Varicose veins is a medical condition that is characterized by enlarged, twisted veins. This write-up provides information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this condition.
The function of veins is to return deoxygenated blood from the other parts of our body to the heart. The term ‘varicosities’ refers to an abnormality in the structure of the veins, wherein they become swollen and twisted. These veins appear as protruding and enlarged lines on the skin. The color of the veins changes to blue or bluish-purple. Though such veins could appear anywhere in the body, these can mostly be found in legs.
Varicosities are easily identifiable due to their color and twisted structure. The affected individual might experience tenderness and swelling around the bluish veins that bulge from under the skin. Generally, varicosities can be observed in the thighs and legs. Affected individuals are likely to experience discomfort or a heavy aching sensation in the legs after standing for long periods. The veins look like contorted cords under the skin, which makes it a cosmetic problem for some. Besides pain, the affected individual might also experience symptoms such as tingling sensation, fatigue, swelling, and muscle cramps. Sometimes, blood might clot in these superficial veins. In case of women, the symptoms may aggravate during menstruation.
Varicosities occur due to the breakdown of the valve system in the veins. Blood is pumped from our heart to the legs through arteries. After the oxygenated blood and nutrients have been supplied to the legs, blood must return to the heart through the veins. Blood in the veins has to flow upwards, against gravity. Normally, the muscles in the legs facilitate the flow of blood and the valves help in preventing the blood from flowing back down into the veins. When the valves in the veins are unable to perform their function, blood is unable to flow to the heart. Due to this venous insufficiency, this blood leaks and gets accumulated, thereby putting pressure on the veins. As a result, the veins becomes swollen, enlarged, and twisted. Aging or hormonal imbalances could also be responsible for the breakdown of the valve system. It could be genetic, and might run in the family. Pregnant women or those who are overweight are at a greater risk of developing this condition.
Most people with varicose veins experience severe pain and heaviness in their feet after prolonged hours of standing. Besides the appearance of protruding bluish veins on the skin, one is likely to experience restlessness, throbbing, swelling, and sometimes, painful leg cramps. Since obesity increases the risk, affected individuals must keep a tab on their weight. They must refrain from wearing tight clothes, as that can further have an adverse effect on the blood circulation. It is advisable to avoid sitting in one position or standing for long stretches of time. Keeping your legs elevated while resting would also help. Wearing compression stockings is a good non-surgical method for getting relief from pain. This is a viable option for those who don’t wish to undergo surgical treatment. Staying physically active will help, as that will allow the muscles to pump the blood out of the veins.
Besides these self-care tips, you could also go for sclerotherapy or laser surgery to make the affected veins look less prominent. If this condition is causing you a great deal of discomfort, you could consult a doctor regarding surgical options. Radio-frequency ablations, endovenous laser therapy, and vein litigation are some methods that can be used to treat this condition.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.