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What kinds of abdominal strain can cause varicose veins?

I've heard that 'abdominal strain' can cause varicose veins. What exactly does 'abdominal strain' mean in this context? And what kind of abdominal strain can lead to varicose veins?


Doctors Answers (5)

Things that cause continued abdominal strain can increase your risk of varicose veins. Examples would be chronic coughing, heavy lifting and obesity.

Tightening of the abdominal muscles, as with lifting heavy weights and leg lifts, would be an example of abdominal (muscle) straining, which can elevate venous pressure in the legs. This is generally avoided for a month after the treating of medium and larger veins. However, this is a contributing factor causing problem veins to get worse, rather than a common cause of varicose veins.

Valsalva maneuvers increase intra-abdominal pressure and transmit this pressure through the saphenofemoral junction into the great saphenous vein (GSV). The GSV is the origin for most varicose veins. Genetics cause varicose veins. Although abdominal strain like valsalva does not cause varicose veins, it can potentially aggravate the condition or possibly re-open a vein recently treated by foam or thermal ablation. That's why we advise our patients to avoid valsalva-type maneuvers for several weeks after treatment. Hope that clarifies the issue for you.

The underlying factors are hormones, weight, genetics, activity and exercise. Strain has little to do with it.

Grunting or pushing like you are having a baby! That puts increased pressure on the veins that can overstretch the vein. If you have a family history of venous problems, like varicose veins, there is a 70 percent chance that you will develop varicose veins.

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