Varicose Veins - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins or varicosities develop secondary to enlarged or dilated veins that are overfilled with blood. They typically appear raised or swollen and are red or bluish-purple in colour. Often, they are painful. Varicose veins are quite a common condition, occurring mostly in females. They are more commonly seen in the lower limbs.

Varicose veins occur due to non-functioning or improperly functioning veins. Veins have valves that ensure a one-way flow of blood and prevent it from flowing in the reverse direction. Due to the failure of these valves because of any reason, the blood starts accumulating in the veins rather than flowing toward the heart. This causes enlargement of the affected veins, particularly of the legs, as those are farthest from the heart and the gravitational force makes it more challenging for the blood to flow in the upward direction.

The potential causes of varicose veins include menopause, pregnancy, age above 50, obesity, standing for prolonged periods of time, and family history of varicose veins.

The symptoms of these conditions are quite evident and are highly visible on the lower limbs. This may be associated with swelling, heaviness, pain, and aches over or surrounding the enlarged veins. In some people, swelling and discolouration are also seen, while in severe causes, the affected veins tend to bleed severely or undergo ulceration.

To diagnose varicose veins, the doctor will thoroughly examine the legs both in sitting and standing posture. He will also ask questions about your signs and symptoms as well as your overall medical history. He may also recommend an ultrasound to check the blood flow.

Depending on the location of the affected vein, a venogram may be recommended, which involves the injection of a special dye or contrast in the veins of the legs followed by capturing images of the area. The contrast helps visualise the flood of blood or any obstruction more effectively and aids in diagnosis. Additionally, tests such as venograms or ultrasounds may be recommended to exclude the diagnosis of a blood clot or blockage in the veins.

Generally, varicose veins are treated conservatively. Instead of trying more aggressive and invasive treatments, lifestyle changes are suggested, for example:

  • Avoidance of prolonged standing
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Improvement of blood circulation by exercise.
  • Use compression socks or stockings.

If lifestyle changes fail to bring about an improvement in varicose veins or if the condition is so painful that your overall health is affected, an invasive procedure may be recommended by your doctor to deal with the condition.

Surgical procedures like stripping and ligation of veins may be done under anaesthesia. Other treatment options currently available include sclerotherapy, micro sclerotherapy, and endoscopic vein surgery.

Varicose veins generally tend to worsen over time even if you follow the recommended lifestyle and take measures to control and manage your pain. Although the complications are unsightly, they usually do not lead to long-term medical conditions. In certain cases, varicose veins may result in ulceration or sores on the legs, along with chronic inflammation. In extremely severe cases, the veins may even rupture. If you experience any of these or similar symptoms, you must see a doctor immediately. A more aggressive approach like surgery or other interventional procedures may be performed urgently.

If you are looking for the treatment of varicose veins around Navi Mumbai, your search is over. The Department of Vascular Surgery at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Navi Mumbai has the best facilities and infrastructure. We have fully integrated operating rooms equipped with advanced machines and medical equipment. An optimal level of hygiene, including the use of disposable materials, is practised while performing all procedures to negate infections and eliminate the chances of post-surgical complications.