Varicose (expanded) veins-symptoms and causes

Varicose veins are blue or dark violet, curvedly expanded surface veins, which most often manifest on the legs. Although there is no accurate data, it is estimated that almost half of the world’s adult population has a problem with venous circulation, and about 20-25% of women and 10-15% of men worldwide have visible varicose veins.


Varicose (expanded) veins-symptoms and causes

Why do varicose veins appear?

Veins are blood vessels, one of whose main functions is directing the blood from the tissues and organs back to the heart. To this end, a large part of the veins have valves that allow normal circulation of blood. Thanks to the valves, the proper direction of venous blood flow is maintained. This is especially important for venous blood vessels on the legs, where if there were no venous valves, due to gravity, the blood would move downwards, in the opposite direction from the heart.


A disorder of the venous valve function is one of the main causes of varicose veins. Wrinkling on the wall of venous blood vessels, as well as the increase in venous pressure, can also contribute to the development of varicose veins.

Factors that increase the risk of developing varicose veins are:


  • Genetic predisposition. If a close family member has varicose veins, the risk of developing the same condition in you is increased.
  • Sex. Women have a greater risk of developing varicose veins. It is thought that the main reason is in the variation of female hormones throughout life.
  • Age. The risk of varicose veins increases with age. Over time, in part of the population, the valves of the veins that help regulate the normal blood flow are damaged and do not function at full capacity. Therefore, some of the blood rather than pointing to the heart, lags in the surface veins.
  • Obesity. Increased body weight exerts additional pressure on the venous system, which leads to damage to the valves and compromising the venous blood flow to the heart.
  • Pregnancy. During pregnancy, there are a number of changes that can contribute to the appearance of varicose veins. Increasing the blood volume in the body, reducing the blood flow rate from the legs to the pelvis, hormonal changes that emphasize blood vessel expansion, weight gain, and the pressure of the uterus on the venous system are reasons that increase the likelihood of occurrence of varicose veins in pregnancy. Fortunately, if the woman has no other risk factors, in the majority of cases, 3 to 12 months after pregnancy, the enlarged veins are withdrawn.
  • Prolonged standing / seating. The less you move, the harder it is for your veins to pump blood to your heart. Prolonged standing and sitting in one place significantly increases the risk of varicose veins. Therefore, if your work requires prolonged sitting or standing, try each hour to move around for a few minutes.




The clinical picture of varicose veins varies depending on the degree of severity of the disease.


It may consist of the following symptoms and signs:


  • Blue or dark violet veins visible on the surface of the skin on the legs;
  • Pain;
  • Itching;
  • Feeling the weight of the leg;
  • Swelling in the area of ​​the joints and feet;
  • Cramps in the muscles;
  • Change in pigmentation of the skin around the enlarged vein;
  • Feeling of heat.


A great deal of people who have varicose veins in the beginning are without symptoms. But since it’s basically a chronic problem that progresses over time, you need to consult your doctor in a timely manner.




Treatment options may be non-surgical and surgical.


  • Compressive socks help the normal functioning of the veins by placing the valves in the correct position. In this way, the enlargement of the veins, swelling and pain decreases, and it can lead to calming of muscle cramps. There are several types of socks with different degrees of compression. If the damage to the venous system is higher, socks with a higher degree of compression are required. Therefore, before purchasing them, it is best to consult your doctor to make the right choice.
  • Sclerotherapy. This procedure consists of injecting a solution using a thin needle, which allows collapse of the affected venous vessels. This prevents the blood from moving towards the treated vein and is directed to circulate to other venous blood vessels. This method usually treats veins of small or medium size. However, sclerotherapy can give side effects such as brown skin discoloration in the area of the treatment, irritation and damage to the tissue surrounding the affected vein is performed.


CAUTION: Sclerotherapy is not recommended if the patient has a positive history of previous venous thromboses, in pregnant women, and in people who are allergic to the sclerosis.


  • Laser treatment. In this treatment, a laser beam sends a light beam to the affected vein leading to its ablation.CAUTION: Due to inadequate use of the laser, there may be skin burns, as well as changes in pigmentation at the site that is being treated.
  • Surgical treatment for varicose veins most often involves safenectomy, phlebectomy, radiofrequency ablation, and endowment laser therapy. The surgical intervention treats large dilated venous vessels.

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