What is it?

Varicose veins, also known as varicoses or varicosities, is a condition in which your veins become enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood.
Varicose veins occur when veins aren’t functioning properly. Veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves fail, blood begins to collect in the veins rather than continuing toward your heart, and the veins then enlarge. Varicose veins often affect the legs.
Some potential causes for varicose veins include: pregnancy, menopause, age over 50, standing for long periods of time, obesity, family history of varicose veins.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Varicoses
- Esophageal Varices with Bleeding
- Esophageal Varices Without Bleeding
- Vulval Varices
- Leg Varicosity with Ulcer
- Stasis ulcer
- Varicose ulcer
- Varicose ulcer of calf
- Varicose ulcer of ankle
- Varicose ulcer of foot
- Varicose ulcer of heel
- Varicose ulcer of midfoot
- Varicose ulcer of thigh
- Sublingual Varices
- Pelvic Varices
- Leg Varicosity with Inflammation

Signs & symptoms

Varicose veins typically appear swollen and raised, and have a bluish-purple or red color. They are often painful.
In severe cases, the veins can bleed significantly, and ulcers can form.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will likely examine your legs and visible veins. They may ask you about any pain or symptoms you’re having.
Your doctor might also order some imaging tests, including a duplex ultrasound that shows blood flow in your vessels, or a venogram (a procedure in which an x-ray of the veins is taken after a special dye is injected into them).

Treatment

treatment may include:
* lifestyle modifications, such as: lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, avoid standing for extended periods of time, exercise to improve circulation and elevate your legs while sitting or lying down.
* compression stockings: These special elastic stockings apply pressure at your leg and help improve blood flow.
* In more severe cases, further intervention might be suggested. The options include: ligation and stripping (surgical removal of the vein), sclerotherapy (chemical injection to block off a vein), endothermal ablation (treatment where heat is used to seal affected veins), laser surgery and more.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

Learn more about our editorial process for content accuracy.

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