What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are also called varicosities or dilated veins. They occur when your veins become enlarged and dilated. Varicose veins are usually swollen and raised and can appear as a bluish-purple, or red color. They can be painful.

This condition is extremely common in women. Varicose veins affect approximately 25% of adults. Most varicose veins are found on the lower legs.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins develop when the veins stop functioning properly. One-way valves in veins prevent blood from flowing backward. These valves can fail and blood starts to pool in your veins instead of flowing toward your heart. These veins will then grow. Varicose veins can often be found in the legs. These veins are located farthest away from your heart. Gravity makes it difficult for blood to flow upward.

Varicose veins could be caused by:

  • pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Age over 50
  • Standing for prolonged periods of time
  • obesity
  • Varicose veins in the family

Symptoms for Varicose Veins

Varicose veins can be seen on the legs and are usually very visible. The enlarged veins may cause pain, swelling, heaviness and achiness.

Sometimes, swelling and discoloration can occur. In extreme cases, veins may bleed severely and ulcers can develop.

Diagnosing Varicose Veins

To diagnose varicose veins, your doctor will likely inspect your legs and visible veins from a sitting or standing position. You may be asked about any symptoms or pain you are experiencing.

To check your blood flow, your doctor might also recommend an ultrasound. This non-invasive test uses high-frequency sound waves. This allows your doctor to see the flow of blood in your veins.

A Venogram can be performed depending on where you are located to assess your veins. Your doctor injects a special dye into your legs, and then takes X-rays. Your doctor can see the dye on the X-rays to get a better picture of your blood flow.

Ultrasounds and venograms are used to confirm that your legs are not suffering from another disorder, such as a blood clot.


Treatment and Prevention of Varicose Veins

Doctors tend to be conservative in treating varicose vessels. Instead of trying aggressive treatments, you’ll likely be advised to change your lifestyle.

Lifestyle Changes

These changes can help prevent varicose from developing or worsening.

  • Do not stand for prolonged periods.
  • Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight
  • You can improve your circulation by exercising.
  • Use stockings or compression socks .

These steps can be taken to prevent varicose from developing if you have them. When you are sleeping or resting, elevate your legs.


You may be advised by your doctor to wear compression socks or stockings. They place enough pressure on your legs to allow blood to flow more freely to your heart. They reduce swelling.

Although compression levels vary, most stockings can be purchased in drugstores and medical supply shops.


Your doctor may recommend an invasive procedure if lifestyle changes don’t work or your varicose vessels are causing you pain or damage.

Anesthesia is required for vein ligation and removal. Your surgeon will make cuts to your skin and then remove the varicose vein through the incisions. Modern vein-stripping techniques have evolved, but they are now less common because there are more effective and less invasive options.

There Are Other Treatment Options

There are many options available for varicose vein treatment that are minimally invasive. These include:

  • Sclerotherapy uses a liquid or foam chemical infusion to block a larger vein
  • Micro sclerotherapy is a treatment that uses a liquid chemical injection in order to block smaller veins
  • Laser surgery uses light energy to block a vein
  • Endo venous ablation therapy uses heat and radiofrequency waves in order to close off a vein
  • Endoscopic vein surgery is performed using a small, lighted scope that is inserted through a small opening to close a vein.

Before you decide on a treatment, it is important to talk with your doctor about the pros and cons. Your symptoms, location, and size of the varicose vein will all play a role in the choice of treatment.

Outlook For People Suffering from Varicose Veins

Varicose veins tend to get worse with time. Even if you make lifestyle changes to manage them and manage your pain, this is a fact. They are often not visible and don’t usually cause long-term health problems.

They may cause ulcers, sores, blood clots, chronic inflammation, and even death in some cases. Your veins may rupture if you have severe cases.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor immediately. The doctor may suggest a more aggressive approach such as surgery or other interventions.

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