Varicose veins. They’re all too common - affecting nearly 35% of the U.S. population - and often considered harmless, but leaving them untreated may not be as safe as you think.
Varicose veins occur when the valves in superficial veins weaken, causing blood to collect and pool in the area. This leads to veins that are twisted, enlarged, and dark in color. They most commonly occur in legs, though any superficial vein can become varicose.
Often, varicose veins are mostly a cosmetic concern. But if left untreated, they can cause physical symptoms that range from merely inconvenient to completely debilitating.
Signs and Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are most commonly recognized by their distinct appearance. Signs that you may have varicose veins include:
- Veins that appear swollen, raised and twisted beneath the skin
- Veins that are purplish or dark blue in color
- Spider veins, or mild red and blue-colored veins beneath the skin
In some cases, varicose veins can cause physical symptoms that range from mild to severe. Symptoms of varicose veins can include:
Pain and Discomfort. Varicose veins can cause burning, throbbing, aching, or itching in the legs. The pain usually increases with prolonged sitting or standing.
Limb Fatigue. Varicose veins may cause a heavy or tired feeling in the legs or limbs.
Bleeding. Varicose veins may rupture and bleed with mild trauma.
Skin Discoloration. The skin around a varicose vein may become swollen or discolored.
Skin Tears. Varicose veins may cause skin tears or ulceration in severe cases.
Phlebitis. If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to superficial blood clots, a condition that causes pain, swelling, and redness in the vein or affected limb.
When To See A Doctor
Varicose veins are often harmless, but they may indicate a more serious underlying health condition like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). For this reason, new or severe varicose veins should always be evaluated by your physician. Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment and management plan for your varicose veins.
At Vascular Associates of South Alabama, we offer comprehensive and non-invasive treatment options for varicose veins, including sclerotherapy injections, endovenous laser treatment, phlebectomy procedures, and compression stockings. If you need help with your varicose veins, contact us today.