Why are Varicose Veins Common on the Left Side?

March 4, 2021 Dr Zil Yassine

If you pay attention to your veins when you’re exercising, you might notice that your left leg will have more veins showing than your right. Similarly, if you suffer from varicose veins, chances are that those veins are mainly on the left leg. What’s the reason for this?

While there are many suggestions and myths, ranging from using one leg more than the other all the way to walking on sloped paths, the real reason is much simpler. There are more veins on the left side of your body. Let’s look at why are varicose veins common on the left side.

How the heart impacts varicose veins

Even those with the most basic understanding of medicine know that the heart pumps blood around the body. While this is about as simple a description there is, it’s important to know how the heart functions to understand how it affects our veins.

Your heart is made up of four chambers, each one performing a special role. The two chambers on the right side of your body draw in the de-oxygenated blood from your body and pump it into the lungs to get more oxygen.

Why are varicose veins common on the left side? an image of the heart and how it pumps blood

The other two chambers on your left side work to then draw fresh blood back out of the lungs and pump it throughout your body.

This blood leaves the left side of your heart through a large valve known as your aorta, which then feeds into the rest of the arteries, veins and capillaries in your body.

As this blood is pumped from the heart, the network of blood vessels expand so they can supply to every single part of your body. The veins spread out further down the left side of your body as the oxygenated blood is supplied to the muscles and organs before coming back to the heart on the right side.

So, why are varicose veins common on the left side?

Due to the way the blood is pumped from the heart, there are more veins in the left leg. Therefore, the odds of a varicose vein are more likely.

There are other issues that can have an impact on the left legs being more prone. For example, venous syndromes such as May-Thurner’s syndrome or Nutcracker Syndrome can also affect the blood flow in your body and these are predominantly on the left side.

While these issues are relatively uncommon, if you notice the symptoms are particularly worse on your left side, it’s worth mentioning to your doctor.

What can I do?

Managing the symptoms of varicose veins at home can help with relief, but having them medically treated is the only way to ensure that vein doesn’t cause any more issues. Whether it’s your left or right leg, varicose veins are the same, so treating them can be done simply by chatting with a veins specialist.

If you’re not sure whether your veins are worth getting treated, we’ve outlined three signs that you should consider treatment here.

Seek expert advice

The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive program using non-surgical laser treatment techniques. You can learn more in our Definitive Guide to Varicose Vein Treatment.

The benefits of non-surgical varicose vein treatment are:

  • Walk-in walk-out treatment
  • 98% success rate
  • Extremely effective
  • Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
  • No general anaesthetic
  • Medicare rebates apply
  • No downtime or time away from work

To book a consultation and discuss our treatment program, call  1300 981 402. Or, make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.