Varicose veins in the legs - causes, symptoms and treatment

Varicose veins or varicose veins (from the Latin varicis - "swelling") is a disease of the blood vessels of the lower extremities, in which the outflow of blood is disrupted due to dysfunction of the venous valves: the veins dilate, dilate, begin to dilatefrom the skin, nodules form. Varicose veins cause great discomfort due to swelling, pain and dangerous formation of blood clots and food ulcers. This disease in severe cases, unfortunately, can lead to disability.

This disease is extremely common - more than 60% of the world's population suffers from it). It haunted mankind, apparently from the time of its appearance: varicose veins are mentioned in the Old Testament, archaeologists found during excavations in Egypt a mummy with a trophic ulcer on the leg with traces of healing, varicose veins are visible on the feet of ancient statues, According to written testimonies, the ancient physicians Avicenna and Hippocrates sought methods of treating varicose veins. Scientists suggest that this is the price of humanity for walking in an upright position, as this disease is much less common in other species.

Although women suffer from varicose veins more often than men - due to childbearing and hormonal problems during menopause - varicose veins in men often develop faster and have much more serious consequences. This is due to the fact that so-called "male" jobs are often associated with regular heavy lifting and traditional stereotypes urge men to ignore minor pain.

lifting weights as a cause of varicose veins

Causes of the disease

Since varicose veins in the legs are caused by excessive blood pressure in the blood vessels, the following factors, together with the congenital weakness of the connective tissue, can cause it:

  • to be on your feet for a long time, upright work. Varicose veins are considered an occupational disease of waiters, because they have to walk with heavy disks, hairdressers and surgeons who have to do their job standing for many hours in a row.
  • long-term sitting in a chair and long stays with tight legs, in which blood vessels are pinned and blood circulation is impaired.
  • overweight,
  • pregnancy - a woman's weight increases quite quickly and at the same time increases the pressure on the legs, hormonal changes during pregnancy also affect the walls of the veins.
  • wearing tight tights, rubber socks and the like.
  • weakness;
  • overload of the body during sports, during work associated with frequent weight lifting.
  • endocrine system dysfunctions, as well as various hormonal disorders, which are a common cause of varicose veins in women.
  • foot injuries, foot deformities.

Varicose veins of the legs

Varicose veins occur:

  • Congenital.The probability of inheriting this disease from parents is over 70%. Congenital varicose veins can occur at any age, but usually occur at a young age and in rare cases occur even in infants. This form of the disease has additional unpleasant symptoms: a noticeable increase in one leg, sometimes hemangiomas (vascular tumors) appear throughout the body. Hereditary varicose veins can also occur in the veins of internal organs.
  • Primary varicose veins.This type of condition develops as a result of the reasons mentioned above.
  • Secondary varicose veinsusually begins as a complication of venous thrombosis or as a result of trauma.

The disease is usually divided into the following stages:

  • 0- asymptomatic, when the disorders begin to appear at the cellular level, but do not yet manifest themselves in the form of formed symptoms.
  • 1- the appearance of noticeable symptoms, which, however, still have little effect on the ability to work.
  • 2- at this stage, the severe swelling becomes permanent, nodules and food ulcers appear. A sick person can not do without special support equipment during the day.
  • 3- serious complications, disability.
venous thrombosis

As you can see, varicose veins in the legs are a very serious disease, the treatment of which should begin when the first signs appear, in order to avoid terrible consequences.


Despite the variability of the symptoms in each case, it will not be difficult to recognize the varicose veins of the legs. Its main manifestation, due to which the disease got its name, is the expansion of the veins of the legs. There may be "cobwebs" or "asterisks" from the subcutaneous vessels - by the way, they will be more noticeable on women's feet. This is due to the fact that men have more "vegetation" on their legs, so the thin threads of blood vessels can go unnoticed.

The disease progresses slowly for many years or even decades. In the early stages of the disease, the symptoms are few and generally non-specific: there is a feeling of heaviness, bloating, pain in the legs, sometimes burning and night cramps. Swelling of the legs and ankles, pain in the veins are very common symptoms with varicose veins in the legs. Initially, the swelling is rare, mild, and disappears after resting in a horizontal position, but if you do not take therapeutic and prophylactic measures, the venous insufficiency becomes chronic and the swelling occurs regularly for no apparent reason. These events usually intensify in the evening, after a working day, as well as in hot weather.

What is the risk of varicose veins?

Often, the first signs of varicose veins of the legs are ignored, the disease gains momentum and irreversible processes begin, which lead to extremely unpleasant consequences: food ulcers and thrombophlebitis.

Food ulcers are a painful, non-healing wound in the foot or lower leg resulting from poor blood supply to the tissues. This rather painful disease occurs more often in old age and its treatment can last for the rest of your life.

Thrombophlebitis is an inflammation of the vein wall, in which blood clots form a blood clot that clogs the lumen of the vein.

