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Disease Information : Varicose Veins : Symptoms

Varicose Veins : Symptoms

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins may be entirely symptom-free and cause no health problems. Treatment in such cases is often for cosmetic purposes. When symptomatic, varicose veins may cause ankle and leg swelling, heaviness or tension, aching, restlessness, cramps, and itching. Varicose veins are more often symptomatic in women than in men. Signs of chronic venous disease include skin pigmentation (usually rusty brown), and loss of the soft texture of the skin and underlying tissue in the ankle area (called induration). Itching is perhaps the most consistent symptom of varicose veins in men. Women most often complain of leg heaviness, tension, and aching.  

Causes of Varicose Veins

The causes of varicose veins may be primary, secondary, or congenital. Varicose veins of primary cause develop as a result of an inherent weakness in the wall of the vein. Varicose veins can have a hereditary factor and often occur in several members of the same family. Varicose veins that develop after trauma or deep vein thrombosis are of secondary cause. Congenital varicose veins are due to disorders in the natural development of the venous system, and usually are part of a vascular malformation in the limb, present at birth. In addition to varicose veins, these individuals may also have an enlarged and longer limb and often have birthmarks (port-wine stains), like in Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome (KT syndrome).  No matter the cause, defective venous valves may cause venous blood to stagnate in the leg, leading to increased pressure in the veins. This may result in further enlargement of the varicose veins, increasing the likelihood of symptoms, and causing complications such as skin changes and ulcer formation. Blockage of the pelvic veins may severely aggravate the effects of varicose veins, requiring a separate treatment.



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