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Ask Dr. Wishnew: Does tight clothing cause varicose veins?

If you’re like most women in America, you’ve probably worn shapewear of some type or skinny jeans. We all love the security of having all the undesirable lumps, bumps and curves controlled with the compression of these garments. What we don’t always consider – or even realize – is the potential effect they can have on our veins.

The compression factor from clothing is mild, but they can squeeze enough to restrict blood flow. The tightness of these garments reduces blood’s ability to flow into and out of the legs. This restriction can lead to pooling of blood in the legs, which can lead to achiness, swelling and varicose veins.

Also, the excess pressure on the veins can cause them to dilate and become leaky or bulge through the skin. For areas where varicose veins already exist, the extra pressure can cause these veins to further dilate and bulge.
We aren’t suggesting women rid themselves of their shapewear. They can be worn with caution. Consider these tips:

  • Don’t wear the garments for a full day
  • While wearing them, walk around and pump your legs to encourage circulation back to the heart.
  • If your legs start to swell or become painful at the groin, remove the shapewear and allow your blood vessels a break to return to normal.

Compression Stockings for Varicose Veins

Compression stockings ending below the knee cause a different type of compression and are actually recommended, in some cases, for the treatment and prevention of varicose veins. These compress the portion of the leg where the venous insufficiency occurs. It pushes the blood against gravity and also pushes it into a deeper network of veins to bring blood back to the heart. Compression stockings should be worn during long periods of standing or sitting to discourage the blood from pooling in the legs.

The Vein Center at Lam Vascular & Associates: We are Here for You

At The Vein Center, we are your trusted resource for helping you fully understand your options, and with guidance from Dr. Jenna Wishnew and our team of specialists, choose the right treatment for you.

This state-of-the-art facility is dedicated entirely to the diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment of venous conditions. An evaluation at The Vein Center at Lam Vascular & Associates is non-invasive and is the best way to know the health of your veins. Our interactive Vein Self-Test can help you know if you should seek treatment.


Schedule your evaluation at The Vein Center at Lam Vascular & Associates today.

The information contained in this website is neither intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate or best care for any given health issue, nor is it intended to be used as a substitute for the independent judgment of a physician for any given health issue. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history. Please seek physician's advice. Like any procedure, it may come with benefits, risks or side effects associated. Click here for additional information.

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