The signs of thrombophlebitis, which developed on the background of varicose veins, are the following:

  • fever, chills;
  • lumps along the veins, rather painful
  • swelling of the limbs

Thrombophlebitis can progress for years with periodic exacerbations, possibly the so-called purulent fusion of the formed thrombus (septic thrombophlebitis) - then the infection spreads rapidly throughout the body along with the blood.

Great!A torn blood clot or part of it can enter the pulmonary artery, leading to pulmonary embolism and often death. Do not let the disease get in the way and do not neglect the supervision of a specialist!

Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis and treatment of varicose veins is made by a venologist, who should consult if there are symptoms of this disease. Modern diagnostic methods (ultrasound vascular scan, Doppler ultrasound, etc. ) will determine how much the veins are affected and will prescribe the right treatment.

the doctor examines the legs with varicose veins

In the treatment of varicose veins, drug therapy and compression therapy are used in combination, as well as surgical methods that are considered the most effective.

There are many drugs that increase the tone of the venous walls, reduce their permeability, improve microcirculation and lymphatic drainage. They can be ointments, gels, tablets with various active ingredients - of natural or synthetic origin.

Gels, ointments and creams are used in home remedies, applied to the affected areas of the vascular network. These drugs are divided into groups:

  1. Heparin ointments. Heparin has an absorbent effect, prevents blood stasis.
  2. Ointments and gels made from natural ingredients relieve fatigue, pain, strengthen blood vessels, are recommended during pregnancy.
  3. In the treatment of thrombophlebitis, drugs based on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used.
  4. Hormone-based ointments and gels also have anti-inflammatory effects.

Along with topical medications, for best results, phlebotonics, phlebotonics, blood thinners are prescribed and, if necessary, anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed orally or in the form of injections.

Compression therapy has been used for varicose veins in the legs since antiquity: Roman legionaries tightened their calves with leather straps to prevent swelling and pain during long military transitions, and Egyptian pharaohs were sometimes depicted with elastics on their arms. . This simple method works by reducing the diameter of the superficial veins, which speeds up blood flow and reduces the amount of "ballast" blood in the legs.

Today, they use not only an elastic bandage, but also a more comfortable compression sock. The bandage is applied from the toes to the middle of the thigh. Both the bandage and the compression sock are worn in the morning in a horizontal position and are worn all day and removed at night.

Folk remedies can be used in combination with these drugs. Popular and to some extent effective treatments are hippocampus infusion, garlic and lemon infusion, green tomato compresses.

green tomatoes for the treatment of varicose veins

Green tomato compresses are good for treating varicose veins in the legs.

However, when treating with folk remedies, you should be careful and approach this procedure with sound criticism. If you go to any forum dedicated to this topic, then, in addition to very good, tried and tested recipes, you can find many amazing ideas - from compresses of horse manure to ingestion of a decoction of poisonous plants, which can be just as useless andharmless and can lead to serious damage to the body, since not only a specialist, but also an ordinary "Internet troll" or just a person with an unhealthy soul can write in the forum.

Great!Having discovered a new prescription on the Internet, before using the recommended medicine, be sure to consult your doctor.

It should be noted that conservative treatment, as well as treatment with folk remedies, can not cure varicose veins, but only slows its development and relieves symptoms.


As a minimally invasive and very effective surgical method, laser treatment or intravascular laser coagulation is used - this method does not require incisions and does not require hospitalization for treatment. Under the influence of a laser beam, a diseased vessel "sticks together" and the charge is transferred to healthy vessels. Laser coagulation can be done in the early stages of the disease. Produced under local anesthesia.

Also, in addition to laser treatment, coagulation (adhesion) of diseased vessels is performed using radiofrequency waves (radiofrequency coagulation) and injection of a special substance (sclerotherapy).

Phlebectomy is usually a simple surgery that removes dilated veins.

With varicose veins, a salt-free diet is prescribed and a proper diet is also necessary if the causes of varicose veins are overweight or diseases of the endocrine system.

Sports with varicose veins are undesirable, therapeutic and prophylactic physical education, cycling, swimming are recommended. There are special exercises for varicose veins.

varicose vein surgery

It is contraindicated to visit a bath, sauna, long stay in hot water.

No massage is used for varicose veins.


Prevention of varicose veins in the legs is extremely important for every person, as it is extremely difficult to completely cure varicose veins, their fight requires a lot of time and effort and the cost of treatment is quite high.

First of all, you should try, if possible, to prevent or eliminate the reasons that affect its development:

  • Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time if this is not possible - warm up your legs as often as possible.
  • refuse to wear tight clothing, tight tights or pants.
  • choose shoes carefully.
  • do not allow excess weight.
  • for pregnant women, it is important not to allow excessive work of the legs, to rest in a horizontal position during the day.


  • active lifestyle, moderate physical activity, cardio exercise, "inverted" exercises (for example, "birch" is a simple but very effective means of preventing varicose veins).
  • hardening, contrast shower.
  • good nutrition?
  • rest in a horizontal position during the day.
exercise to prevent varicose veins

Advice!A good way to prevent this is to raise your legs just above head height while leaning horizontally by placing a pillow or roller down and staying in that position for 3-5 minutes, but no longer.