Signs of Varicose Veins

Have you been wondering if the bulging veins in your legs could mean that you have venous insufficiency? Dr. Scott Grover of Cache Valley Surgical Consultants can offer a diagnosis and recommend helpful treatments if you are diagnosed with venous insufficiency.

What causes bad veins?

Blood normally flows through your veins in one direction, thanks to tiny valves that open and close. If the veins are weak and damaged, the valves don't close completely, which allows blood to pool in the veins of your legs. This is called venous insufficiency. This problem can lead to noticeable changes in your veins. Over time, they may enlarge and twist and cause problems with your legs.

What are the symptoms of venous insufficiency?

  • Blue Varicose Veins - usually bulging - can make you feel self-conscious about the way your legs appear
  • Swelling in your legs, feet, or ankles
  • A full or heavy feeling in your legs
  • Achiness or itching
  • Restless leg syndrome, a condition that causes a crawling sensation that makes you want to move your legs
  • Leg cramps
  • Dry or thicker skin
  • Skin color changes
  • Ulcers on your legs

Who gets venous insufficiency?

Your risk of developing venous insufficiency may increase due to:

  • Age: As you get older, the valves in your veins naturally weaken.
  • Family History: You may be more likely to develop varicose veins if other people in your family have had them.
  • Hormones: If you're female, your varicose veins could be caused by changing hormone levels during pregnancy or menopause. Using hormonal birth control methods could also increase your risk.
  • Extra Weight: Additional weight stresses your veins and can be a factor in varicose veins. You may notice varicose veins during pregnancy or if you struggle to control your weight.
  • Blood Clots: People who've had blood clots in their legs are at increased risk for varicose veins.
  • Your Habits: Sitting or standing for long periods of time also increases your varicose vein risk. Lack of Physical Activity or being sedentary increases your risk.  
  • Leg Injury:  Trauma to your leg(s) can cause vein valves to stop functioning properly.
  • Pregnancy: As the uterus enlarges with pregnancy, it can put pressure on the veins which slow the blood return from the legs.

How is venous insufficiency treated?

During your visit, recommendations for treatments and strategies are discussed. Wearing compression stockings and limiting the time you spend sitting or standing can be helpful, as can exercising, elevating your legs, and taking over-the-counter pain medications. If these measures don't help, your surgeon may recommend a treatment or procedure that closes or removes the problem veins. Insurance companies require a 90 day trial of conservative therapy which includes the things listed above. They are very stringent on 90 days of compression stockings, elevation, and use of an NSAID - Ibuprogen type medication for pain.  

Do you need help with your leg veins? Call Dr. Grover of Cache Valley Surgical Consultants, at (435) 752-7122 to make your appointment.

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