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Varicose Veins Symptoms

Updated on July 28, 2010

Varicose veins can be unsightly and painful – before you undergo treatment you’ll need to know the varicose veins symptoms so you can make sure you are suffering from this and not a similar but different condition. There are a number of treatment options for varicose veins, some which you can try at home and others which you will need to discuss with your doctor before undergoing a treatment program.

Varicose veins are caused when the valves stopping blood from flowing backward through the veins become weak and blood starts to pool in the vein. This causes the vein to become visible through the skin and bulge unsightly. This condition is very common, particularly in the legs when the blood has to travel the furthest to get back to the heart.

Common varicose vein symptoms

Some people may have varicose veins but have no symptoms at all. Many people notice that they are a sufferer when the veins become visible but this may not be noticed for a long time on an area of the body that is not in direct view. The most common symptoms of varicose veins are as follows:

  • Aching or heavy feeling in the legs or wherever else the varicose veins are
  • Lumpy discolored blue or purple patches of skin
  • Itching around the area of the veins
  • Swelling of the ankles caused by fluid from the pooled blood leaking into the tissue surrounding the vein
  • Skin ulcers near the ankle in very severe cases

You can tell spider veins apart from varicose veins because they are much smaller. The condition is similar but spider veins are very close to the skin’s surface and resemble a spider’s web. They are common on the face as well as the legs.

How to Treat a Varicose Vein Symptom

If you are not bothered by the appearance of the varicose veins and they are not causing you any pain or discomfort then you usually do not have to seek any treatment at all. If you have only slight symptoms then you can try to improve the condition by taking regular exercise, not sitting down for long periods of time, keeping your legs elevated when sitting or lying down and wearing compression stockings.

However if you are unhappy with the look of the veins, are suffering from pain or concerned that your condition is getting worse then you should see a doctor to discuss possible treatment options. It is common that a varicose vein symptom will get worse over time and eventually this can lead to complications requiring medical treatment.

Potential complications of varicose veins include painful and swollen inflamed veins; excessive bleeding if there is a cut to the area of the skin that is affected by the condition; permenant discoloration of the skin in the area; and skin ulcers resulting from fluid leaking from the vein. You should always keep an eye on the signs and symptoms of varicose veins to make sure the condition is not getting worse, putting you at risk of complications.

Treatment of Varicose Veins

There are various medical treatments for varicose veins depending on the severity of the condition in your case. Varicose vein surgery is a common procedure which involves removing the actual veins to eliminate the condition. Other options include sclerotherapy or injecting a chemical into the vein, causing it to close and laser therapy which damages the vein wall for the same effect. Treatments are either carried out under local or general anesthesia.

Discuss your varicose veins symptoms with your doctor before you decide if you need surgical treatment or if your condition can be helped by changes to your lifestyle.

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