Birth control pills have been available to women for over 60 years. Taken once daily, these oral contraceptives are an easy way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Unfortunately, they also have side effects. Long-term users of hormonal birth control pills have a higher risk of varicose veins, spider veins, and blood clots than women who do not use them.

How Birth Control Affects the Look of Your Leg Veins

The veins in your leg play an important role in delivering blood and oxygen to your heart. When you take hormonal birth control for many years, you may notice raised blue or red veins on your legs. The reason for this is that the estrogen and progestin in birth control pills can contribute to the formation of blood clots. Varicose veins or spider veins are both common outcomes when your blood clots instead of flowing freely.

Hormonal birth control pills can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, or coronary artery disease. The risk is even greater if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Smoking while taking birth control pills or having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 substantially increases your risk of a serious health outcome.

Difference Between Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

What spider veins and varicose veins have in common is that they are both superficial dilated veins. Varicose veins typically appear on the lower legs, and they develop due to a problem with the venous valves located within the leg veins. Poorly functioning venous valves result in blood pooling and blood clots. The dilation and coiling that occurs within the legs becomes visible on the outside of the legs.

Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins and more commonly appear on the face. They also appear for different reasons, most of which have to do with a medical condition. A hereditary defect that affects the proper functioning of vein walls can also contribute to the appearance of spider veins. The hormones present in birth control pills can increase the likelihood of developing either type of vein abnormality.

Will Stopping Birth Control Make These Veins Go Away?

You may notice a reduction in the darkness of your varicose or spider veins after stopping the pill, but it is unlikely they will go away entirely. The good news is that you may be able to eliminate them with vein treatment.

Common Vein Treatments and Surgeries

The four vein treatments listed below are the most common ones recommended by Dr. Siragusa.

Compression Stockings

Made from stretchable elastic material, compression stockings apply pressure to the legs and encourage normal blood flow. You should wear them during all waking hours for the best results.

Sclerotherapy

For this procedure, Dr. Siragusa injects medication into your veins through tiny needles. The medication causes irritation and inflammation of varicose veins, resulting in them releasing blood instead of pooling it.

Endovenous Ablation

Dr. Siragusa uses a laser to seal off problem veins during endovenous ablation. Your body eventually re-absorbs the problem veins and produces a healthier blood flow.

Microphlebectomy

You may need microphlebectomy if you still have numerous bulging veins on the surface of your legs after undergoing an endovenous ablation.

Contact Siragusa’s Vein Clinic in Nashville, TN

Are you ready to learn more about vein treatment? We invite you to meet our vein physician in Nashville when you schedule a consult.

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