Varicose veins are swollen, twisted and enlarged veins that generally have a dark purple or blue color. People with varicose veins in the legs may experience symptoms such as cramps and a heavy sensation, and in severe cases ulcers can form on the surface of the skin. Although varicose veins can happen anywhere in the body, they’re most common on the feet and legs.
Signs of Varicose Veins
In most cases, varicose veins aren’t accompanied by pain. Signs might include bulging, twisted veins that are purple or blue. Some patients may experience heaviness or aching in the legs, or a minor injury may bleed longer than normal. Swollen ankles and venous eczema may also result. Varicose veins can appear in various body parts such as the legs, pelvis, esophagus, uterus, vagina, rectum and esophagus.
Causes of Varicose Veins
Veins and arteries form the circulatory system, and blood flows from the heart into arteries, tissues & organs before coming back through the veins. Returning blood has to fight gravity, and it does so through muscular contractions and a series of valves. If a vein’s walls become stretched, the valves may weaken. Blood may accumulate in the vein, with swelling as a result. Doctors aren’t sure why vein walls stretch, and it occurs for no reason in many cases.
There are certain factors that put people at greater risk of having varicose vein issues. Those factors include:
Gender (females are more likely to have them)
Genetics (varicose veins are thought to be hereditary)
A visual exam by a physician will tell a patient whether or not they have varicose veins. The doctor will look for signs of swelling, and the patient will answer questions about his or her symptoms, family history and pregnancy history. In some instances, a patient may be referred to a vascular doctor.
Treatments for Varicose Veins
If a patient has no discomfort and isn’t bothered by the aesthetics of varicose veins, treatment may not be indicated. However, if there are bothersome symptoms, a patient may get varicose vein treatments to reduce discomfort. Some patients opt for treatment purely for aesthetic reasons.