Menopause is a time of great physical, mental, and emotional change. Many women go through numerous symptoms associated with menopause. Varicose veins is one of them. This is because during menopause, the amount of oestrogen and progesterone produced by the ovaries reduces dramatically. This results in varicose veins developing quite often, in women over 50.
Oestrogen and progesterone result in healthy capillaries and veins in women. They also enhance blood flow, as well as contribute to the healthy functioning of vein valves. The loss of oestrogen and progesterone results in the degradation of collagen fibres. It also results in smooth muscle relaxation. Both of these promote varicose veins. Menopausal women are also at risk for developing venous insufficiency and venous thrombosis.
While pregnancy or taking birth control pills may cause weakening of the vein valves and temporary development of varicose veins, menopause causes permanent varicose veins. Quite often, the varicose veins are asymptomatic and may not present a significant health risk. However, in other menopausal women, their legs may become heavy and achy. They may also have swelling of the ankles and feet, as well as a possible burning sensation and itching around the bulging veins.
You may be prone to varicose veins during menopause due to any or all of the following:
- Sedentary job: If you sit at a desk the entire day you are definitely more prone to varicose veins during menopause. You should get up and move around every hour or couple of hours to ensure that your legs are active to enable your veins to pump blood back to the heart.
- Lack of exercise: During menopause you may experience both fatigue and loss of motivation. This results in your not exercising and thereby being more prone to varicose veins.
- Weight gain: Weight control and weight gain are huge issues during menopause, with many women putting on significant weight during this time. This extra weight can put additional pressure on your veins, resulting in varicose veins after menopause.
There are certain measures you can take to prevent varicose veins during menopause. Some of them are:
- Get up and get moving: Instead of sitting at a desk all day, you need to regularly get up and get moving. You can use a simple timer to remind yourself to do this. You can set it for 45 minutes or an hour and every time it rings you should get up and take a brisk walk around the building and then sit back down again. This walk only takes five minutes, but it gets your circulation going.
- Exercise: If you are not too tired you should consider walking, which is one of the best exercises for varicose veins. If you walk, the actual movement of your calf muscles helps to increase the circulation in your legs and pushes blood towards your heart more efficiently. So, exercise is great for preventing varicose veins. Besides walking, you can also try cycling, swimming, and yoga, all of which are great exercises if you have varicose veins. If you cannot move around a lot, there are also simple exercises you can do while sitting on a chair. You can move your legs up and down or stand on tiptoe. You can also do one or two step exercises at the bottom of your stairs. All of these add up and prevent varicose veins during and after menopause.
- Breathe: You should breathe well and deeply, as this improves and increases the overall circulation and prevents varicose veins.
- Regulate your temperature: This can be difficult when you have hot flushes and night sweats. During your hot flush, especially if it is a full-body flush, your veins are going to open up a lot more, resulting in varicose veins. So, taking care of hot flushes is really important. Also, try not to have long, hot baths, as these can adversely affect your varicose veins. Also do not soak in the bath for several hours or indulge in regular saunas, as these can be really bad for the circulation in your legs.
- Vitamin C intake: Vitamin C, just like oestrogen, gives strength and flexibility to the walls of blood vessels. This vitamin maintains and replenishes collagen levels. The latter is a key structural protein found in skin and blood vessel walls. You can eat plenty of greens, as well as citrus fruits to boost Vitamin C levels naturally.
- Healthy fats: You should avoid foods with unhealthy fats, such as red meat, processed foods, and dairy products. Instead, opt for foods with healthy omega-3 fats, such as oily fish, nuts, avocado, and seeds.
- Managing your weight: During menopause, you may gain a lot of weight. This will put extra stress and strain on the walls of your leg veins, thereby resulting in varicose veins. It would be a good idea during this time to adopt a sustainable weight loss plan. Achieving a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) should be a priority at this time.
You can also try Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for varicose veins treatment during menopause. HRT may reduce the number of varicose veins that occur during and after menopause. While HRT may not completely prevent veins from appearing, it is a good way to keep your veins working properly. It is also a viable treatment to consider once varicose veins have been eliminated.
The link between menopause and varicose veins is real and proven. In addition to HRT, you may be able to prevent further varicose veins from appearing during menopause by eating a balanced diet, being a healthy weight, and having an active lifestyle. You can also avoid sitting or standing for too long in one position, as this results in varicose veins.
While there are several treatments for varicose veins, one of the safest and most effective is Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT). This involves using an ultrasound to determine the best place to insert a catheter. Your vascular surgeon will then numb the area with a local anaesthetic and will make a small incision. He will then insert a catheter and a guide-wire into your skin.
He will pass a laser fiber through the catheter and will secure it in place once it extends one to two centimetres from the end. The laser energy then seals the faulty vein and blood flow is redirected to healthy veins. The entire process takes approximately an hour. This procedure is minimally invasive and you will not experience a lot of pain during the procedure.
There are several other treatments for varicose veins that appear during and after menopause. Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala, of the Flow Vascular Clinic, is a varicose veins specialist and vascular surgeon, based in Hyderabad, India, who is particularly adept at performing the EVLT procedure. He is also skilled at using the other treatment procedures for treating varicose veins.
He is also extremely empathetic and caring and will understand that you are going through a significant milestone in your life. He will work individually with you to draw up a holistic treatment plan for your varicose veins that appear during and after menopause.
So, if you have menopausal varicose veins, you know where to go…to Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala, and be rest assured that you are in the safest of hands!
For more information about varicose veins during menopause, as well as the treatment for DVT, or other vascular conditions, contact Dr. Abhilash Sandhyala at (+91) 9989649498 or 9959033037, or at email@example.com or visit our website at www.drabhilash.com.