Believe it or not, varicose veins are more common than you may think. A condition that most often occurs in the legs, varicose veins are veins that have become twisted and enlarged. In more severe cases, it is possible that vascular surgery will be necessary to fix the issue, relieve the pain that you are experiencing, and restore your overall comfort as well as mobility. However, vascular surgery is always a last resort, and prior to going the surgical route, it is beneficial to have some background on varicose veins—how they form, symptoms of the conditions, etc. Read on to learn more.
How Do Varicose Veins Form?
The veins in your body have valves that help to ensure that blood flows properly. It is possible for these valves to break down, and when they do, blood begins to flow backward, resulting in buildup. As a result, pressure exerts on the vein's walls—walls that are likely already weak as a result of medical issues or age. Once the walls start bulging with the blood, the vein becomes knotted and is known as a varicose vein.
What Are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?
As long as you have mild to moderate varicose veins, you likely won't experience any pain. Instead, you will have other symptoms that will let you know that you have the condition. The most common sign is visibly large, thick, twisted, or swollen veins that tend to be purple or blue. You may also have swollen or heavy feet, ankles, and legs. The skin around the varicose veins may often become itchy or dry or appear to be red or irritated.
Is Surgery Needed?
As a general rule, surgery is not necessary. Most varicose vein cases don't warrant surgery. Instead, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and compression garments can be utilized as treatment. In some cases, minimally invasive vascular procedures like chemical, heat, and laser treatments can be used to remove painful or troublesome veins.
In extreme cases, you may experience burning sensations or pain. In the event that the varicose vein gets cut, it may be extremely difficult to bring the bleeding to a stop due to the compromised ability of the blood to clot. The sores and wounds around this area are often very slow to heal.
When the veins become particularly unsightly or life-limiting, some individuals will opt to undergo vascular surgery, which will close the vein off by inhibiting blood flow. Once the procedure has been completed, the vein typically begins to fade within several weeks.