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Do Varicose Veins Hurt?
In a word, yes! The feeling patients have from varicose vein conditions can vary greatly; some individuals have little or no discomfort, while others suffer a reduced quality of life from the pain and discomfort. On the surface, varicose veins may be tender to the touch or the pain may be more insidious. The first step is to realize that ignoring this pain is not in your best interest because the pain may represent trouble with your circulation. A vein specialist can evaluate your symptoms and determine if additional testing is warranted to evaluate venous insufficiency.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins occur when the veins (most commonly in the legs) become enlarged and overfilled with blood. The condition affects approximately 30 percent of all adults with a greater presence in women. Symptoms may include the following:
- Leg pain
- Leg cramps
- Skin discoloration or leg ulcerations
In severe cases, ulcers form over diseased veins that can become infected or bleed. It is just as important to be aware that varicose veins are not always visible but the symptoms and adverse effects are no different. Because of the serious consequences of untreated venous insufficiency, varicose veins warrant appropriate evaluation at a vein clinic.
What Causes the Condition?
Blood is returned to the heart by a network of veins throughout the body. There are both superficial and deep veins within this network, however, it is the superficial veins in our legs that are most prone to disease. Within these veins, blood is prevented from flowing backwards due to muscle function and valves. When the valves in your veins become dysfunctional due to one of many factors listed below, blood accumulates in the legs. As a result, the veins can become swollen, enlarged, and painful. Here are the potential risk factors for varicose veins:
- Genetic predisposition
- Standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time
While some of these risk factors are set (like family history), others can be managed with early attention. If you are concerned about varicose veins or have already started to experience symptoms, it is wise to make lifestyle changes in consultation with your vascular specialist.
So What Cause Varicose Veins to Hurt?
As blood accumulates in the varicose veins in the legs, they enlarge further and stretch the nerves inside. This leads to the aching, pain, or throbbing characteristic many patient’s experiences in their legs.
Accumulated blood also clots easier and this results in inflammation within the veins. This is commonly referred to as phlebitis and causes pain and irritation in the legs. Visible signs of phlebitis include tender, hot or redness over palpable veins. Phlebitis is a warning sign of more advanced varicose vein disease and should be properly addressed for underlying venous insufficiency. Until you can fix the root of your pain, your symptoms may continue to get worse. Treating underlying venous insufficiency can help reroute blood flow to healthy veins, in order to improve overall leg circulation.
What Are Your Varicose Vein Pain Treatment Options?
There are a few ways that people try to minimize painful symptoms:
- Compression stockings
- Exercising regularly to promote healthy circulation
- Avoiding sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time
- Weight loss
- Elevating the legs (even at work)
While these conservative measures will not eliminate varicose veins, they will help relieve symptoms. However, if the symptoms continue, then you should see a vein doctor to assess the significance of your condition. A duplex ultrasound may be advised to look for underlying venous insufficiency and help plan medically necessary treatments.
To schedule a consultation with an experienced varicose vein specialist, get in touch with the Princeton Vascular Center today. Our vein doctors are recognized leaders in the field of diagnosing and treating vein disease. For your convenience, the Princeton Vascular Center has multiple state-of-the-art facilities across NJ to eliminate varicose veins and cure chronic venous insufficiency.