Varicose Veins: Signs and Symptoms
What do half of the people in the United States have in common? They will develop spider veins or varicose veins.
These problems often affect those 50 years and older, but they can certainly occur at younger ages. What about gender? Women have a slightly higher chance (50 – 55%) than men (40 – 45%) of developing vein issues during their lifetime. A family history and high blood pressure both raise the risk, but people without these factors may still develop varicose veins.
Early Symptoms & Signs of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins tend to start out with subtle symptoms that worsen over time. Look for visual and sensation warning signs.
- Mild swelling of your ankles and feet.
- Fine veins becoming dark purple or blue.
- Large veins growing darker and easier to see.
- Skin around the veins becoming discolored.
- Veins that appear to twist and bulge under the skin and resemble cords.
- Itching along the veins, especially at the lower leg and ankle area, often misdiagnosed as dry skin.
- An ache, restlessness, or heavy feeling.
- A throbbing sensation, often to your heartbeat.
- Various kinds of pain, ranging from muscle cramping to burning to intense aches alongside raised veins.
- Pain that worsens after you sit or stand for a long period of time.
A Special Case: Varicose Veins in Pregnancy
Pregnancy increases the overall volume of blood in your body, especially in the case of carrying multiples. The extra blood, however, struggles to circulate through the body as the fetus grows and the uterus presses on large veins in the abdomen. Hormone shifts during pregnancy also relax the walls of blood vessels, making them stretchier and more likely to bulge out. Both of these factors set the stage for developing varicose veins in the legs, vulva, and rectal area.
- Keep your legs elevated when you’re sitting.
- Don’t sit with crossed legs – this increases blood pressure even more.
- Move often. Help the blood circulate with light walking a few times a day.
- Wear clothes that don’t pinch or confine.
- Exception: Wearing support hose during the day helps your body clear blood from the legs.
- Gain only a moderate amount of weight during pregnancy.
- Sleep on your left side.
- Don’t strain on the toilet or lift anything heavy.
Will they go away?
In the months directly after delivery, varicose veins may improve in terms of appearance and symptoms, such as pain. Mild cases tend to have the best results for natural healing but, unfortunately, it’s rare for them to disappear completely. Varicose veins are also extremely likely to reoccur in any subsequent pregnancies.
When to See a Varicose Vein Doctor in Utah
People see varicose vein specialists for a variety of reasons. Does any of this sound familiar?
- I keep my legs covered because I hate how those spider veins look.
- The varicose veins started out small, but they’re getting worse.
- My legs hurt all the time and I can’t do the activities I love.
- I have a family history of complications from varicose veins.
- I’m developing skin ulcers on or around my ankles.
- Warning! This is a sign of serious vascular disease. You need medical attention now.
The good news is that there are a variety of treatments for varicose veins, from an annoying discoloration at the back of your calves to painful, rope-like raised veins. Ready to take action? Visit us at the Vein Institute of Utah to schedule a free leg screening, and get started on the path to smooth, pain-free legs.