Varicose Veins: Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment


What are varicose veins?


Varicose veins is a condition in which veins become swollen, gnarled, and have a bluish-purple or red colour. This condition is also known as varicoses or varicosities and occurs when the veins are overfilled with blood. These veins are often very painful. Any vein may become varicose, but the most commonly affected veins are those in your legs and feet.
Primarily women are affected by this condition, though nowadays the number of men affected by this condition has also increased.


How do varicose veins occur?


Our veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards. When the walls of a vein become weak especially near a valve, the valve becomes leaky and malfunctions. The blood then begins to flow backwards instead of towards the heart. Once this happens, it puts a lot of pressure on the vein which can cause the vein to widen and the occurrence of more leaky valves.
Varicose veins often affect the legs. The veins there are the farthest from your heart, and gravity makes it harder for the blood to flow upward.


Who is prone to varicose veins?


The factors which can make you prone to varicose veins include:

  • Increasing Age:  The risk of varicose veins increases with ageing since with age the veins become weak and eventually wear and tear can occur, which may cause the valves to malfunction.
  • Gender:  Women are more prone to suffer from varicose veins. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, pre-menstruation or menopause are some factors that are responsible. Also, taking hormone replacement therapy, or birth control pills may increase the risk of varicose veins.
  • Family History: If you have a family history of varicose veins, there is a great chance you may inherit the condition.
  • Being Obese:  Extra weight can put more pressure on your veins and cause varicose veins.
  • Staying Put in the Same Position For Long Periods: Sitting or standing for long periods at a stretch can affect the blood circulation and thus cause varicose veins.


What are the causes of varicose veins?


Some causes of varicose veins include:

  • a family history of varicose veins
  • ageing
  • pregnancy
  • menopause
  • standing or sitting for long periods at a stretch
  • obesity


What are the symptoms of varicose veins? How are varicose veins diagnosed?


The symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • dark purple or blue coloured veins
  • bulging, painful, and hardened veins
  • twisted and bulging veins
  • a heavy feeling in your legs
  • swelling in your lower legs and muscle cramping
  • bleeding in the affected veins
  • heightened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
  • itching in the affected areas
  • inflammation of the skin
  • skin ulcers near your ankle (which could be a sign of vascular disease)

Diagnosis


Generally, a general physician or a primary care doctor can diagnose, treat, and monitor varicose veins. If your case is more severe, the general physician may refer you to a vascular surgeon.

To diagnose varicose veins, your doctor will first perform a physical exam. He will check for bulging veins as well as blood clots. He may suggest you to undergo an ultrasound to check if your veins functioning normally or to find any evidence of blood clot.


What are the complications of varicose veins?


Complications of varicose veins, although rare, can include:

  • Ulcers which can form on the skin near varicose veins, particularly near the ankles.
  • Blood clots, which is a condition known medically as thrombophlebitis may occur.
  • Bleeding which can occur when the enlarged veins very close to the skin may burst. This requires immediate medical attention.


What is the treatment for varicose veins?


Medical Treatment for Varicose Veins


The doctor may ask you at first to wear compression stockings, which is the immediate treatment for varicose veins.The stockings will squeeze your legs, thus squeezing your veins to let the blood flow easily towards the heart.

However, if compression stockings do not work you may have to undergo minimally invasive procedures such as :

  • Laser surgeries for varicose veins
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Catheter-assisted procedures using radiofrequency or laser energy
  • High ligation and vein stripping
  • Endoscopic vein surgery in severe cases

Exercise


Certain exercises can be extremely good for varicose veins such as walking, running, jogging, swimming, yoga, and pilates. Do consult your doctor before you decide on any exercise regimen to check if it will be suitable for your condition.

Would you like to consult a doctor for Varicose Veins ?

