Varicose veins overview

Varicose veins describe a condition in which the veins become twisted and enlarged, especially in the lower limbs. This is caused by a malfunction of valves in the veins resulting in blood accumulation, hence the characteristic bulging and twisting. The condition is typically asymptomatic although symptoms such as itching, heaviness, and arching can be aggravated by prolonged standing or walking or towards the end of the day. The cause of varicose veins is unknown. Although it can occur during pregnancy and resolve after childbirth. In less common cases they can be due to congenital absence or incompetence of valves in the veins. Predisposing factors include gender (usually female), age, family history, prior pregnancy, standing or sitting for prolonged periods, obesity, and the use of oral contraceptives. Treatment of varicose veins includes the use of compression stockings combined with leg elevation, as well as sclerotherapy or surgery depending on the severity. Sclerotherapy is a procedure in which affected veins are injected with a sodium solution. Surgical intervention involves the ligation and stripping of veins in the legs. Treatment can improve the appearance and symptoms of varicose veins, however it does not prevent new varicose veins from forming.

Varicose veins overview

Review Date: 7/3/2013

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