Varicose veins: every woman’s worst nightmare that many go to extremes to hide. They can wreck swimsuit season and even keep some women from wearing shorts. Unfortunately, most of the time varicose veins are unavoidable, with more than half of all women in the U.S. affected by them.
If you’ve ever heard that you shouldn’t cross your legs because you’ll get these eyesores, this information falls into the medical myths category. According to UAMS vascular surgeon Dr. Mohammed Moursi, crossing your legs is not one of the causes of this vascular problem. Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are visible through the skin and caused by increased blood pressure.
“Crossing your legs does not cause varicose veins,” Dr. Moursi says. “They result from an intrinsic problem with the veins themselves. Standing for long periods of time is another habit that has been questioned as a cause of varicose veins. In truth, standing may exacerbate existing problem with veins but should not cause them.”
If you want someone to blame for varicose veins, blame genetics. Dr. Moursi says that there is no question that genetics has something to do with who gets varicose veins and who doesn’t. Other causes include obesity, gender, inactivity, age and pregnancy.
“Many patients have family members with varicose veins, but there are also acquired causes such as blood clots in the veins, which may cause varicose veins months and even years after the initial problem,” he says.
Even though varicose veins are sometimes unavoidable they can be treated. “The best treatment for patients with varicose veins differs between patients,” Dr. Moursi says. “Some patients can be treated effectively with compression stockings while others may require injections or other surgical procedures to eliminate varicose veins.”
Dr. Moursi suggests that the course of treatment for your varicose veins should be decided after a consultation and evaluation by an UAMS vascular surgeon.