The ugly looking bluish purple veins on the legs may not be merely a cosmetic problem. Varicose veins can cause pain, swelling, discomfort and in rare cases bleeding ulcers and ruptured veins. Measures taken to combat enlarged veins in early stages can relieve the symptoms and prevent complications.

Dysfunctional valves in your veins are the cause:

Veins carry blood towards the heart and they have valves which prevent regurgitation. Varicose veins occur when these valves in the veins become weak and fail to prevent blood from flowing backwards. Blood begins to collect in the veins instead of flowing towards the heart. Varicose can occur anywhere in the body but its most common occurrence is in the legs as they are the farthest from the heart and even the gravity makes it harder for the blood to flow upwards.

These may be the reasons for  your varicose Veins:

  • Heredity
  • Occupations that involve a lot of standing, such as nurses, hairstylists, teachers, and factory workers
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal influences of pregnancy, puberty, and menopause
  • The use of birth control pills
  • Postmenopausal hormonal replacement
  • A history of blood clots
  • Conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen, such as tumors, constipation, and externally worn garments like girdles.
  • Trauma or injury to the skin, previous vein surgery, and exposure to ultraviolet rays.

They are painful:

Though for some, the appearance of varicose veins seems to be only a cosmetic issue, but many people with varicose complain of pain, described as an aching or cramping in the legs. Other common symptoms include tiredness, restlessness, burning,throbbing, tingling, or heaviness in the legs. Left untreated, it can lead to swelling, ulcers and darkening of the skin, especially in the ankle region. Further it can cause rupture of veins and bleeding.

How do I know, it is a varicose vein?

 When you meet your doctor, they can diagnose it by physical examination and your history of pain, swelling or other symptoms. Meanwhile, they may also suggest an ultrasound test to see the functioning of your veins and rule out certain other conditions like DVT.

How do I treat them?

The symptoms of pain and swelling are usually relieved by elevating the legs. But unresponsive cases always need non-invasive or less invasive treatments to tackle the pain and related symptoms and to prevent complications.

  • Stockings: The most conservative approach is to simply wear properly-fitting support stockings. Support stockings help to reduce swelling and discomfort. They help the veins and leg muscles to effectively move the blood within. They are easily available and easy to wear.
  • Dynamic sequential compression therapy:  This is a new generation non-invasive therapy which is very effective in treating venous insufficiency, lymphedema, lipedema and other swollen leg conditions. It involves a sequential pressure and release cycle and its directional compression which promotes the flow of blood upward towards the torso and assists its way towards the heart.

Once again, this is a very comfortable and reliable therapy for people having varicose veins and for whom wearing support stocking for long duration seems uncomfortable and not wearable which forces  them to stop using it and worsen the condition.

Life style changes:

  •  Exercise to boost circulation.
  •  Elevate your legs at, or above, heart level. Do this a couple of times each day if possible.
  •  Avoid leg crossing.
  •  Avoid the heels and go for flats.
  • Check your undergarments. Avoid tight panty-leg girdles. This type of undergarment tends to restrict blood flow to the legs.
  •  Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.
  •  Lose weight, or watch your weight.

Other less invasive treatments for varicose veins include Sclerotherapy, Endovenous laser treatment, Radio frequency occlusion etc.

Surgical techniques to treat varicose veins include ligation (tying off of a vein), stripping (removal of a long segment of vein) and ambulatory phlebectomy.