Varicose veins: diagnosis and treatment

Varicose veins on a woman's leg

The circulatory system consists of two types of channels: arteries, which carry blood from the heart to the organs, and veins. The venous system in the human body performs the function of returning blood from tissues and organs to the heart.

Each vein, regardless of size, consists of a wall and lumen filled with blood, and is equipped with a venous valve that prevents downward blood flow (flow through the veins of the lower leg usually moves from the bottom up). Vascular disease is usually caused by abnormalities in the structure of the walls of veins and valves. One of the most common varicose veins is varicose veins.

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are a disease that is accompanied by weakness of the venous walls and venous valves, as a result of which blood flow slows down, blood stagnates in the veins, which leads to their expansion, the formation of networks and venous nodes. Women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men (due to the effects of estrogen on the venous wall and increased pressure on the venous system during pregnancy). The risk of varicose veins increases with age (due to the fact that the veins lose their elasticity), so varicose veins are very rare in children and adolescents.

Due to the fact that the load on the veins of the lower part of the body is greater than on the veins of the upper veins, varicose veins develop on the legs and in the area of the pelvic organs. With varicose veins on the lower part of the leg, as a rule, the superficial (external) veins in the leg are affected. There are several types of varicose veins in the superficial veins of the legs:

  • spider veins (development of small intradermal veins);
  • reticular varicose veins (damage to the saphenous veins of the small and large saphenous vein system with the formation of venous nodes);
  • non -safenic varicose veins (knotted veins that do not belong to the small and large saphenous venous system ducts).

Small pelvic varicose veins are a type of internal varicose veins and are represented by inguinal varicose veins, uterine varicose veins, varicose veins on the penis. One of the most common types of varicose veins in men is varicocele (testicular knotted veins), which are indicated by painful pain in the scrotum, sexual dysfunction and premature ejaculation.

Signs of varicose veins

In the early stages, varicose veins are asymptomatic. Signs of varicose veins appear when the affected ducts no longer support the outflow function of the blood.

Varicose veins contribute to blood stasis in the area of expansion. Symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • the appearance of significant vascular tissue and bulging veins (in contrast to atherosclerosis, a chronic arterial disease in which blood flow to the lower part of the leg is affected);
  • heaviness in the legs and distension in the veins;
  • swelling of the feet;
  • itching and darkening of the skin on the legs above the varicose veins.

Varicose veins are a chronic, progressive disease that persists, and leads to the formation of venous insufficiency (dysfunction of the venous system). The development of varicose veins occurs in stages:

  • first degree varicose veins (increase in veins is asymptomatic);
  • second-degree varicose veins (edema appears, heaviness in the legs, itching);
  • third -degree varicose veins (edema and severity of persistent interference, ulcers appear on the skin, pain in the affected vein area).

Symptoms of varicose veins often increase in the evening and intensify after doing strenuous physical exercise. In summer, the signs of varicose veins are more pronounced than in winter (because in hot weather there is a tendency for vasodilation and increased blood viscosity).

Why do Varicose Veins Appear?

There is no single reason for the appearance of varicose veins. The development of varicose veins is facilitated by excess weight, heavy physical exertion and work associated with prolonged stay in a sitting position, a genetic predisposition to venous valve weakness, and inflammation of the veins. Varicose veins in women often develop during pregnancy and after childbirth due to the fact that uterine enlargement and tension during childbirth increase the load on the female venous system.

Complications of varicose veins

As a result of the prolonged development of varicose veins, the unpleasant consequences of varicose veins can develop. One of the complications of varicose veins is the appearance of blood clots in the dilated lumen of the vein, which can rupture, reaching the smaller ducts with blood flow and clogging them, leading to thrombosis. Due to chronic venous insufficiency, trophic disorders of the skin are formed: ulcers appear on the enlarged veins, which heal badly and are prone to infection.

Diagnosis of varicose veins

Phlebologists are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of varicose veins. During the consultation, the phlebologist examines the vein and palpates (feels it), measures the circumference of the left and right legs to reveal hidden edema.

For the diagnosis of varicose veins, ultrasound (ultrasound) examination of the vessel with Doppler ultrasound (determination of blood flow) is also prescribed. Ultrasound allows not only to visualize the walls of veins, but also to determine the presence of blood clots in the lumen of varicose veins.

Varicose Veins Treatment Methods

In the phlebology department, both conservative and surgical methods to treat varicose veins are used. Conservative (non-surgical) treatment of varicose veins consists of the use of medications and wearing medical compression underwear. Properly chosen therapy can reduce the symptoms of varicose veins and prevent the appearance of new varicose veins, however, existing venous disorders can be eliminated only with surgery.

Surgical treatment of varicose veins is to remove the dilated vein (phlebectomy). An alternative to phlebectomy is a minimally invasive method of treating varicose veins. Minimally invasive surgical methods to treat varicose veins include sclerotherapy and laser treatment of varicose veins.

Laser treatment of varicose veins

Treatment of varicose veins with laser is carried out by endovenous laser coagulation: under ultrasound control, electrodes are inserted into the lumen of the vein, with the help of which the inner surface of the venous wall is burned with a laser. As a result of laser cauterization, clotting of the venous wall occurs, after which the vein atrophies on its own. Minimally invasive laser treatment of varicose veins is performed under local anesthesia. The advantage of laser treatment of varicose veins is the absence of scarring and the relative (compared to vein removal) painless procedure.

Minimally invasive treatment of varicose veins is carried out on an outpatient basis (without hospitalization). Recovery after laser treatment of varicose veins, as a rule, takes no more than a month. During this period, it is necessary to wear compression bandages and limit sports.

For the prevention of varicose veins, you should lose weight, excluding weight lifting and prolonged sitting, giving preference to loose clothing. To prevent varicose veins in the early stages of the disease, regular wearing of special medical compression underwear and moderate physical activity (walking, swimming, exercising) helps.

Popular questions

  1. What not to do with varicose veins?

    Varicose veins are a disease, the development of which is closely linked to lifestyle. With the presence of varicose veins, you can not lift weights, engage in sports that increase the load on the vessels of the lower body (heavy sports). It is necessary to exclude long stays in a sitting position (if you work in the office and have to sit for a long time - take a five -minute break to walk or exercise every hour), and also try not to wear tight tights. clothes.

  2. How to treat varicose veins on the legs in women?

    With the problem of varicose veins on the legs, a woman should consult a phlebologist. With the presence of varicose veins on the legs or thighs, the doctor will help you choose the necessary compression underwear. In the presence of symptoms (signs of venous insufficiency, prominent venous nodes, aesthetic discomfort), varicose vein removal surgery may be recommended. Decisions about the type of intervention to be recommended for a woman are made by the doctor based on the results of examinations and tests.

  3. How to treat varicose veins at home?

    Varicose veins are a disease of the veins that should be treated by a phlebologist. Most phlebologist appointments can be done at home: do special exercises that increase the outflow of blood from the lower legs and pelvis, wear compression underwear and take medications prescribed by your doctor. Self-treatment of varicose veins with folk remedies is ineffective, and exposure to the veins with herbal compresses can cause ulcers on the skin.