Does Cold Weather Make Varicose Veins Worse?

It’s that time of year again - the days are getting shorter, and the weather is beginning to cool down.

Many varicose vein sufferers know that sun and hot weather can negatively affect your skin and veins. However, most people don’t know that the cold can also have an effect. Here are a few ways the colder months of the year can affect your vein health.

1. You’re Less Active

During the warmer months of the year, people are more likely to lead more active outdoor lifestyles. But when the temperature drops, it’s common to want to spend more time indoors under blankets, sipping warm beverages on the couch. Unfortunately, this sedentary lifestyle can worsen varicose vein symptoms. Staying seated for too long causes blood to pool rather than flow normally.

Performing indoor activities that require you to get up and move a little, getting some exercise, and even taking periodic breaks from the warmth of your blanket cocoon can greatly improve your vein health.

2. Your Diet Changes

Sweater weather is notorious for giving people the excuse to change their eating habits. The winter season is full of holidays that tend to center around food. Not only are the holidays to blame, but winter diets often contain foods that are richer and fattier, such as stews and stuffing. Junk food also becomes more appealing during your regular weekend Netflix binge sessions.

While eating these foods in moderation is perfectly fine, try to stick to your healthier summer diet as much as possible. Remembering to eat foods rich in fibers and omega-3s will help provide oxygen for the blood and increase blood flow.

3. You Gain A Little Weight

With the changes in eating habits and the decrease in physical activity, the inevitable weight gain is common during the cold months of the year. Weight gain can put pressure on your legs, which is a major contributor to vein problems.

Regular exercise and sticking to a healthy diet can prevent the weight gain, and increased pressure on your legs. Exercise also increases blood flow, which can lessen the likelihood of a vein problem from developing.

The Cold Weather Benefit

The cold weather isn’t all bad for your vein health, though. While hot weather can impede circulation and cause blood to pool in the veins by causing them to dilate, cold weather has the opposite effect. As a result, lower temperatures generally shrinks veins, promoting better blood flow and alleviating common symptoms of varicose veins like cramps and swelling.

While there are many ways to cope with varicose veins (in all seasons), the only real cure is specialized treatment by a vein expert.


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