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How can hot tubs contribute to the formation of varicose veins?

A neighbor recently told me that her physician told her that warm baths and hot tubs can lead to varicose veins. We have a hot tub and enjoy relaxing in it on the weekends. Am I increasing my risk of developing varicose veins by using my hot tub? Is there a moderate level of use that is safe?

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Doctors Answers (4)

Hot tubs cannot cause varicose veins. If you have inherited varicose veins, heat exposure can potentially aggravate the condition by temporarily dilating the veins, in which case limiting hot tub time to 15 minutes is recommended. If you have not inherited varicose veins, spend all the time you want in the hot tub.

Varicose veins are genetic in most cases. Hot tub all you want.

You will not develop varicose or spider veins from using a hot tub. These are typically inherited conditions. However when in a hot tub, if you already have these, there is some dilation of the veins which can temporarily make them appear larger.

Hot water clearly does cause some temporary dilation of veins so we restrict the use of hot tubs after our vein treatments for four to six weeks. If the point of vein treatments is to permanently close specific veins then exposure to hot water soon after treatment can cause those veins to reopen and the treatment to be ineffective. Veins that are closed after four to six weeks will typically stay closed and are eventually reabsorbed by the body. New veins are also created throughout your lifetime so you will never have an inadequate number of veins. What can sometimes happen are the veins that you have might not function correctly (such as varicose veins) and the body may continue to add excessive numbers of replacement veins, visibly increasing the number of veins below the skin until they turn the legs and ankles to a purple color. Hot tubs do not directly cause varicose veins and whether they accelerate the development of varicose veins in a person who is already developing varicose veins is not clear and likely has only a minor role.

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