spider veins

The important thing is to find a varicose vein specialist.

Causes and Risk Factors of Varices

Varicose veins develop when the body’s blood is unable to drain correctly from its veins. The veins have one purpose: to transport blood against gravity back to the heart. The surrounding muscles and the elastic vascular wall of the veins help with this. When venous valves cannot stop blood from flowing backward, specialists diagnose the patient with varicose veins.

Blood stasis in the veins

If the elasticity of the venous walls diminishes or if the venous valves are damaged, blood builds up, and the vein’s walls can overstretch and collapse. This causes varicose veins to develop. In the absence of exercise or prolonged sitting or standing, excess blood accumulates in the leg veins, and patients often complain of heavy, distended legs.

Doctors distinguish between primary and secondary varices in various ways; some of the primary causes are listed below. It is essential to consider all vein treatments before making a decision.

Primary varicose veins

Primary varices account for 70 percent of all varicose veins and arise without a known cause. However, several risk factors favor the development of primary varices: age, obesity, and smoking make vascular walls more susceptible to damage. Hereditary factors, female hormones and a lack of exercise also increase the risk of varicosis.

Family history

Connective tissue weakness can be inherited and increases the risk of varicose or spider veins. However, according to recent studies, varices are less frequently inherited than previously thought: only about 15 percent had genetically-caused venous insufficiency. Other risk factors such as obesity, hormones or gender, therefore, predominate the issue. Accordingly, each person can do a great deal for the prevention of varicosis.


Women are more susceptible to varices than men. The female sex hormones (estrogens) often cause the body’s connective tissue to relax, and this promotes the development of varicose veins. Pregnancy also favors the problem: every third pregnant woman gets varices.

In most cases, however, venous insufficiencies are only temporary in pregnancy - they usually return to normal by themselves after the woman gives birth. Nevertheless, the risk of varicosis increases with the number of pregnancies.

Lack of exercise

Physical activity and movement in the legs activate the muscle pump, which makes it easier for the veins to pump blood to the heart. When standing or sitting for long periods, the muscle pump relaxes, and the blood becomes more easily blocked. When sitting, the veins of the popliteal fossa can also be bent, whereby the venous return of the blood is also hindered. Occupational activities, which are mainly performed while sitting, can thus promote the development of varicosis.