Categories: Vascular Surgery

Symptoms of Varicose Veins: How Is It Diagnosed?

Before we talk about the symptoms of varicose veins, it’s important to understand what varicose veins are. Well, they are swollen, enlarged, and twisted veins, which often appear dark purple or blue over the skin. Such a condition occurs when the faulty valves in your veins don’t let blood flow in the right direction. Instead, they facilitate the flow of blood in the wrong way. Let us discuss more the varicose veins causes, symptoms and treatment.

Here are some important facts regarding varicose veins:

  • Did you know that pregnant women are more exposed to varicose veins?
  • Varicose symptoms might include swollen ankles, aching legs, and spider veins.
  • Overweight people face an increased risk of developing symptoms of varicose veins in the legs.

What Causes Veins Swelling?

In simple words, varicose veins are large, swollen veins that mostly appear on the feet and legs. This condition generally happens when the internal valves inside the veins stop working properly, causing a reversal in the blood flow. And since the blood isn’t circulating properly, some portion of it gets stored in the veins, which causes them to swell and appear dark in colour. If you notice dark blue veins in legs, that’s probably a sign of vein swelling in the leg.

In general scenarios, veins don’t require any treatment. However, in case you start noticing the signs and symptoms of varicose veins, it must be carefully dealt with. They might start swelling and aching, leading to considerable discomfort. Under such circumstances, visit your doctor and opt for a suitable treatment option.

In a more serious scenario, the varicose vein might rupture or transform into ulcers, which, if happens, demands proper treatment.

Early Symptoms of Varicose Veins

For proper treatment to happen, it is important to detect the varicose veins early signs. However, surprisingly, in most cases, you wouldn’t feel any pain. Instead, you might notice the following early-stage varicose veins symptoms:

  • Veins appear to be swollen, twisted, and lumpy (veins swelling)
  • Green veins in legs(it can also happen in other body parts)
  • An ache in legs
  • Legs might feel heavy
  • Even a minor injury in or around the affected area might lead to longer bleeding
  • Lipodermatosclerosis: Under such a scenario, the fat residing under the skin above the ankle becomes hard, which in turn, leads to the shrinking of the skin
  • Varicose veins itch
  • Swollen ankles
  • Telangiectasia (spider veins)
  • Shiny skin discolouration around the area affected by varicose veins
  • Venous eczema
  • Suffering individuals might experience leg cramps while standing up suddenly
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Some irregular whitish patches might appear at the ankles


Remember that the veins that are situated farthest from the heart are most often affected by such a condition. In this case, it is the veins in your legs that are affected the most. The reason is that due to gravity, proper blood circulation from the feet to the heart is often an issue. Additionally, any such condition that generates pressure on your abdomen might cause varicose veins. For instance, constipation, tumours, and pregnancy might lead to the development of varicose veins in some people.

Risk Factors

Although numerous research reports have been published globally, so far, there hasn’t been a clear indication of why exactly varicose veins happen. In many situations, such a condition might happen without any clear reason. However, there are several risk factors that you must be aware of to stay alert.

Here are some of the risk factors:

  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Age over 50
  • Standing for prolong periods
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis

Gender: Varicose veins often affect women more than what it does to males. Consuming birth control pills or undergoing hormone therapy (HT) might also contribute to the condition.

Genetics: Varicose veins might be a familiar condition but can skip generations.

Specific Jobs: Certain jobs put pressure on certain parts of the body. Individuals who are associated with such job profiles where they are required to stand for a long period might end up getting affected by varicose veins.

Complications Related to the Situation

Whenever there’s a lack of proper blood flow, chances are high that there would be certain complications. In the case of varicose veins, they mostly don’t show any complications.

However, depending on the condition, certain complications might be experienced, like:

  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • inflammation
  • Chronic venous insufficiency: In this condition, the skin does not properly exchange nutrients, oxygen, and waste with the blood due to weak blood flow.

Diagnosis and Treatment

As soon as you start noticing the symptoms of varicose veins, consider visiting your doctor without delay. Here are the tests you might require undergoing:

  • Doppler test
  • Colour duplex ultrasound scan

Depending on the result found through these tests, your doctor would prescribe you treatment procedures.

Sometimes if there is damage to veins with clot formation, a CT Venogram or a formal Venogram may be required

Dr. Prasenjit Sutradhar | Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Bommasandra, Bangalore

Narayana Health

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