Varicose veins are distorted and widened. This irritating and sometimes painful distortion usually occurs in the lower limbs as a result of the loading of the knee veins due to the upright holding of the body. The blood returns to the heart from the tissue of the leg through the veins. The heart does not suck blood and blood circulates in the veins partly due to the pumping of the leg muscles. Blood is usually collected from the leg tissue into the network of surface veins (on the surface of the muscle) that are associated with deep veins (located in the muscles) of the “joining” veins. As you move, your muscles accumulate and relax, and deep and joined veins spread by sucking blood from the surface veins. All deep and connecting veins have one-way flaps so that the worn blood will not return to the surface veins. Therefore, when the muscles accumulate, deep veins pump blood to the heart.
If, for some reason, the working of the joint veins is impaired, the blood can break through the wrong path, i.e. again in the surface veins responding to increased pressure by spreading and distortion, thus causing varicose (or enlarged) veins – generally visible because they are located at the flaccid tissue just below the skin.
The most common initial symptom is a protruding, bluish, swollen vein on the leg that is visible when you rise. The most common place is the back of the leaf or the inner side of the ankle foot to the groin. Expanded veins can also occur around the anus or in the vagina if you are pregnant. As the vein is widening, it can become sensitive to the touch and the skin above it or on the ankle can itch. The whole leg hurts and your feet swell after a short standing and, in the afternoon, it may seem that your shoes are too tight. In women, these symptoms are more pronounced several days before and during menstruation.
Symptoms do not have to be stronger than described. However, in heavily enlarged veins, reduced blood circulation causes brownish skin disorders (varicose eczema), especially in the ankles.
Varicose veins are very common. Due to this disturbance, one in every 100 people visits the doctor every year. It is three times more common in women than in men. The disorder is usually inherited; about half of all patients have parents with the same discomfort. Some people are born with abnormal venous valves or with a smaller number of valves. Although this usually does not cause disturbance, these people are more inclined to widening of the vein. Especially prone to varicose veins are very tall and very fat people, pregnant women, or people who (due to the nature of their job) stand a lot, but do not move a lot.
Although the enlarged veins are more a problem than the disabling condition, they sometimes cause serious consequences. For example, because of the combination of gravity and the flap failure in joint veins, tissues can get so little blood that the skin will break and create an ulcer. The varicose ulcers will not heal in the veins, that are causing them, are under the pressure.
The other (though rare) danger is threatened by the impact or skin tax above the enlarged vein, because it may cause a serious blood loss. This requires quick medical intervention. The most common illness is inflammation of the vein wall; blood is prone to stiffen on the stems, leading to thrombophlebitis.
What to do?
If you think you are inclined to enlarged veins, and especially if you are a pregnant woman, use the self-help measures described in the section below. If you already have enlarged veins, self-help measures will alleviate the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease; those measures will not help you heal it, therefore surgical treatment is recommended. So, if the problems increase, contact your doctor for advice and assistance. The physician will probably not need special tests to confirm the diagnosis, so a simple procedure with the use of an elastic bandage at the leg can provide a doctor with a clear picture of which joint veins have damaged flaps.
If additional tests are needed, the passage of the vein can be followed by flebography or thermography. Flebography involves dyeing in the varicose vein, and blood flow through the blood stream is seen on the X-ray. During thermography, the temperature of various leg parts is recorded so that a heat chart is obtained. The purpose of these two methods is to detect the exact location of the weak flaps. Thermography takes precedence over flebography because it does not require a contrast agent injection.
Self-help: try to stand less. Whenever you can, sit and raise your feet to the bench. If the symptoms are very uncomfortable, lie down and sit as much as you can and lift your feet above the chest. This will allow good drainage from the ankles and feet. Get elastic belts or rubber socks and put them on your feet before getting up. Some people prefer elastic bandages, but they are difficult to apply (you have to ask a nurse or a doctor to show you how to bandage them, and they may be uncomfortable, especially when it is hot).
If your skin breaks and your blood begins to flow from the enlarged vein, lie down, raise that leg and let your leg stay in that position. Do it no matter where you are, even if in public. The bleeding will slow down immediately, and you can check it by gently pressing clean paper tissue on it. Then, you will need expert medical help to clean and treat wounds and prevent infection.
Do not try to treat varicose ulcers or eczema without expert advice. Do not scratch the itchy spot created by enlarged veins. Scratching can damage the vein even more and lead to ulceration.
Professional help: the doctor can prescribe elastic straps and tights for the vein as well as the cuffs for skin irritation.
Operation is the best way to solve varicose vein problems. All the symptoms of this disorder are remarkably alleviated by surgical vein treatment, and operations, no matter what kind, give good results. The most common form of surgery is simply cutting the veins from the leg. There is no visible scratch because a large part of the vein is removed through thin cut special instruments. The loose joints of the joint veins are permanently closed by latching. The remaining small veins are rapidly increasing in order to take over the function of collecting and channeling blood into deep veins.
Varicose veins can sometimes be treated by injecting small amounts of sclerosing agents into the veins. The walls are inflamed and sealed, and the veins stop delivering blood. Such treatment is usually outpatient, so it will be enough to go to a hospital or clinic two to three times. However, since such treatment has several drawbacks (the injectability is unlikely to be used if theenlarged vein is in the thigh), many doctors prefer to take out the veins. If fewer complaints occur again, it is usually easy to treat it by spraying.
After treatment of varicose veins, surgical or injectable, you will have to wear rubber socks or elastic bandages for about six weeks. You will have to walk as much as you can, but do not stand or sit so that your legs are up.
Varicose veins are returned (usually in another place) to approximately 10% of the treated cases. Even after a successful surgery, varicose veins continue to cause pain.