Varicose veins are swollen, twisted, or stretched superficial veins seen just under the surface of the skin. These veins most often develop on the legs and pelvic area, but they also can develop in other parts of the body such as oesophagus, womb (uterus), vagina, and rectum (back passage).It is a common condition which does not always cause symptoms. People, who do not have any symptoms or discomfort, do not need treatment. Cases with symptoms, or complications should consult a doctor.
[Read: Symptoms of Varicose Veins]
Consult a doctor if you have symptoms such as:
- pain in legs
- feeling heavy and uncomfortable in the legs
- swelling of feet and ankles
- burning or throbbing sensation in the legs
- muscle cramp in the legs, (which is usually worse at night)
- dry, itchy and thin skin in the affected leg over the veins
- skin over the varicose veins appears red, swollen or tender and warm to the touch
- swelling and pain in your calf after sitting or standing for an long time
- changes in skin color or pigmentation of skin around the ankles and lower legs.
Consult a doctor as soon as possible if you experience the following symptoms:
- Leg Ulcers: This is one of the commonest and most troublesome complications of varicose veins. The usually develop several years after varicose veins starts and are most often seen in the elderly. Treatment of ulcer (open sore) is usually prolonged (may need several weeks or often many months) of care to heal. Besides treatment your doctor will also try to rule out other possible cause for the ulcer such as arterial diseases, diabetes.
- Profuse bleeding: Varicose veins are formed due to disease of the superficial veins (veins just under the skin). The swollen, twisted, or stretched veins are at risk of bleeding after bumping or scratching. The bleeding can be profuse and difficult to stop. Consult your doctor immediately if the bleeding does not stop.
- Sudden swelling or pain in legs: If your leg becomes swollen and painful abruptly consult your doctor immediately as it may be due to formation of blood clot in a deep vein (deep vein thrombosis). Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition and needs prompt attention.
Who to consult: Varicose veins can be diagnosed, treated and monitored for complications by family medicine doctors, and general practitioners.
If you need minimally invasive procedures or surgery you will be referred to:
- Vascular surgeon (a doctor who specializes in surgery of blood vessel problems)
- Plastic surgeon.
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