Varicose veins

Varicose veins (varices) are enlarged veins that most commonly appear in the legs.

Overview

Varicose veins (varices) are enlarged veins that most commonly appear in the legs. During the day they swell up and cause a feeling of heaviness in the legs. Preventive measures include doing regular exercise, avoiding excess weight and wearing support stockings.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • The veins under the skin are visibly enlarged and lumpy
  • Feeling of heaviness in the affected leg
  • Fluid retention and swelling of the leg
    • Mostly at night

Complications

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Congenital weakness of the connective tissue (weakness of vein wall or vein valves)
  • Obesity
  • Standing or sitting down for extended periods
  • Dilation of vein walls caused by hormones during pregnancy
  • After a blood clot (thrombosis) in the deep veins of the leg

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Ultrasound
Possible therapies
  • Compression with bandages or support stockings
  • Shrinking of veins (sclerotherapy) using medication or heat (the affected vein collapses and “sticks together”)
  • Operation (removal of varicose veins)

What can I do myself?

  • Sufficient and regular exercise
  • Wear support stockings
  • No hot baths or heat treatment
  • Rest with the legs up as often as possible
  • Avoid excess weight and prolonged sitting or standing

When to see a doctor?

  • Extensive varicose veins
  • Swollen legs, mainly at night
  • Leg ulcers
  • Lower leg or whole leg swells up, hurts and turns reddish blue (possible thrombosis!)

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Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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