Varicose Veins - Overview, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins seen just under the skin. They are most often seen in the legs, although they may also appear in other areas of the body. Hemorrhoids are a type of varicose vein.

One-way valves in your veins assist maintain blood flowing toward your heart. Blood may back up and pool in your veins if the valves are weak or broken. The veins expand as a result, which may lead to varicose veins

Varicose veins are a fairly frequent condition. You are more likely to develop varicose veins if you are older, female, obese, do not exercise, or have a family history of varicose veins. They are also more prevalent during pregnancy.

A physical exam is often used by doctors to detect varicose veins. Additional testing may be required at times.

Exercising, losing weight, elevating your legs when resting, and not crossing your legs when sitting can all help prevent varicose veins from worsening. Wearing loose clothing and avoiding prolonged standing may also be beneficial. If your varicose veins are painful or you don't like the way they look, your doctor may advise you to have them removed.



Causes

Age As a person ages, the valves inside their veins begin to wear and tear. Because these valves are in charge of regulating blood flow, wear and tear cause blood to seep back into the veins, where it ultimately accumulates, rather than going to the heart.

Gender Women are much more prone to acquire such a disease, particularly during hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause. This is mostly due to female hormones' proclivity to relax vein walls. More significantly, some hormone therapies, such as using birth control pills, may raise the chances of getting varicose veins.

Pregnancy You're undoubtedly aware that the amount of blood within a pregnant woman's body increases. Although this increase in blood volume benefits the developing baby, it also has the unintended consequence of causing vein growth in the legs.

Family history

If you have a hereditary predisposition to varicose veins, you are more likely to develop them.

Obesity

Overweight people have more strain on their veins, which contributes to the development of varicose veins.

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

  • Veins that are lumpy and swollen
  • Discoloration of the skin surrounding varicose veins (often bluish or brown in color)
  • Leg heaviness, hurting, and discomfort (especially after exercise and night)
  • Itching and redness in the affected area
  • Cramps in the thighs or in the calf
  • Veins on the skin's surface that are smaller in size (known as spider veins)
  • Bleeding that lasts longer than usual following a minor injury
  • Ankle swelling
  • Thickening of the skin around the ankles and legs
  • Skin sores that heat up more slowly than usual
  • Diagnosis of Varicose vein

    A doctor's physical examination, mostly visual, will determine whether or not a patient has varicose veins. The doctor will ask the patient to stand as he or she is examined for indications of swelling.

    Doppler scan An ultrasonic scan is used to determine the direction of blood flow in veins. This test also looks for blood clots or vein blockages.

    Color duplex ultrasound scan This gives color pictures of the vein anatomy, allowing the clinician to detect any anomalies. It may also determine the rate of blood flow.

    Treatment of varicose vein

    Surgery

    If the varicose veins are large, they may need to be surgically removed. This is often performed under general anesthesia. In most instances, the patient may go home the same day; however, if surgery on both legs is needed, the patient may need to stay one night in the hospital.

    Laser treatments are often utilized to seal off smaller veins as well as spider veins. The vein is subjected to intense bursts of light, which eventually fade and disappear.

    Stripping and ligature

    Two incisions are made: one near the patient's groin at the top of the target vein and one lower down the leg, possibly at the ankle or knee. The vein's top is tied off and sealed. A thin, flexible wire is inserted into the vein's bottom and pushed out, carrying the vein with it.

    This treatment generally does not need a hospital stay. Ligation and stripping may cause bruising, bleeding, and discomfort. Deep vein thrombosis may occur in very uncommon cases.

    Most patients may require 1-3 weeks to recuperate after surgery before returning to work and other regular activities. Compression stockings are used throughout the healing period.

    Sclerotherapy

    In tiny and medium-sized varicose veins, a chemical is injected, scarring and closing them. They should disappear within a few weeks. It is possible that a vein will need to be injected more than once.

    Ablation using radiofrequency

    A tiny incision is made above or below the knee, and a thin tube (catheter) is inserted into the vein with the aid of an ultrasound scan.

    The doctor inserts a radiofrequency energy-emitting probe into the catheter. The radiofrequency radiation warms the vein, forcing its walls to collapse and effectively close and seal it shut. For bigger varicose veins, this treatment is recommended. Radiofrequency ablation is often performed under local anesthesia.

    Endovenous laser therapy

    A catheter is placed into the vein of the patient. A tiny laser is inserted through the catheter and placed at the top of the target vein; it provides brief bursts of radiation that heat up the vein, sealing it shut.

    The doctor threads the laser all the way up the vein with the help of an ultrasound scan, eventually scorching and sealing it completely. This operation is performed using a local anesthetic. There may be some nerve damage, although it is generally minor.

    Prevention

    You may help avoid varicose veins by doing the following:

    • Regular exercise is essential.
    • Keep a healthy body weight.
    • Avoid wearing anything that constricts your legs, groin, or waist, such as knee-high pantyhose.
    • Avoid constipation by consuming a high-fiber diet, When standing for an extended length of time, switch your weight from one leg to the other every few minutes.
    • Elevate your legs for a few minutes each day by laying down with cushions beneath your feet.