Varicose Veins: Causes, Symptoms, and When to Seek Treatment

Varicose Veins: Causes, Symptoms, and When to Seek Treatment

North Atlanta Vascular Clinic and Vein Center


Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging, and twisted purplish or bluish veins that occur mainly in the legs. The veins that are dilated and swelled up with pooled blood are not usually considered a severe medical concern but can be unsightly and cause you discomfort and embarrassment. However, an evaluation of your varicose veins by vein experts is important as their health complications include non-healing leg ulcers and blood clot formation.
This blog discusses the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for varicose veins, along with several preventive measures, to help you understand the disorder better and receive the right treatment for your condition.

Who Is Likely to Have Varicose Veins?

You are more likely to have varicose veins if you have a family history of the condition. However, you are at a higher risk of developing varicose veins if you are:

  • Older or above 50 years
  • Overweight or obese
  • Female 
  • Mostly inactive
  • Stand for extended periods
  • Have a leg injury
  • Pregnant
  • Smoke
  • Undergo hormone replacement therapy
  • Take oral contraceptive pills

How Common Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are a common condition, affecting nearly 35% of all adults in the United States and up to 3 in 10 adults. This condition is more often seen among women than in men.

What Are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are visible as they form close to the skin’s surface. If you have the condition, you may see the following symptoms:

  • Change in skin color to dark purple or blue
  • Swollen and cord-like twisted veins
  • Sores on the legs
  • Rashes

You may also experience the following:

  • Heaviness, discomfort, or aching sensation in the legs
  • Muscle cramping, especially at night
  • Throbbing and burning feeling
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Heightened pain after sitting or standing for long
  • Itching around the affected veins.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Increased blood pressure in the veins due to valve malfunctioning causes varicose veins. The one-way valves in the veins prevent the blood from flowing backward. However, when the valves become weak or damaged, the blood pools in the veins instead of continuing toward the heart. The increased pressure within the veins causes them to enlarge or twist.
The veins in the legs are the most distant from the heart. Due to the gravitational force, it becomes more difficult for these veins to pump blood upwards, resulting in blood pooling in the lower extremities. So, varicose veins are seen mostly in the legs.

How Are Varicose Veins Diagnosed?

To diagnose varicose veins, your doctor:

  • Performs a physical examination in which they examine the swelling in the legs while you stand. They also ask you to describe the symptoms, including the intensity of pain and other sensations that you may be experiencing.
  • Do a venous ultrasound test of the leg. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to check the blood flow through the veins and detect any blood clots or blockages.

What Is the Treatment for Varicose Veins?

Depending on the condition, size, and symptoms of your varicose veins, your doctor may recommend the following treatment options:

Lifestyle Changes

To prevent the worsening of your varicose veins or the formation of new ones, your doctor may suggest a few lifestyle changes, including:

  • Lose weight if you have weight concerns 
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Do regular exercise to boost your blood circulation
  • Avoid standing for a long period at a stretch
  • Keep your legs raised while sitting or lying down

Compression Stockings

These are a type of specialized elastic socks that squeeze the veins and improve blood flow to the heart. This helps to prevent the blood from pooling in the veins. Regular use of compression stockings reduces pain and swelling in the affected area.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

Several minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins are available. They include:

  • Sclerotherapy: Use of salt or chemical injection to close a larger vein
  • Microphlebectomy: Use of special tools to remove varicose veins
  • Laser Treatment: Use of laser energy is used to block off the vein
  • Endovenous Ablation Therapy: Use of radiofrequency and heat to destroy the vein
  • Endoscopic Vein Surgery: Use of a small lit scope that is inserted through a small incision to block the vein


If your varicose vein condition is extremely painful and adversely affects your overall well-being, your doctor may perform the high-liability and vein-stripping surgical procedure. You will be administered anesthesia. The procedure involves tying off the vein where it joins a deeper vein and then removing it through several incisions made on the skin. 

How to Prevent Varicose Veins?

Ensuring proper blood circulation through the veins can help prevent varicose veins. You can do so by:

  • Not wearing high heels or tight stockings
  • Changing your body position more often
  • Not crossing legs while sitting
  • Putting your legs up while sitting
  • Heating healthy and balanced meals
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Not wearing tight clothes

Final Thoughts

Varicose veins are a common condition that develops when the valves in the veins become weak or are damaged, leading to enlarged and twisted veins that are visible through the skin. While it may be a cosmetic concern for many, varicose veins can cause pain and discomfort and, in some cases, lead to more severe health complications. However, with the right diagnosis and treatment and some lifestyle modifications, you can live a fuller and everyday life.

Get the Best Varicose Vein Treatment at North Atlanta Vascular Clinic & Vein Center

North Atlanta Vascular Clinic & Vein Center has been providing exceptional vascular care in Suwanee/Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Cumming, and Lawrenceville, GA, for over a decade. Our expert team of fellowship-trained physicians offers the most advanced diagnostic and treatment options for various vascular and venous disorders, including varicose veins.
Contact us today to learn more about our varicose vein treatments or to book an appointment.


North Atlanta Vascular Clinic and Vein Center

North Atlanta Vascular Clinic is a vascular surgery center located in Suwanee, Cumming, Alpharetta, and Lawrenceville, Georgia. Our vein disease specialists offer a comprehensive examination that includes a physical examination, review of your symptoms, and discussion of your medical history. We use advanced venography techniques and provide effective treatment for several health conditions like DVT, Spider Veins, Leg Cramps, MTS, and more. Contact us to get accurate diagnosis and treatment for all your vascular diseases.

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