Varicose veins in the legs, symptoms and treatment

What is it? Varicose veins are a disease in which the veins are affected and thinned. The main distinguishing feature is the formation of "nodes" in the vessels of the venous connection.

Over time they fill with blood clots, which pose a serious danger to humans. In some cases, varicose veins can be accompanied by inflammation of the vascular wall.

The main reasons: factors and risks

why varicose veins occur

The causes of varicose veins have not been definitively specified and concretized by medical science. However, there are reliably known predisposing factors that can significantly increase the likelihood of developing this pathology:

  • lack of mobility;
  • smoking and drinking;
  • hyperglycemia;
  • atherosclerosis;
  • genetic background;
  • overweight.

Among the predisposing factors, inactivity stands out, especially during the day, as the primary cause that leads to varicose veins. This factor is more significant for people with sedentary jobs: drivers, cashiers, government officials and IT technicians. The list could go on and on, as the share of people professionally engaged in sedentary work has increased.

Alcohol and tobacco smoke lead to an increase in the diameter of the venous vessels, creating the conditions for the development of varicose veins in the legs. The causes of the disease also lie in a person's genetic background.

This factor, unlike others, cannot be changed and patients cannot influence it. According to statistics, many people have a genetic predisposition to varicose veins.

Therefore, they need particularly careful care of their body, paying close attention to modifiable factors. Patients with a genetic history of varicose veins should definitely stop smoking, alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle.

An excess of sugar in the blood, not metabolized by the liver into glycogen, can further damage veins and arteries. Patients with diabetes mellitus are at risk for varicose veins.

Cholesterol deposits on blood vessel walls have a similar effect. It is especially pronounced in deep veins, as superficial ones are less susceptible to atherosclerosis. The latter condition is facilitated by an irrational and unbalanced diet, with a predominance of animal fats and a lack of vegetable fibers.

The causes of varicose veins become particularly significant in the case of overweight, increasing the load on the heart. It leads to a slowdown in blood circulation, especially in the lower limbs. In addition, obesity is accompanied by an increase in intra-abdominal pressure and this is the background for the development of stagnant processes in the venous vessels.

Symptoms of varicose veins in the legs

signs and symptoms of varicose veins

The first signs of varicose veins can be seen towards the end of the day - they manifest themselves with swelling of the legs, which is usually preceded by a prolonged period of standing or walking. As a rule, after a night of sleep, the swelling disappears completely. However, in the advanced stages, it becomes persistent and persists, regardless of the time of day.

The presence of localized edematous syndrome on the legs and ankles can be independently controlled. For this, the circumference is measured at the level of the ankle joint twice a day:

  • after waking up
  • before going to sleep.

If the differences are 1 cm or more, this confirms the existing disorders of the venous outflow and such people should consult a phlebologist. In the early stages of the disease, these symptoms quickly disappear after the person has been in a horizontal position for several hours.

The onset of the progression of varicose veins is characterized by the appearance of nodes that protrude above the surface of the skin. They can be single or multiple. Most often, they are detected from the inner surface of the legs and thighs.

Standing or walking for a long time, as well as sitting for a long time, leads to new symptoms of varicose veins in the legs:

  • fullness, especially in calves;
  • feeling of heaviness in the legs;
  • their rapid fatigue;
  • acute or aching pain, more pronounced in the areas of varicose veins;
  • cramps that develop in the calf muscles, especially in the evening and also during sleep.

The occurrence of convulsive contractions is associated with metabolic disturbances. The prerequisite for this is the development of venous stasis. In the background, the tissues experience a state of hypoxia, which leads to increased muscle convulsive readiness.

Therefore, if a person has seizures, Doppler ultrasound is definitely indicated. With the help of him, the state of the venous connection in the body is assessed, since varicose veins in the initial stages can be asymptomatic.

Clinical symptoms of varicose veins, photo

clinical symptoms of varicose veins

Clinical symptoms of varicose veins in the legs help suggest this diagnosis. Therefore, we summarize them:

  • pain in the legs when walking;
  • painful sensations detected by palpation of inflamed veins;
  • general pain in the lower limbs;
  • evening and night muscle cramps;
  • feeling of a feeling of heaviness and fullness in the lower limbs, especially in the ankle area;
  • Visually defined convolute veins with varicose veins - arise above the level of the skin (this symptom is determined only with a superficial form of the disease, with deep veins it is not possible to identify this symptom);
  • swelling of the legs (with varicose veins they decrease in a horizontal position, unlike other diseases).

Treatment of varicose veins

Treatment of varicose veins in the legs should be carried out comprehensively, including non-drug methods and drug correction. When indications arise, surgical intervention is performed. These are the general principles for helping patients with varicose veins.

From non-drug methods, it is recommended to wear special pantyhose, bandages or elastic stockings for this disease. They create the compression needed to keep the veins in good shape. Blood flows more easily to the heart and venous congestion is eliminated. Under such conditions, the vascular wall cannot expand with the subsequent formation of nodes.

Physical activity plays a significant curative and preventive role, which helps prevent disease progression:

how to treat varicose veins
  • walking briskly;
  • gymnastics;
  • various water activities;
  • to swim.

However, not all physical exercises can be recommended for varicose veins. Patients with this diagnosis should exclude sports exercises with a heavy load on the legs:

  • weight lifting;
  • tennis;
  • skip.

