Varicose veins: causes, symptoms and prevention


Varicose veins are enlarged veins. Any superficial vein can become varicose, but the veins in the legs are most commonly affected. In an upright position (standing and walking), pressure in the veins of the lower body increases.

For some, varicose veins and spider veins are just a cosmetic issue, but for many people varicose veins can cause heaviness and swelling in the lower extremities. Sometimes varicose veins lead to more serious problems - trophic ulcers.

Treatment can include both measures to prevent the development of chronic venous insufficiency and surgical procedures to remove veins (using various techniques).

Varicose veins symptoms

Varicose veins may not cause pain. Signs that suggest varicose veins include:

  • Veins are dark purple or blue
  • Veins that appear twisted and bulging; they are often like cords on your feet

When painful signs and symptoms occur, they may include:

  • Feeling pain or heaviness in the legs
  • Burning, throbbing, muscle spasms and swelling in the legs
  • Itching around one or more veins
  • Discoloration of the skin around varicose veins

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but smaller. These veins are closer to the skin's surface and are often red or blue.

Spider veins are found on the legs, but can also be found on the face. They vary in size and often look like spider webs.

When to see a doctor

If you have symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, and you want to establish the exact cause and completely get rid of the discomfort, then sign up for a consultation right now. Experienced phlebologists will check the condition of the vascular bed and give individual recommendations based on experience.

Causes of varicose veins

Weak or damaged valves can lead to varicose veins. Arteries carry blood from your heart to your tissues, and veins return blood to your heart. Veins in the legs work against gravity.

Muscle contractions in the lower legs act as a pump, and the elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open when blood flows to your heart and then close to stop blood flowing back. If these valves are weak or damaged, blood can flow backward and accumulate in the vein, causing the veins to stretch or twist.

Risk Factors

These factors increase the risk of developing varicose veins:

  • Age. The risk of varicose veins increases with age. Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in the veins that help regulate blood flow. Ultimately, wear and tear causes blood to flow back into your veins.
  • Gender. Women are more likely to develop this disease. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, premenstruation, or menopause can be a factor because female hormones tend to reduce the elasticity of the vein walls. Hormonal medications such as birth control pills can increase your risk of developing varicose veins.
  • Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the volume of blood in your body increases. This change supports the growth of the fetus, but can also lead to the unwanted side effect of dilated leg veins. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may also play a role.
  • Familial disease. If other family members have had varicose veins, you are more likely.
  • Obesity. Being overweight puts additional pressure on your veins.
  • Standing or Sedentary Lifestyle. Your blood does not flow as well if you are in the same position for a long time.


Complications of varicose veins, although rare, may include:

  • Ulcer. Peptic ulcers can form on the skin near varicose veins, especially near the ankles. A discolored spot on the skin usually appears before the ulcer forms. See your doctor right away if you suspect you have an ulcer.
  • Blood clots. Sometimes the deep veins in the legs become enlarged. In such cases, the affected leg may become painful and swollen. Any persistent leg pain or swelling requires medical attention because it could indicate a blood clot, a condition medically known as thrombophlebitis.
  • Bleeding. Sometimes veins very close to the skin can burst. This usually only causes minor bleeding. But any bleeding requires medical attention.

Prevention of varicose veins

There is no way to completely prevent varicose veins. But improving blood circulation and muscle tone can reduce the risk of developing varicose veins. Home remedies for varicose veins discomfort:

  • Gymnastics
  • Maintaining an Optimal Body Mass Index
  • High fiber, low salt diet
  • Avoid high heels, stiff hosiery and other tight clothing
  • Leg Raising
  • Change your sitting or standing position regularly

Well, let's get moving.