Veins have one-way valves which prevent blood from backing up into the legs when we stand or sit. When the valves become incompetent (or begin to have reflux), blood pools and causes an increase in pressure in the leg veins. This may contribute to varicose veins and causes symptoms of fatigue, heaviness, aching, burning, throbbing, itching, cramping, swelling and restlessness of the legs. Severe varicose veins can compromise the nutrition of the skin, leading to eczema, inflammation or even ulceration of the lower leg.

The primary predisposing factor for varicose veins is heredity. Other causes of varicose veins include aging, prolonged standing, obesity, leg injury or prior deep or superficial vein thrombosis. Women are more likely than men to suffer from varicose and spider veins and have a 50 percent chance of developing them in their lifetime. Varicose veins may result from increased hormone levels, blood volume and pressure from the enlarged uterus during pregnancy. While these generally improve after delivery, abnormal veins worsen with each successive pregnancy.

Learn from the experts about the cause of and treatments for Varicose Veins and Spider Veins.