Varicose Veins: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Varicose Veins

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We’ve all heard of varicose veins, but how much do you really know about them? Today, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, complications, and prevention of Varicose Veins, as well as the treatment options available. While any veins may become varicose veins, they are most common to the legs and feet. A vein returns oxygen-depleted blood to your heart. When they get dilated or tortuous, varicose veins occur. Symptoms may start off as merely cosmetic, or minor, but could become life- threatening.

Causes of Varicose Veins

  • Age- Veins carry blood back to the heart, defying gravity when they are healthy. As we age, we lose elasticity in our veins allowing the blood to flow backwards, thus causing varicose veins.
  • Gender- While men certainly aren’t immune to Varicose Veins, women are at higher risk due to lifelong hormonal changes. Menstruation, menopause, premenopause, pregnancy, birth control and hormone replacement therapy can all produce excessive hormones which relax the vein walls.
  • Pregnancy- Our bodies go through amazing changes to support the wellbeing of our precious cargo. One of these changes is increased bloodflow. In late pregnancy, the pressure in the legs is increased, which can lead to varicose veins. Typically, the symptoms clear up on their own within three to twelve months postpartum.
  • Weight- Extra weight on your body means extra pressure on your legs and additional stress to the veins.
  • Heredity- If you have a family history of varicose veins, you are more likely to also suffer from them.
  • Extended periods of Standing or Sitting- Standing for long periods puts pressure on the legs and feet. Interestingly, sitting for long period of time may cause varicose veins because the blood does not circulate as well without a change of positions.

Varicose Vein Prevention

While you cannot prevent varicose veins, you can take measures to reduce your risk. You can also prevent worsening of existing problem areas.

  • Keeping your body at a healthy weight reduces stress to the veins.
  • If you must stand or sit for extended periods of time, take a break. If you are sitting, get up for 10-15 minutes every hour. If you are standing/ walking, take a rest for 10- 15 minutes every hour.
  • Compression stockings are great for existing problem areas.

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

  • Twisted or bulging veins ( dark purple or blue)
  • Achy or heavy legs
  • Burning
  • Itchiness around veins
  • Swelling of legs or feet
  • Muscle cramps in the legs
  • Open sores
  • Bleeding excessively after a minor injury


Ulcers caused by long term fluid buildup in the affected veins, and increased blood pressure may occur around the veins, but are most common on the ankle. You may notice a slight discoloration on the area prior to the ulcer appearing. If you develop ulcers near your varicose veins, if is essential to see your doctor right away.

Another serious complication is swelling. Blood Clots can form in varicose veins, this is known as thrombophlebitis. Any sudden swelling should be considered urgent and warrants immediate medical attention.

Treatment Options

Endovenous laser ablation treatments are minimally invasive, ultrasound guided laser vein treatments. This is the most common treatment of Varicose Veins at Greenville Vein and Body Sculpting. Phlebectomies are only used when the vein is too damaged to treat with Endovenous Laser Ablation treatments, typically for thrombophlebitis.

Determining the Best Treatment

After your initial consultation, we will perform an ultrasound to check the condition of the veins as well as making sure you have no blood clots. He will then make a determination on the best course of treatment for you and answer any questions you may have.

Greenville Vein and Body Sculpting for Varicose Veins

Greenville Vein and Body Sculpting was the first in the Greenville, SC area to specialize in comprehensive, in-office Varicose Vein treatment. Greenville Vein and Body Sculpting has successfully treated thousands of Varicose Vein patients since it opened in 2001. 

Don’t wait until Varicose Veins become a serious problem, Request Your Appointment! with Greenville Vein and Body Sculptingr today!

Disclaimer: If you suspect you have a problem with varicose veins you should consult a doctor or vein specialist. This article should not be used as a diagnostic tool, it is intended to be informative, but only a doctor can correctly diagnose and treat vein problems. Varicose Veins need to be seen to be diagnosed properly.