Patient Experiences

Vinod Mani
Happy With Varicose Vein Treatment
I am very happy that I visited Keva Ayurveda centre. I visited the clinic for my aged mother who is suffering from leg pain and itching due to varicose veins. The doctor listened patiently to our history and noted every point. Then he asked about my mom's like and dislikes and our diet patterns. Also whether all the current ailments like diabetes and pressure everything under control or no. Once he understood us he then recommended some ayurvedic medicines. The best part is the doctor assured my mom that everything will be alright within a month and she should see improvements. This self assuring attitude helps a lot especially for aged people like my mom who was very nervous to visit the centre. Before giving medicines the doctor also asked if she is ok with some bitter medicines and was very cautious of what patient likes or dislikes. This is very nice. The doctor has given medicines for a month so I can comment on the effectiveness only after a month. However I am confident that it will work out. Ayurvedic medicines start working in a weeks time and they are better than allopathic chemicals. Especially for aged people ayurveda is much better as its natures way of healing. I would strongly recommend folks out there looking for better alternative for treatments to switch to ayurveda or atlas give a try and this centre is definitely worth trying. The place is so neatly maintained and serene gives a peace of mind just by entering the clinic. Just go for it. Ayurvedic medicines are little expensive however nothing as compared to allopathy. The doctor consultation fees is also very nominal....Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Krishna Kumar
Keva Ayurveda Healthcare Pvt Ltd
Sarang Hole
Treatment for Varicose Veins
I started treatment for varicose veins, knee pain and recurrent gastritis before 6 months at Health mate Homeopathic Clinic. Dr. Deepesh took detailed history and immediately figured out what line of treatment should be followed. He explained all the things in detail. I had varicose veins due to which I had lots of pain in my left leg. I was unable to sleep due to the pain. And I also had recurrent gastritis with constipation. With first 2 months varicosities on my left leg started decreasing. And the pain which was there also decreased gradually. Gastric complaints were troublesome for a significant amount of time, they also decreased gradually. I am very impressed with the way Homeopathic medicines worked. Dr. Deepesh was extremely helpful *** ** *** ****** ********* ** *** ********* ***** He answered all my queries in detail. I am very happy with the treatment I received at Healthmate Homeopathy. I would strongly recommend Dr. Deepesh....Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Deepesh Gaikwad
Healthmate Homeopathy
Mrs.T.Vijaya laxmi
Painful varicose veins
I was suffering from painful varicose veins in my legs for the last 5 years, for which doctors advised go for laser treatment. But I tried acupuncture for 15 sessions with Dr Ravi Kumar who is trained in China. Surprisingly my painful condition has come down completely and swelling of the veins has also came down substantially. It's been 2 years I have taken the treatment. So far there is no reoccurance of pain. Me and my husband have also taken weight loss treatment at well being and both of us have reduced by 15 KGS each in 4months duration. Thank u Dr Ravi Kumar and Dr parameswari and all other staff for having wonderful experience....Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Ravi Kumar
Well Being - Obesity & Pain Clinic

Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User
I have a Varicose vein and its a beginning stage is there a cure for this and what the best treatment for varicose vein can I stop it growing
Dr. Himani Negi
Homoeopath, Chennai
Varicose veins is a common condition observed in practice whereby patients present with dilated, tortuous and elongated veins, especially on the legs. However, any vein in the body if gets twisted, stretched out or looses elasticity, could be labeled as varicose.

The veins have certain valve like mechanism which allows the blood to move upwards toward the heart. The valves have leaflets. When the leaflets loose their elasticity, the valves loose their capacity to push blood upwards; hence there is a back pressure which leads to further elongation of the veins. The veins also have reduced elasticity. As a result, the veins get ‘tortuous’ or twisted; as well as hardened. The veins, thus, become visible as zigzag vascular tubes, especially on legs.

Varicose veins affect especially the depending parts of the body that is lower limbs, which gets even worse when one tends to stand longer. People in the business of standing for long, such as sales people, policemen, plastic surgeon (tend to stand for hours during surgery), etc. are risk of developing varicose veins

Homeopathy works very well for mild to moderate cases of varicose veins. It helps to reduce pain, control further varicosity, reduces swelling. Homeopathy also helps significantly in the cases which have varicose ulcers. Homeopathic treatment is strongly recommended for all cases of varicose veins

Verified User
I have been suffering from varicose veins problem from 3 years. please say some easy remedies which can do at my home.
Dr. Sushma Shah
General Physician, Vadodara
HELLO, CRAPE BANDAGE TO TIE IN WORKING HOURS OPEN AT REST.WORK TO BE DONE IN SITTING POSITION MAXIMUM.

O.K BYE.

