What is it?
Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins just under the skin. They usually occur in the legs and women are more frequently affected than men.
Symptoms: Prominent, bluish swollen veins in the legs. The veins in the back of the calf and along the inside of the leg are most commonly affected. Swelling of the feet and ankles, itchy skin, symptoms may be worse just before and during menses.
Causes: Poor circulation in the legs, usually as a result of damage to the valves in the vein, Tends to run in families. Obesity and standing for long periods of time may contribute to the development of varicose veins in the legs.
Possible complications: Venous ulcers, thrombophlebis
Treatment in the home: Avoid standing for long periods, if standing is unavoidable; flex the calf muscles from time to time. Go for angular walks, Sit with the feet up whenever possible; wear elastic support stockings, particularly during pregnancy. Lose weight if you are overweight, don’t scratch an itch caused by varicose veins; scratching can further damage the vein and can lead to ulceration. If you break the skin and a varicose vein begins to bleed, lie down, raise the affected leg and keep it raised. The bleeding will slow down and you will be able to control it by moderate pressure. You must then consult your doctor so that he can clean and dress the wound.
When to consult a doctor: If the varicose veins are very troublesome. If the surrounding skin is cracked or sore, if a varicose vein starts to bleed.
What the doctor may do: Prescribe support stockings, In the case of bleeding, clean and dress the wound and check that there is no secondary infection. Inject the veins so that they shrink and close. If the condition is severe, arrange for a surgical removal of infected veins.