Do Birth Control Pills Cause Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are common problem among women, which has led some to wonder if female-specific risk factors contribute to those protruding vessels. One of those factors that has garnered discussion is a possible link between varicose veins and birth control pills. While the exact risk between these two is not well known at this time, there are some facts about both oral contraceptives and varicose veins that should be considered.


Birth Control Pills and Hormones

Birth control pills consist of female hormones designed to prevent ovulation and subsequently, pregnancy. Most pills contain a combination of progesterone and estrogen, which is considered the safest and more effective method of oral contraception. Although varicose veins have been linked to hormonal fluctuations in the woman’s body, there is no evidence suggesting the hormones in birth control pills are a factor for this vein condition.


Birth Control Pills and DVT

While studies have not found an association between birth controls and varicose veins, there is a notable link between oral contraceptives and deep vein thrombosis or DVT. This condition occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the body, usually in the leg. DVT can lead to itching or burning on the skin’s surface. If the clot breaks free from its original location, it can travel to the lungs where it may result in a life-threatening condition known as a pulmonary embolism. DVT and varicose veins often go together, although the specific link between the two is not known.


Factors for Varicose Veins

For women concerned about their risk for varicose veins, there are other factors besides birth control pills that are more likely to contribute to the condition:


  • Family history
  • Previous history of venous conditions
  • Prolonged periods of sitting or standing
  • Weight gain
  • Pregnancy
  • Sedentary lifestyle


If you have any of these risk factors, your odds of developing varicose veins becomes higher. Some women choose to practice preventative measures, such as daily exercise or compression stockings to reduce their likelihood of developing those bulging vessels.


Birth Control Pills and Spider Veins

While there may be little connection between birth control pills and varicose veins, the link between oral contraceptives and spider veins is not as clear. Spider veins can be attributed to different causes than varicose veins, including hormonal changes and some types of medications. If you do develop spider veins while taking birth control pills, there are numerous treatment options to get rid of those visible vein networks.

At PCI Vein Center, we help men and women get rid of varicose and spider veins, using minimally-invasive procedures that involve little discomfort and downtime. To learn more about your options in vein treatment, contact PCI Vein Center at 319-774-8432.

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