Varicose Veins: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

by | Sep 28, 2020 | Varicose Veins | 0 comments

Do you have varicose veins? You’re not alone. Did you know that 30% of Americans will have varicose veins in their life?

In this article, you’ll get to explore everything about varicose veins from treatment options to causes and diagnosis. Read on to discover what your treatment options are, and get those beach-ready legs back you’ve always dreamed of.

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are a common condition that are the result of damaged or weak valves in your vein walls, a condition called venous insufficiency.  When your abdominal pressure rises, so can the presence of veins. This can be due to obesity, tumors, constipation, or pregnancy. It is very common and can also occur without any known risk factors.

While it’s most common to find them in your legs, they can be present in other locations as well. For example, hemorrhoids are varicose veins in the rectal region. About one in 20 Americans suffer from hemorrhoids.

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are a fainter form of varicose veins that are not always related to venous insufficiency. They tend to be smaller as well and can resemble a spider web. They’re blue or red and are on your legs or face.

Spider Vein Treatment

Common options for spider vein treatment include both sclerotherapy by an experienced sclerotherapist and VeinGogh Ohmic Thermolysis.

Sclerotherapy is the most effective treatment for lower extremity spider veins, more effective than laser. During sclerotherapy, a very small needle will painlessly inject a dilute chemical solution into your vein. The vein will swell and then stop working. Your body will then absorb this vein.

This is a popular treatment option since it can be done in minutes. Keep in mind that sclerotherapy might require several visits for completion.

VeinGogh Ohmic Thermolysis is effective on the face and takes care of thread veins, small angiomas, and spider veins. This procedure can be done in less than 30 minutes.

What Causes Spider Veins, Varicose Veins, and Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy?


Hemorrhoids & Varicose Veins in Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids and varicose veins are swollen and twisted veins, usually appearing in the legs but can also form elsewhere. When these veins occur in the rectum, they’re known as hemorrhoids. 

Changes during pregnancy can increase your risk of hemorrhoids and varicose veins, including:

  • Increased blood volume, enlargening the veins
  • The increasing weight of your growing baby puts pressure on the large blood vessels in the pelvis, which alters the blood flow
  • Changes in hormone levels affecting blood vessels which can slow the blood coming back to the heart and cause the small veins in the pelvis and legs to swell

Hemorrhoids can be made worse by pushing or straining or if you have had hemorrhoids prior to being pregnant or if you are overweight. Varicose veins also are tied to genetics. Sitting or standing in the same position for prolonged periods can force the veins to work harder to get blood to your heart, resulting in swollen varicose veins and worsening existing hemorrhoids.

Varicose Vein Causes

Your veins have one-way valves for blood to travel in one direction. When the veins become less flexible and stretchable over time, the valves can weaken. This can cause your blood to flow backward.

When blood flows backward this can lead to swollen and enlarged veins. When you think of gravity, it makes sense that the veins furthest from your heart have the most trouble flowing upward.

Some risk factors can include:

  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Over 50
  • Standing for an extended period of time

What Are the Symptoms?

While symptoms vary from person to person, most experience a burning/aching/heavy feeling in your legs, sores, color changes, and a rash. Bulging veins are very common. They can cause long-term swelling as well.

Varicose Vein Treatment Options

One treatment option is compression stockings. Your doctor might have you try compression stockings before other treatment options. They work by squeezing your leg muscles, which in turn helps your veins transport blood through your body. These may be quite effective at relieving symptoms while they are worn. Also, elevation of your legs above your heart may improve symptoms.

One of the best long-term and permanent varicose vein treatment options is radiofrequency ablation.

What Is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency Ablation is a safe and effective treatment option. It’s considered a minimally invasive procedure. It is performed without skin incisions.

Benefits include:

  • Reduced pain
  • High vein occlusion rates
  • Quick return to work
  • Low complications

In this minimally invasive, safe and rapid treatment for venous insufficiency, radiofrequency energy is transmitted through the vein wall, thereby damaging it and causing the vein to close and eventually be reabsorbed by your body. The impact of radiofrequency ablation is immediate and blood is uneventfully rerouted to normal veins in your leg.

Radiofrequency ablation is an office procedure and requires only local anesthesia to numb the area. Patients can return to normal activities immediately following the procedure.

Who Is a Candidate for Radiofrequency Ablation?

Many patients with leg pain associated with vein problems are candidates for radiofrequency ablation. The most common problems are legs that are heavier than expected during the day, ache, or swell at the ankle. Bulging veins are often associated. This condition is called venous insufficiency and is diagnosed with a painless and easy ultrasound examination of the legs.

As vein disease progresses, patients develop skin thickening, discoloration and even ulcers at the ankle. This is more advanced vein disease but can also be very successfully treated with radiofrequency ablation. Your doctor can tell you more.

Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy

Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is an excellent adjunctive method of treating certain formations of veins and residual varicosities and abnormal veins. Just as radiofrequency ablation is covered under most insurance plans, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is usually covered as well.


Varithena administration is a newer form of ultrasound guided sclerotherapy and is very effective when utilized by an experienced physician. It is excellent for treating larger residual veins.

Aren’t Varicose Veins Just a Cosmetic Problem?

No. Many are under the impression that varicose veins are just unsightly but harmless. They can have an effect on your quality of life causing throbbing, itching, cramping, heaviness, and aching.

While obesity is a risk factor for varicose veins, men and women of all body types can be affected. They can be impacted by hormones, hence they are common based on genetics and pregnancy.

While a healthy lifestyle, plenty of activity and maintaining good dietary habits and hydration may prevent venous insufficiency , this remains unproven though still excellent advice.

Exploring All About Varicose Veins

Now that you’ve explored all about varicose veins, you should have a better idea of what your treatment options are. Are you tired of heavy, tired legs or unsightly veins? Do you dream of having beach-ready legs again? Whether or not you’re concerned about the potential complications from varicose veins, they can be treated and be a thing of the past.

Ready to take action? Contact us today and you’ll meet with a board-certified surgeon at your first appointment.