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Varicose Veins Causes - Why Did I Luck Out?

Sometimes varicose veins causes can seem mysterious.  One person in a family may develop them.  But not one of their brothers or sisters.

At times they are not aware of anyone in previous generations having had them.

But mostly there are definite family connections.


Which brings up the first known cause - genetics.

Yes, frequently there is a parent with varicose veins.  Sometimes quite severe, requiring treatment.

The influence of genetics on varicose veins causes reflected in mother with her babyGenetics as passed down mother to baby

If one of your parents had varicose veins there is around a sixty percent chance you will develop them.  

If both of your parents had them, you talking a nine-five percent chance.  That is, not absolutely unavoidable.  But near enough.

Which Genes?

The actual genome has not been discovered.  There are some genes that seem associated with particular conditions.

There are also some inborn errors, or particular syndromes, that produce varicose veins. 

But as you will discover as you read on there are clear indications this is a multiple gene condition with varying degrees of expression.  

That’s being technical.  Meaning sometimes it will occur in one person with exactly the same gene pattern, but not in another.

The Gender Influence

Most commonly, throughout the world they occur much more commonly in women, than men.

But for some reason, in Papua New Guinea more men than women develop varicose veins.

This would suggest a sex-linked gene influence in their varicose veins causes.

Pregnancy Effect

As I mentioned earlier, and you will be aware, pregnancy seems to bring on varicose veins.

Pregnancy influences the expression in varicose veins causes here represented by mother gazing at her own pregnant belly while on a beachBody changes in pregnancy

There are some people who will have them before they ever become pregnant. 

While there are others who will become aware of them for the first time in the second or even third pregnancy.

Everyone notices they get worse in pregnancy and can improve after delivery and sometimes more so after ceasing breastfeeding.

Hormone Effects

This all suggests the hormone influences in varicose veins causes. 

Likewise there are people who will notice their veins get worse on certain oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy. 

Such people will usually get an improvement, or a slowing down of worsening veins, by changing or eliminating that particular medication.

Other Pregnancy Effects

There are other changes in pregnancy that will affect varicose vein acceleration.

  • Your increased blood volume.
  • Your increased need to loose heat from the baby as well as yourself producing a higher skin circulation.
  • The pressure of the baby in your pelvis on the veins passing through there restricting the return of blood to your heart.

Occupation Correlations

Varicose veins causes are associated with occupations.  Nursing, especially those in theatre etc, where there is prolonged standing produces more varicose veins. 

Likewise this postural related cause means hairdressers, French gendarmes and similar jobs are frequent sufferers.  

Mobility Effects

It is not just standing that produces veins.  Sitting for hours behind a desk can cause them.


As I mentioned the return of your blood to your heart is dependent on the muscles compressing your veins to propel your blood back.

Any occupation or situation where leg muscles are not being used regularly through the day can influence the origins of varicose veins.

Calf Pump And High Heels

Which implies the calf muscle pump is an important part of that return.  For this reason we have concerns with very elevated high heels.

Heels to 5cm (or 2 inches) have been shown to enhance muscle compression.  Taller than this can restrict full calf and foot movement.

This risks provoking varicose veins.

Effects of Sports in Varicose Veins Causes

Varicose vein occurrence correlates strongly with high level contact sports.  Repeated injuries to your legs can bring out your underlying tendency.  

This underscores the apparent role of less efficient repair in the emergence of varicose veins.

Influence of Age

Varicose veins occur more commonly as we age.  Again showing the influence of less effective rebuilding and repair.

In spite of this they can and do occur in teenagers and very young adults.  Their particular tendency was obviously strong.

Stature and Varicose Vein Occurrence

The taller you are, the more likely you are to produce varicose veins.  

This would seem related to the higher pressures the body needs to return blood to a taller person’s heart.

Tendency Versus Expression

There are underlying tendencies from your genetics influencing varicose veins causes. 

But the expression or physical occurrence of actual varicose veins depends on your exposure to the list of influences I have noted.

What About Your Weight?

What about obesity?

Many people I talk to have the impression varicose veins occur in those who are overweight.

In searching the web this often listed as a cause.

But, in severable studies in Europe observing people over years, being overweight did not correlate well with varicose vessel presentation.

But, when veins did occur, they did get worse more rapidly in those with increased weight and obesity.

This might be related to the influence of their limb size compressing their venous return at joints like their knees and hips.

You definitely can influence the rate at which varicose veins worsen once present.

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