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Varicose Veins: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Sep 20, 2023

Varicose Veins: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Varicose veins are bulging, twisted veins. Any superficial vein that is close to the skin's surface has a chance of developing varicose veins. The veins that are impacted by varicose veins are most frequently the leg veins due to increased pressure caused by standing and walking.

For many people, varicose veins and spider veins, a typical, modest variation only raise aesthetic concerns whereas varicose veins can cause others to experience throbbing pain and discomfort. More serious problems can occasionally be brought on by varicose veins.

Treatment options include self-care methods or expert procedures to seal or get rid of veins.

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Causes Of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins may be brought on by weak or broken valves. The arteries carry blood from the heart to every region of the body. Veins from the rest of the body transport blood back to the heart. For blood to return to the heart, leg veins need to resist gravity.

Blood returns to the heart with the help of lower leg muscle contractions and elastic vein walls. Small valves found in veins allow blood to flow towards the heart and close to stop it from flowing in the opposite direction. If these valves are weak or damaged, blood can flow backward and pool in the veins, stretching or twisting the veins.

Symptoms Of Varicose veins

It's possible that varicose veins do not hurt. The following are symptoms of varicose veins:

  • Dark purple or blue veins
  • On the legs, there are veins that look twisted and bulging and frequently resemble cords.

The following are examples of painful varicose vein symptoms:

  • Legs that are heavy or painful
  • Edema, muscular cramps, burning, and throbbing in the lower leg.
  • Pain that worsens after spending a lot of time standing or sitting
  • Itching near one or more veins
  • Variations in skin tone around a varicose vein
  • Though smaller, spider veins resemble varicose veins. Closer to the skin's surface, spider veins are typically red or blue in color. In addition to the face, spider veins can be found on the legs. They come in a variety of sizes and typically resemble spider webs.

Risk Factors Of Varicose Vein

The following factors can make it more probable for varicose veins to appear:

  • Age. The vein valves that control blood flow deteriorate with time. After the valves have worn down enough, some blood may finally flow back into the veins and collect there.
  • Sex. Women are more susceptible to developing the condition. Because female hormones have a propensity to relax vein walls, hormonal changes before a menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, or during menopause may be a contributing factor. Birth control pills and other hormone-related drugs may increase the prevalence of varicose veins.
  • Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the body's blood volume increases. Although this modification benefits the growing baby, it could also cause the veins in the legs to enlarge.
  • Family history. If you have relatives who suffer from varicose veins, your chances of developing them are higher.
  • Obesity. Your veins are under additional pressure if you are overweight.

Diagnosis Of Varicose Vein

Your doctor will check for edema in your legs when you are standing during your physical examination. You might also be asked to describe any leg pains or aches to your doctor.


To find varicose veins, a doctor may propose a test called a venous Doppler ultrasonography of the leg. Doppler ultrasonography, a non-invasive method, uses sound waves to evaluate blood flow through vein valves. Blood clots in the leg can be identified with an ultrasound.

In this test, a medical professional touches the skin over the body area being examined with a small, hand-held tool (transducer). The transducer resembles a bar of soap in size.

Treatment Of Varicose Vein

In addition to self-care techniques, varicose veins can be treated with compression stockings, surgery, or other procedures. The majority of varicose vein treatments are done as outpatient operations, so you usually go home the same day.


Self-care practices including exercising, raising the legs when sitting or lying down, and using compression stockings can all help with varicose vein pain relief and possibly prevent them from getting worse.

Compression Stocking

Wearing compression stockings all day long is typically the first course of treatment. The stockings enhance blood flow through the leg’s veins and muscles. The amounts of compression vary by type and brand.

Operations or Other Processes

If self-care techniques and compression stockings are ineffective or if varicose veins are more severe, a healthcare practitioner may recommend surgery or other procedures:

  • Sclerotherapy. To scar and close the varicose veins, a medical specialist injects a solution or foam into them. In a few days, the treated varicose veins should vanish. Multiple injections into the same vein can be required. Without anesthetic, sclerotherapy can be carried out at a doctor's office.
  • Laser treatment. The vein slowly deteriorates and eventually disappears as a result of the laser therapy's powerful light pulses. No cuts or needles are used.
  • Procedures that use radiofrequency or laser radiation and catheters. A medical expert inserts a catheter, a small tube into an enlarged vein and warms the catheter's tip using laser or radiofrequency energy. The heat damages the vein by forcing it to collapse and seal shut as the catheter is removed.
  • High ligation and vein stripping. In this procedure, a vein is tied off right before it conjoins a deep vein, and it is subsequently cut out and eliminated. The majority of patients will have this operation as an outpatient. Removing the vein won't stop blood flow in the leg since deeper veins in the leg manage bigger volumes of blood.
  • Phlebectomy performed en route. Smaller varicose veins are removed by a healthcare practitioner using a series of microscopic skin punctures. The leg is solely anesthetized at the places that will be punctured during this outpatient procedure. Scarring is usually not very severe.

Prevention Of Varicose Veins

By increasing blood flow and muscular tone, the risk of developing varicose veins may be reduced. The same actions that are taken to ease varicose vein irritation can also be taken to prevent them. Attempt these things:

  • Avoiding wearing heels and restrictive attire
  • Alternate between sitting and standing positions on a regular basis.
  • Adopting a low-salt, high-fiber diet
  • Exercising while seated or lying down
  • keeping an eye on your weight

Complications Of Varicose Veins

Varicose vein complications could occur, despite the fact that they are rare.

  • Ulcers- Painful ulcers can form on the skin around varicose veins, especially in the vicinity of the ankles. Typically, a skin discoloration appears before an ulcer. If you think you could have a leg ulcer, see a doctor as soon as possible.
  • The blood clot- The swelling and soreness in the legs might occasionally be brought on by protruding deep leg veins. If there is swelling or chronic leg pain, you should see a doctor since these could be symptoms of a blood clot.
  • Bleeding- In close proximity to the skin, veins may burst. Even though this usually only results in minor bleeding, medical intervention is still necessary.

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