How Birth Control Can Make Your Leg Veins Worse

October 3, 2021 • zburt • Blood ClotsVein Treatment

Birth control has a lot going for it, easing period symptoms and eliminating the cumbersome task of applying protective measures in the moment. Taking it has become a rite of passage for over three generations now. But while that little pill may seem harmless, you do face some risks–among them, worsening varicose veins and blood clots. While this may not convince you to give up the liberation the pill has brought to millions of women, it’s certainly not a fact to simply overlook.

How Birth Control Affects The Look of Your Leg Veins

Birth control pills contain two primary hormones that you otherwise produce naturally in different quantities according to your cycles. Those are estrogen and progestin. When you have high levels of these hormones, you temporarily lose the ability to ovulate, making pregnancy highly unlikely. Most alternative contraceptives like the patch and ring also contain these hormones, leading to similar effects. However, non-hormone alternatives are now hitting the market. Together, pill hormones trick the body into thinking it’s already pregnant, which slows blood flow in the legs as more resources go to the fetus, even though there is no fetus. This can lead to:
  • Blood clots
  • Veneous insufficiency
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Spider veins
  • Varicose veins
  • Worsening of these conditions if you already have them
Smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure can increase your risk.

Difference Between Varicose and Spider Veins

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that may have a ropy appearance visible through the skin. On the other hand, spider veins tend to be much smaller red, blue, or purple veins that are also visible under the skin. Spider veins may be considered unsightly, causing you to seek spider vein treatment. But they don’t generally cause pain and may never become varicose veins. Varicose veins are more likely to cause pain, worsening blood clots, and non-healing sores and may require vein treatment to restore comfort and eliminate the complications they cause.

Do These Veins Go Away After Stopping Birth Control?

No. Once the process starts, stopping birth control will not reverse the damage. However, stopping birth control may slow the progression. Some women do make this personal choice because, for them, the side effects outweigh the benefits.

Treatments for Varicose & Spider Veins

Varicose vein treatments typically instruct the body to re-absorb the malfunctioning vein and re-route the blood through other nearby healthy veins. There are several procedures that do this in different ways.


This vein treatment heats the vein with radiofrequency energy to close it.


Your vein specialist carefully injects a medical adhesive into the vein, closing it off.

Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy

Your vein doctor uses ultrasound-guided technology to inject a foam into the vein

Laser Ablation

Your doctor uses a laser to reduce varicose veins.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Some veins are too large for the other methods, so we need to physically remove the unhealthy veins. In this outpatient procedure, we make small incisions in the skin that allow us to reach the vein, seal it, cut it, and remove it. We encourage you to learn more about our vein treatment options.

Desert Vein’s Exceptional Practice

Has this side effect of the pill caused varicose veins or spider veins? Meet Our Vein Physicians in Las Vegas, Nevada where we’ll help you explore your options.

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