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What Causes Varicose Veins

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are veins that look swollen or enlarged. If you have varicose veins, you may be wondering where they come from. Varicose veins are fairly common. Around 20% of adults get varicose veins at some point in their lives. Not everyone is aware of what causes varicose veins though. It’s important to know about varicose veins and what causes them, which is why we’ve enlisted the help of Veincare of Arizona, a vein specialist in Sun City West, Arizona.

What Are Varicose Veins?

According to WebMD, varicose veins are bulging twisted veins that appear just under your skin’s surface. With varicose veins, you may also have spider veins. These are flooded capillaries. Spider veins may be found near varicose veins.

Most people with varicose veins have them in their legs and feet. They are rarely seen anywhere else in the body. Varicose veins are most common with superficial veins. These veins have less muscle. Deeper veins rarely become varicose.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Blood flows through your veins. There are valves that open so that your blood can flow through. After the blood flows through, they close. If you have varicose veins, the valves do not function correctly. Blood may collect in the veins. It can be challenging for your blood to flow in an upward direction too.

This all increases the pressure and causes congestion in your veins. Then, your veins may bulge, twist, and swell.

Varicose veins may be caused by:

  • Conditions that put pressure on the legs
  • Obesity
  • Tumors
  • Chronic constipation
  • Frequent standing
  • Pregnancy
  • Previous leg injuries

You are more likely to get varicose veins as you age. This is due to your veins weakening with age.

If your family members have varicose veins, there is a chance you will as well. Genetics influence whether you have varicose veins. Women are more than twice as likely as men to have varicose veins.

How Are Varicose Veins Diagnosed?

If you think you have varicose veins, you should go to the doctor. They can give you a diagnosis, suggestions, and treatment options. This is the best way to reduce your varicose vein symptoms. You can also prevent your varicose veins from worsening.

Varicose veins are diagnosed with a physical exam. Your doctor will look at your legs as you stand. They will check for any signs of swelling. You will also have to talk about any possible symptoms you may be having.

Sometimes, doctors will give you an ultrasound. This allows the doctor to look for blood clots and to check vein function.

What Are Common Varicose Vein Symptoms?

There are several common symptoms of varicose veins. You may not have all these symptoms though. For most people, the symptoms worsen in warm weather or later in the day. Standing for long periods of time can worsen the symptoms.

The symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Aching in legs
  • Itchy skin
  • Discomfort in legs
  • Swollen feet, legs, or ankles
  • Leg fatigue
  • Throbbing
  • Muscle cramps

Are Varicose Veins Painful?

According to Medical News Today, one cause of leg pain is varicose veins. This is a fairly common cause of leg pain. The pain feels heavy or like an ache.

Some people don’t have any symptoms aside from the appearance of the veins. You may not have pain if you have varicose veins.

How Can You Prevent Varicose Veins?

According to Healthline, you can’t prevent varicose veins entirely. There are several ways to prevent them from worsening. Staying healthy keeps your veins healthy too. Here are some ways to prevent varicose veins from worsening:

  1. Wear compression socks or hosiery
  2. Eat a healthy diet to prevent obesity
  3. Avoid sitting or standing for too long
  4. Exercise, such as walking, swimming, cycling, or yoga

Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

There are several ways to treat varicose veins. First, you should try these treatment options:

  • Exercise/weight loss
  • Compression socks or hosiery
  • Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • Elevate your legs

If those don’t work, you will need to get medical help. Your doctor can recommend a treatment option for you. Depending on the severity of your varicose veins, one treatment may work better than the others. For most people, a hospital stay is not required. You will likely recover quickly and easily.

These are some common varicose vein treatment options:

  • Laser treatment
  • Sclerotherapy
  • High ligation and vein stripping
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy
  • Endoscopic vein surgery


Varicose veins occur when the valves do not function properly. This affects blood flow. It can cause pooling in the veins. Varicose veins are not entirely preventable. They can be stopped from getting worse though. Varicose veins can be easily diagnosed by a doctor. There are many treatment options available too.