The next stage of treatment is drug correction. The choice of drug is carried out by the doctor. Prescribed drugs are divided into several groups:

  1. Regulators of venous tone - venotonic drugs.
  2. Medicines that help prevent dangerous blood clots.
  3. Anticoagulants, including ointments based on them.

Surgical treatment of varicose veins

In case of ineffectiveness of drug therapy, surgical treatment is indicated. It consists in the removal of pathologically altered veins or in the introduction of solutions that allow the walls of a varicose vessel to be glued together (sclerotherapy).

Surgical treatment of the disease is characterized by high efficiency. However, you shouldn't forget about operational risk. For example, obese people have a higher rate than thin people. The duration of the operation also plays an important role in determining the operational risk: the shorter the operation, the less chance of thrombus formation. Therefore, it is very important to choose a highly qualified surgeon who removes the veins quickly and skillfully.

Modern phlebology has various methods of surgery for varicose veins. The choice in favor of one or the other is determined by a specific clinical case. In this case, the doctor must take into account the following factors:

methods of treatment of varicose veins
  • there are complications of the disease;
  • what are the concomitant diseases;
  • what is the degree of operational risk for the patient;
  • how likely a relapse is and so on.

The most common techniques are:

  1. Phlebectomy- surgery for varicose legs, which involves the removal of pathologically altered veins. This intervention was performed for the first time at the dawn of the 20th century. It is quite effective and is still used, but with some improvements. Today's clinic performs phlebectomy according to various modifications, depending on the author who made the modification. This surgery can be performed on both large and superficial vessels of small diameter. To remove the vein, a small incision is made in the skin and the affected vessel is removed through it through a probe.
  2. Minimally invasive techniques- involve coagulation with electric current or the use of freezing with liquid nitrogen. Recently, laser therapy has been widely used. It has fewer side effects, is more effective, and is technically simpler. Its main drawback is its high cost.

Folk remedies for the treatment of varicose veins

At home, folk remedies are used to relieve symptoms and treat varicose veins in the legs, enhance the effect of drug therapy prescribed by a doctor. The following tools might be recommended:

  • Nettle.The leaves of the plant are dried. After that, boil the water in a volume of 500 ml and fill them. Better to do it in a thermos. The infusion time is about half an hour. Using a sieve, filter and take a third part three times a day 50 minutes before meals.
  • Apple cider vinegar.Improves the activity of coagulating and anticoagulant systems, helps normalize the state of blood vessels. To achieve a therapeutic effect, they are lubricated with lesions twice a day, and also taken orally at the rate of 2 teaspoons of vinegar per glass of water. You need to drink 2 to 3 glasses a day.
  • Fresh potatoesis ​​ideal for accelerating the healing of trophic ulcers formed against the background of a long history of varicose veins. To do this, rub it on a grater and apply the resulting gruel on the ulcer defect with a 1 cm thick layer, covering it with a bandage on top. Exposure should be 4-5 hours. After that, the gruel is replaced with a new one or the bandage is moistened with freshly obtained potato juice.
  • White acacia flowers- prepare a tincture used externally. It is particularly effective for thrombophlebitis (inflammation of a thrombosed vein). The affected areas are abundantly lubricated and rubbed.
  • Hop cones.Approximate calculation: 1 tablespoon of crushed raw materials and 200 ml of boiling water. Heat in a steam bath for 15 minutes. Take 1 glass three times during the day before meals. Local therapy is also performed: in the places where the veins are most affected, a compress is made (gauze soaked in the prepared infusion).
  • Kalanchoe Leaves- prepare a tincture. To do this, take a half-liter bottle, fill it with chopped leaves up to half, fill it with vodka or 40% alcohol to the upper limit. Insist for a week indoors without direct sunlight, shaking from time to time. Then filter. Rub the tincture on your legs before bed, paying particular attention to the affected areas. It is best to do this with massaging movements in the direction from the bottom up, that is, in the direction of the venous outflow. The duration of treatment with this remedy is 4 months (after loading, the pain in the legs should noticeably decrease).
  • Cabbage.Peel off a sheet and roll it up tightly with a rolling pin. On the one hand, which will be applied to the affected area, grease it with vegetable oil. Fix with a bandage for a day. This is an excellent remedy for thrombophlebitis. The course of therapy is 1 month.
  • Celandine.The tincture of the plant should be consumed three times a day, 10 drops diluted in 1 tablespoon of milk. Take before meals.

Which doctor should I contact?

Not all people know which doctor to contact when they detect signs of varicose veins. Previously, therapists were involved in the treatment of this pathology, and when complications appeared, surgeons. However, the development of medicine contributed to the award of a special specialty - phlebology, which is "derived" from angiology (the science of blood vessels).

Phlebologists intentionally study only veins, not all vessels. But this does not mean that, if necessary, they will not be able to establish the correct diagnosis, excluding other diseases. These are specialists with a broad perspective, but who target the veins.


The prevention of varicose veins aims to eliminate modifiable risk factors. Therefore we recommend:

  • increase physical activity;
  • stop smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages;
  • to reduce weight in case of overweight;
  • normalize nutrition by eliminating atherogenic foods;
  • reduces the amount of sugary foods in the diet.