Causes, Symptoms & Treatment of Varicose Veins

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Varicose veins, varicosities or varicoses refer to enlarged veins. These veins look dilated and swollen due to blood overflow. The varicose veins are red or bluish purple in colour. They often cause pain.

It mostly affects the lower part of the legs. The symptoms are common in both men and women.  As per medical records, 25 percent of adults suffer from varicose veins.

Causes of Varicose Veins

The problem is evident when the veins fail to function properly. They are a one-way route preventing backward blood flow. When the veins cannot function properly, the blood does not flow towards the heart and instead, starts collecting in the veins. It makes the veins look enlarged. The veins in the legs are farthest from the heart and gravity prevents the blood from flowing upwards.

Some common causes for forming varicose veins are as follows:

  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Age above 50
  • Obesity
  • Family history of the same problem
  • Standing longer

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins have different symptoms. Some of them are very common while the rest are unusual.

  • The most common symptoms of varicose veins are raised and visible veins. These usually or first appear on the legs. Swelling, heaviness, pain are among other common symptoms.
  • Some cases of varicose vein problem involve discoloration and swelling. If the problem is acute, the patients complain about profuse bleeding and ulcers.

Diagnosis of Varicose Veins

  • If you visit a doctor with any symptom listed above, he will more likely to check your legs first for visible veins. You will be asked to stand or sit during examination.
  • The doctor may also ask for an ultrasound to check blood flow. This non-invasive test will help him know if the blood is flowing freely in veins.
  • The expert may also ask for a venogram for further assessment of your veins. A special dye is injected into the legs and X-ray of the affected area is taken during the medical test. The dye is used to get a clearer X-ray picture to help the doctor understand about the condition of blood flow in your veins.

Treatment for Varicose Veins

The doctors may ask for lifestyle changes while treating the problem. However, aggressive treatment is also suggested if the problem is more severe and the patients feel heavy and persistent pain.

Changes in Lifestyle

By making some changes in your lifestyle, you can prevent the problem from occurring at all or getting worse.

  • Don’t stand for a prolonged time.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly to improve blood circulation.
  • Use stockings or compression socks.
  • Elevate legs while sleeping.

Surgery

Varicose vein surgery is considered anadvance vein therapy’. If you are not getting benefits even after changing your lifestyle and/or feel severe pain, your doctor may suggest an invasive treatment.

Vein stripping and ligation requires anesthesia as a part of surgical therapy. It is an incisive method that requires the doctor to cut the varicose veins for removal. More advanced vein stripping surgeries are available these days but usually avoided by the expert doctors as they prefer new-age invasive options to remove varicose veins.

Ellen Cone