Unsightly Varicose Veins Are Rarely Desired Features

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Varicose veins are fluid-filled veins that engorge and are visible through the skin. They are mostly on the legs but can also appear on other body parts, such as the arms and around the thighs.

Sometimes, these veins may show up with small bulging bumps that look like blue and violet cords.

It is all because of the return of blood from below the knee back to the heart. The veins in the legs, just like the veins in other parts of the body, help to circulate blood. The valves in these veins keep the blood flowing upward and not draining down into the legs.

However, as you get older, your vein walls will likely start weakening and difficulty working efficiently. It causes your veins to work harder, and the pressure builds up, making you feel a lot of swelling and discomfort.

Causes of Varicose Veins

There’s several risk factors which can cause varicose veins. Some of these include: 

  • Lack of blood circulation in the legs - Fat can collect in the legs if you are not exercising, lying down, or sitting for long hours. Bending a vein outlet also prevents blood flow in and out of the vein.
  • Damage to your leg - Suppose you injure a weak valve when doing something that causes high-stress levels, such as running. If the injury is severe, the valves can damage permanently, causing varicose veins.
  • Obesity - Obesity causes varicose veins because it increases the pressure on the legs. When you gain weight, it increases the strain on veins. After all, more weight on your legs puts pressure on them, and it may damage veins. In addition, if you are overweight, your blood vessels enlarge (this is called vascular engorgement), which can also worsen varicose veins.
  • Stress - It causes varicose veins by making blood vessels tighten. They can't expand and contract as usual when under constant stress.
  • Pregnancy - It causes varicose veins by changing the hormonal balance in a woman's body. A woman's body produces a hormone called relaxin that helps loosen the ligaments in her pelvis to prepare for childbirth. The looseness of the ligaments may cause a bulging vein or veins.
  • Genes - Some people have genes that make their veins more fragile. When the valves in their blood vessels don't close tightly, their blood sometimes backs up and pools in the legs. The blood applies pressure that causes veins to stretch and tear, leading to varicose veins.

Other conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can cause varicose veins.

Prevention and Treatment

Just as there are many different causes of varicose veins, there are quite a few different ways in which they can be treated or prevented from occurring in the first place. Some of these include: 

  • Sclerotherapy is a form of phlebectomy for the treatment of varicose veins. It involves the injection of a chemical irritant into a vein to cause inflammation, which will make the vein collapse over time.
  • Exercise will help strengthen your leg muscles and also benefit your heart, which can help prevent varicose veins.
  • Sit down and raise your legs while you are resting, instead of lying down or standing up. It is because when you are lying down or standing up, you are increasing the pressure on the veins, which can cause them to swell.
  • If the varicose veins are mainly in the leg, put hot compresses. Some people find that putting a hot cloth on the swollen vein for about 10 minutes each day is helpful and will give some relief from the pain in varicose veins.
  • Wear tight-fitting firm nylon stockings to protect your legs from rubbing against shoes to reduce further damage.
  • Have a doctor perform surgery to repair broken or defective valves. However, this process is costly and has some complications because the vein graft will not work as usual.
  • Wear loose clothing to bend and twist when you move around since sometimes strain or pressure on your leg veins may show up even though normal jeans and tights.
  • Laser treatment: In this procedure, a laser stimulates your veins to make them smaller and heal faster. This option works best for varicose veins in one leg that are not causing pain or swelling in the other leg.
  • In addition, you should also reduce alcohol intake. It promotes the clotting of blood, which can result in varicose veins.