Varicose veins FAQs (frequently asked questions!) spring up more frequently than you might think. That’s because people are still getting their heads around what varicose veins are and what can be done about them. It can be rather shocking to see one of the veins in your legs bulge up under your skin and turn all kinds of weird colors. Are you turning into a zombie?
The answer is – no! You’ve just got varicose veins. So let’s jump right in to our Varicose Veins FAQs to get your questions answered and the worries out of your mind.
Varicose Veins FAQs – Basics
Where Do Varicose Veins Come From?
Varicose veins don’t exactly come from anywhere. The vein has been there in your body the whole time, but it’s gotten damaged.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are damaged veins that now appear enlarged and twisted.
What Do Varicose Veins Look Like?
Varicose veins take on many looks. They are usually twisted, enlarged, and bulge up under your skin like ropes. They may be red, blue, or dark purple, or they may have no color at all.
Where Do Varicose Veins Start?
There is no specific place that a varicose vein will start. It starts where the damage is – often in the legs because of long bouts of sitting or standing. You could also say that varicose veins start with your family, since they’ve been associated with genetic dispositions. If one of your parents has varicose veins, your risk of developing them goes up by 40 percent. If both your parents have them, you might as well prepare for some varicose veins because your risk goes all the way up to 90 percent!
How Do Varicose Veins Form?
Varicose veins are formed by increased blood pressure in the veins pressing against weak vein walls. One-way valves in the veins push your blood back towards your heart. If the valves become weakened or damaged, blood will begin to pool up, enlarging the vein.
Where Do Varicose Veins Occur?
Varicose veins occur in the veins near the surface of the skin. They can occur anywhere in the body but most typically form in the legs or feet.
Varicose Veins FAQs – the Worries
Why Do I Have Varicose Veins in Only One Leg?
The answer to that question is still up in the air. Some healthcare professionals believe that it’s because you experienced an injury to that side of the body that caused damage to the valves or the veins. Other professionals believe that having varicose veins on only one leg is a natural part of having varicose veins.
Can Varicose Veins Hurt?
For many people, varicose veins are only a cosmetic concern, but for others, varicose veins can be painful. Legs may feel heavy or achy. You may get muscle cramps or discomfort around the varicose veins. You may also feel throbbing or burning in your legs and experience swelling in your calves and around your ankles. If you’re in pain enough to be worried, make an appointment with us today.
Can Varicose Veins Cause Leg Pain?
Can Varicose Veins Be Dangerous?
Typically, varicose veins are not dangerous and pose no health risks. Rare complications include minor bleeding close to the skin, blood clots (thrombophlebitis), and ulcers on the skin near the damaged veins. Studies also suggest that people with varicose veins are at increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism.
Will Varicose Veins Get Worse?
Yes. Venous insufficiency (the underlying cause of varicose veins) is a chronic condition, and it gets worse over time.
Can Varicose Veins Burst?
Yes. When left untreated, varicose veins can get larger and larger while their walls get thinner and thinner. Something as simple as a solid bump into something can rupture them. If a varicose vein ruptures under the skin, symptoms may include bruising, dizziness, or fainting. If a vein bursts and the skin is broken, then you may be back in nightmare land, because bleeding can be rapid and profuse. Elevate the leg or affected area on a stack of pillows or up a wall to reduce swelling and blood loss. Apply pressure on the bleeding site with a towel or cotton t-shirt to slow or stop the bleeding. Get an appointment with a vein care specialist or the nearest emergency room to avoid excessive blood loss and other complications.
Will Varicose Veins Kill Me?
Varicose veins themselves are not going to kill you. However, complications caused by them – or by underlying conditions that they signal – can be dangerous. People who have varicose veins are at higher risk of getting thrombophlebitis and have six times the risk of deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.
Varicose Veins FAQs – What About the Future?
Can Varicose Veins Go Away?
Varicose veins do not just go away on their own. Sometimes they can become less visible, and the symptoms temporarily subside, but your vein symptoms will likely return over time.
Can Varicose Veins Disappear With Exercise?
Nope! Sometimes exercise can lighten them up and ease your discomfort, but it will not make them disappear. Exercise can also help prevent varicose veins forming in the first place because it improves circulation and tones your muscles.
Will Varicose Veins Improve With Weight Loss?
Although weight loss can prevent already existing varicose veins from worsening in appearance, it cannot make them go away. Unfortunately, it may even make underlying varicose veins more noticeable. But don’t let this be an excuse not to lose weight!
Will Varicose Veins Go Away After Pregnancy?
Good news! Most of the time, varicose veins developed during pregnancy will recede after birth and completely disappear within three months. However, some women have persistent varicose veins. These should be evaluated by a specialist.
What Kind of Doctor Treats Varicose Veins?
Doctors who specialize in vein conditions include:
- Vascular surgeons
- Dermatologists or dermatology surgeons
- Vein specialists
You have several options for treatment of your varicose veins including via laser or sclerotherapy.
Still have questions? No problem! Check out our many blogs about varicose veins, or give us a call! We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions about varicose veins and set you up with a consultation to address any of your concerns about treatment!