Varicose Veins: Symptoms and Treatment

What causes varicose veins? Read on to learn the varicose veins symptoms to look out for and the treatment options available to you.


What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins beneath the surface of the skin. They most commonly develop in the legs and ankles. 

Normally, the one-way valves in these veins keep the blood flowing efficiently against gravity up towards the heart. Varicose veins develop when there are faulty valves in the veins and weakened vein walls. When these valves do not function properly, blood pools and pressure builds up, weakening the veins and causing them to get enlarged and twisted. 

Varicose veins are a common condition. Some people may be more likely to develop varicose veins because of inherited characteristics (genetics), ageing and hormonal changes. Varicose veins may also result from conditions that increase pressure on the leg veins, such as being overweight or pregnant, or having an occupation that requires standing for long periods of time. 

Sometimes, varicose veins may cause pain, skin ulcers, blood clots or other problems. 

Varicose Veins: Getting Diagnosed

Your doctor will examine your legs and feet. Varicose veins are easy to see, especially when you are standing. If a problem with the deep veins or complications are suspected based on your symptoms and examination, the simplest test uses only a blood pressure cuff. If further examination is required, an ultrasound study, like the Doppler ultrasound, may be performed. 

Varicose Veins Symptoms

Patients will experience no discomfort but may be concerned about the appearance of the veins. Varicose veins are visible through the skin and appear dark blue, swollen and twisted. Some may experience distending discomfort, tiredness, swelling and pain in the leg. Symptoms may worsen after standing or sitting for long periods of time. Varicose veins can also cause darkening of skin, dry, thickened skin, open sores (ulcerations), inflammation (thrombophlebitis) or bleeding. 

Varicose Veins Treatment

The goal of varicose veins treatment is to reduce symptoms and prevent long-term complications. 

Treatment will be advised by your doctor based on your condition.
Non-surgical: exercise, wearing compression stockings and elevating legs
Surgery: ligation and stripping (Open Surgery)
Endovenous laser treatment or radiofrequency ablation
Laparoscopic perforator surgery (keyhole surgery)


Read these brochures for more information about Varicose Veins Treatment - in English, 中文


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