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Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that you can see just under the skin. They usually occur in the legs, but also can form in other parts of the body. Hemorrhoids are a type of varicose vein.

Your veins have one-way valves that help keep blood flowing toward your heart. If the valves are weak or damaged, blood can back up and pool in your veins. This causes the veins to swell, which can lead to varicose veins.

Varicose veins are very common. You are more at risk if you are older, a female, obese, don't exercise or have a family history. They can also be more common in pregnancy.

Doctors often diagnose varicose veins from a physical exam. Sometimes you may need additional tests.

Exercising, losing weight, elevating your legs when resting, and not crossing them when sitting can help keep varicose veins from getting worse. Wearing loose clothing and avoiding long periods of standing can also help. If varicose veins are painful or you don't like the way they look, your doctor may recommend procedures to remove them.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

The following features are indicative of Varicose Veins:
  • dark purple or blue colored veins
  • twisted and bulging kind of veins
  • achy or heavy feeling in legs
  • burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in lower legs
  • worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
  • itching around veins
  • bleeding from varicose veins
  • painful cord in the vein with red discoloration of the skin
  • hardening of the vein
  • inflammation of the skin
  • skin ulcers near ankle
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Common Causes of Varicose Veins

The following are the most common causes of Varicose Veins:
  • aging
  • pregnancy
  • menopause
  • family history
  • prolonged standing
  • leg injury
  • abdominal straining

Other Causes of Varicose Veins

The following are the less common causes of Varicose Veins:
  • post phlebitic obstruction
  • incontinence
  • venous and arteriovenous malformations

Risk Factors for Varicose Veins

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Varicose Veins:
  • increasing age
  • family history
  • being female
  • obesity
  • standing or sitting for long periods of time

Prevention of Varicose Veins

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Varicose Veins. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • exercise regularly
  • maintain normal weight
  • eat healthy diet
  • avoid high heels and tight hosiery
  • change sitting or standing position regularly

Occurrence of Varicose Veins

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Varicose Veins cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Varicose Veins most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Varicose Veins can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Varicose Veins

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Varicose Veins:
  • Ultrasound test: To see if the valves in veins are functioning normally or if there's any evidence of a blood clot
  • Physical exam: To check for swelling in legs

Doctor for Diagnosis of Varicose Veins

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Varicose Veins:
  • Plastic surgeon

Complications of Varicose Veins if untreated

Yes, Varicose Veins causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Varicose Veins is left untreated:
  • extremely painful ulcers
  • thrombophlebitis
  • bleeding

Procedures for Treatment of Varicose Veins

The following procedures are used to treat Varicose Veins:
  • Sclerotherapy: To treat varicose veins in severe cases
  • Laser surgeries: To close off smaller varicose veins and spider veins
  • High ligation and vein stripping: To treat varicose veins
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy: To treat varicose veins
  • Endoscopic vein surgery: To treat varicose veins in advanced cases

Self-care for Varicose Veins

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Varicose Veins:
  • Regular exercise: Helps decreasing the discomfort that varicose veins can cause
  • Maintain healthy weight: Helps decreasing the discomfort that varicose veins can cause
  • Eat healthy diet: Helps decreasing the discomfort that varicose veins can cause
  • Avoid high heels: Helps treating varicose veins
  • Elevate your legs: Helps improving circulation in legs
  • Avoid long periods of sitting or standing: Helps improving circulation in legs
  • Don't sit with your legs crossed: Helps decreasing blood circulation problems

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Varicose Veins

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Varicose Veins:
  • Intake butcher's broom supplement: Helps treating chronic venous insufficiency
  • Use horse chestnut supplement: Helps treating chronic venous insufficiency
  • Use sweet clover supplement: Helps treating chronic venous insufficiency

Time for Treatment of Varicose Veins

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Varicose Veins to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

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Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Varicose Veins.

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