. The consequence of added pressure to the veins makes it harder for blood to be pumped upwards towards the heart which is why varicose veins often appear in the legs.
Fortunately, there are several ways to improve vascular health during menopause. Not only will these methods lower the chance of varicose veins forming but they will help you manage any veins that may already have appeared.
Here at the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy (MINT), we offer FREE vein screening to assess vein health issues following menopause. Identifying health vein issues and creating a treatment plan is our top priority.
If you are worried about menopause and varicose veins, then it’s good to know that we provide non-surgical solutions and outpatient treatment.
To schedule a complimentary vein screening contact Goke Akinwande, MD today.