Dr. Himani Negi
Homoeopath, Chennai
Varicose veins is a common condition observed in practice whereby patients present with dilated, tortuous and elongated veins, especially on the legs. However, any vein in the body if gets twisted, stretched out or looses elasticity, could be labeled as varicose.

The veins have certain valve like mechanism which allows the blood to move upwards toward the heart. The valves have leaflets. When the leaflets loose their elasticity, the valves loose their capacity to push blood upwards; hence there is a back pressure which leads to further elongation of the veins. The veins also have reduced elasticity. As a result, the veins get ‘tortuous’ or twisted; as well as hardened. The veins, thus, become visible as zigzag vascular tubes, especially on legs.

Varicose veins affect especially the depending parts of the body that is lower limbs, which gets even worse when one tends to stand longer. People in the business of standing for long, such as sales people, policemen, plastic surgeon (tend to stand for hours during surgery), etc. are risk of developing varicose veins

Homeopathy works very well for mild to moderate cases of varicose veins. It helps to reduce pain, control further varicosity, reduces swelling. Homeopathy also helps significantly in the cases which have varicose ulcers. Homeopathic treatment is strongly recommended for all cases of varicose veins

Ask health queries and get free answers from doctors in 24 hrs

Did you know?

More common in women

About 30 to 40% of men & women suffer from varicose veins the incidence seems to be increasing world over.

Women more prone

Women are four times more likely to suffer from varicose veins than men. A major factor is pregnancy. Carrying a baby puts a strain on the veins in the pelvis.

Younger population are frequently affected

It has been observed these days that young office going people are suffering more from varicose veins which could be due to the long standing hours.

Related videos

Related articles

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Symptoms, Complications and Treatment

Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional disorder of the bowels which leads to the occurrence of a group of symptoms. Know more about Irritable bowel syndrome, its causes, symptoms, treatment and other useful facts and videos on Health-Wiki | Practo

Piles: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Piles are swellings or swollen haemorrhoids that occur inside and around the anus. Know more about Piles, its causes, symptoms, treatment and other useful facts and links and videos on Health-Wiki | Practo

Asthma: Symptoms, Complications, and Treatment

Asthma is a chronic lung condition caused by inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes. Read about the symptoms, treatment, cure and remedies of Asthma. Get information, videos and facts about Asthma on Health-Wiki | Practo

Home Remedies

Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar improves blood flow and circulation and also is a natural body cleanser.Once the blood starts flowing naturally, the heaviness and swelling of varicose veins will decrease to a great extent. Apply undiluted apple cider vinegar on the skin over the varicose veins and gently massage the area. Do it every day before going to bed and again in the morning. Follow this remedy for a few months to reduce the size of varicose veins. Mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink it everyday on empty stomach in the morning.

Use Olive Oil

A massage with olive oil can help increase blood circulation, and thereby reduce pain and inflammation. Mix equal amounts of olive oil and vitamin E oil and warm the mix slightly. Massage the veins with the warm oil for several minutes. Do this twice daily for one to two months.

Ayurvedic Dietary Recommendations for Treating Varicose Veins

Avoid refined carbohydrates and red meat, as these are constipating. Make whole grains such as millet and buckwheat, legumes, fruits and vegetables, which are high in fiber and rich in vitamins a regular part of your diet. These can restore health to your weak veins. These fruits and vegetables can especially help your condition: blackberries, cherries, cantaloupe, carrots, pumpkins, sweet potato, winter squash, leafy greens, melons, grapes, pomegranate, lemon, lime and other citrus fruits, pumpkin seeds, and garlic.

Include Parsley in Your Diet

Parsley is rich in vitamin C, which encourages the production of collagen and aids in cell repair and reproduction. Parsley also contains rutin, which helps to strengthen the capillaries and hence is very useful in reducing symptoms of varicose veins.

Marigold Flower

The marigold flower is a rich source of flavonoids and vitamin C. These properties help to stimulate the production of collagen and aid in cell repair and reproduction. You can use marigold flowers to help you with the symptoms of varicose veins: Boil one cup of marigold flowers in four cups of water for five minutes. Dip a cotton cloth in the solution. Place this cloth on the affected area and leave it until the cloth becomes cool. Repeat this process several times a day for a couple of months until you notice improvement.
Book an appointment with a Vascular Surgeon