Alcohol's Effect on Varicose Veins

It’s become fairly common knowledge that smoking, poor diet, and inactivity can lead to the development of varicose veins. However, what most people don’t know is that alcohol use can also have major effects on existing varicose veins as well.

Before having another cocktail, take a few minutes to understand how alcohol can contribute to varicose veins.

How Does Alcohol Affect The Circulatory System?

Alcohol use has long-lasting effects on the heart and circulatory system as a whole. It can cause irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack or stroke, and much more.

Alcohol increases your heart rate, causing it to pump more blood, more quickly. This sudden influx of blood places increased stress on your veins - particularly those in your legs. Excess alcohol also stresses the liver, preventing the liver from filtering alcohol from the blood. This results in a thickening of the blood, which puts further strain on the heart and veins.

How Does Alcohol Affect Varicose Veins?

All of this stress on your circulatory system, greatly contributes to the exacerbation of varicose vein symptoms. While alcohol use increases blood flow, it doesn’t cause greater activity in the venous valves or increase vein capacity. Varicose veins already have to work harder to pump blood back to the heart, and this increased stress can lead to more pooling and swelling in the legs.

Since the blood is also thicker, it places greater pressure on the already inflamed veins, which soon weakens the muscles supporting them. Both of these side effects of alcohol use cause the veins to swell and protrude outward, leading to worsened appearance and overall side effects of varicose veins.

Does Alcohol Use Cause Varicose Veins?

No evidence exists to definitively prove alcohol consumption causes varicose veins. However, there is plenty of evidence to show that drinking in excess exacerbates the already painful symptoms of existing varicose veins. If you currently have varicose veins, or a predisposition to varicose veins, minimizing alcohol use can prevent worsening of vein disease.

If you’re concerned that drinking might be affecting your varicose veins, contact Elmore Medical to discuss your condition and possible courses of treatment.


Elmore Medical Vein & Laser Treatment Center is the premier vein specialty medical practice in the Central Valley. Dr. Mario H. Gonzalez and his staff offer years of experience and medical expertise that you won’t find anywhere else. Contact us today to set up a consultation appointment.

Chase SchwarzwalterComment