Varicose veins in the legs - causes, symptoms and treatment

Varicose veins in the legs, or varicose veins (from Latin varicis - "swelling") are diseases of the blood vessels in the lower part of the legs, in which the outflow of blood is disrupted due to venous valve failure: the veins expand. , elongates, begins to bulge out from under the skin, nodules are formed. Varicose veins bring great discomfort due to edema, pain and the formation of blood clots and dangerous trophic ulcers. This disease in severe cases, unfortunately, can lead to disability.

The disease is very common - more than 60% of the population worldwide suffers from it). It has haunted mankind, apparently since the time of its emergence: varicose veins are mentioned in the Old Testament, archaeologists found during excavations in Egypt mummies with trophic ulcers on the legs with the effect of treatment, signs of varicose veins can be seen on the legs of antique statues, and according to written evidence, the ancient physicians Avicenna and Hippocrates were looking for methods to treat varicose veins. Scientists suggest that this is the price of humans to walk upright, as the disease is less common in other species.

Although women are more likely to experience varicose veins than men - due to childbirth and hormonal problems during menopause - varicose veins in the legs in men often grow faster and have more severe consequences. This is due to the fact that so -called "male" occupations are often associated with regular weightlifting, and traditional stereotypes urge men to ignore minor pains.

weight lifting as a cause of varicose veins

The cause of the disease

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

  • be on your feet for a long time, standing work. Varicose veins on the legs are considered an occupational disease of waiters, as they have to walk with heavy trays, hairdressers and surgeons who have to do their job standing for hours in a row;
  • long sitting on a chair and staying long with tucked legs, in which vessels are pinched and blood circulation is disturbed;
  • overweight,
  • pregnancy - a woman's weight grows relatively quickly, and at the same time the pressure on the legs increases, hormonal changes during pregnancy also affect the walls of the veins;
  • wear tight -fitting pants, socks with elastic bands and similar factors;
  • hypodynamics;
  • overloading the body during sports, during work associated with frequent weight lifting;
  • damage to the endocrine system, as well as various hormonal disorders, which are common causes of varicose veins on the legs in women;
  • foot injuries, foot deformities.

Varicose veins on the legs

Varicose veins occur:

  • Congenital.The probability of inheriting this disease from parents is over 70%. Congenital varicose veins can manifest themselves at any age, but, as a rule, they manifest themselves at a young age, and in rare cases it also occurs in infants. This form of the disease has additional unpleasant symptoms: a marked increase in one leg, sometimes hemangiomas (vascular tumors) appear all over the body. Hereditary varicose veins can also appear on the veins of internal organs;
  • Major varicose veins. This type of disease develops as a result of the causes listed 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 disorder begins to occur at the cellular level, but has not yet manifested itself in the form of formed symptoms;
  • 1- the appearance of significant symptoms, which, however, still have little effect on the ability to work;
  • 2- at this stage, severe edema becomes permanent, nodes and trophic ulcers appear. A sick person cannot do without special support equipment during the day;
  • 3- serious complications, loss of effort.

As you can see, varicose veins in the legs are a fairly serious disease, treatment of which should be started when the first signs appear to avoid severe consequences.


Despite the variability of symptoms in each case, it will not be difficult to identify leg varicose veins. Its main manifestation, from which the disease gets its name, is the expansion of the leg veins. There may be "spider webs" or "asterisks" from the subcutaneous canal - that way, they will be more noticeable on a woman’s legs. This is due to the fact that men have more "plants" on their legs, so the thin threads of the blood vessels can go unnoticed.

The disease develops slowly over many years or even decades. In the first stage of the disease, the symptoms are few and generally nonspecific: there is a feeling of heaviness, bloating, pain in the legs, sometimes burning and night cramps. Swelling of the legs and ankles, varicose veins are common symptoms of varicose veins in the legs. Initially, edema appears infrequently, mild and disappears after resting in a horizontal position, but if you do not take therapeutic and prophylactic measures, venous insufficiency becomes chronic, and edema appears regularly for no particular reason. These manifestations usually increase in the evening, after a working day, and even in hot weather.

What are the dangers of varicose veins?

Often, the first signs of varicose veins on the legs are ignored, the disease gains momentum and an irreversible process begins, which leads to very unpleasant consequences: trophic ulcers and thrombophlebitis.

Trophic ulcers are painful and unhealed wounds on the legs or lower legs due to poor blood supply to the tissues. This rather painful disease appears more often at an older age, and its treatment can last for the rest of your life.

Thrombophlebitis is an inflammation of the venous wall, in which a blood clot forms a blood clot that blocks the venous lumen.

The signs of thrombophlebitis, which develop against the background of varicose veins, are as follows:

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

Thrombophlebitis can progress chronically with periodic exacerbation, possibly a combination of purulent thrombus formed (septic thrombophlebitis) - then the infection spreads rapidly throughout the body along with the blood.

Important!A dislocated blood clot or part of it can enter the pulmonary arteries, leading to pulmonary embolism and, often, death. Do not let the disease linger and do not ignore expert supervision!

Diagnostics and treatment

Diagnosis and treatment of varicose veins is carried out by a phlebologist, who should be consulted if there are symptoms of the disease. Modern diagnostic methods (ultrasound angioscanning, Doppler ultrasonography, etc. ) will determine how many veins are affected and prescribe the right treatment.

The doctor examines the leg with varicose veins

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

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

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

  1. Heparin ointment. Heparin has a resorbing effect, preventing blood stasis.
  2. Ointments and gels made on the basis of natural ingredients relieve fatigue, pain, strengthen blood vessels, they are recommended during pregnancy.
  3. In the treatment of thrombophlebitis, drugs based on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used.
  4. Ointments and gels based on hormone medications also have anti-inflammatory effects.

Along with local remedies, to achieve the best effect, venotonics, 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 ancient times: Roman legionnaires tightened their calves with skin strips to prevent swelling and pain during long military transitions, and Egyptian pharaohs were sometimes depicted with elastic bandages on their hands. This simple method works by reducing the diameter of the superficial veins, which causes an acceleration of blood flow and a decrease in the amount of "ballast" blood in the legs.

Nowadays, they use not only elastic bandages, but also more comfortable compression socks. Bandages are applied from the toes to the middle of the thighs. Both bandages and compression socks are worn in the morning in a horizontal position and worn throughout the day, and removed at night.

Treatment with folk remedies can be used in combination with these drugs. Popular and to some extent effective remedies are horse chestnut infusion, garlic and lemon infusion, green tomato compresses.

green tomatoes for the treatment of varicose veins

Compressed green tomatoes are good for treating varicose veins on the legs.

However, when treating with folk remedies, you should be careful and approach this process with a healthy critique. If you go to any forum dedicated to this topic, then, in addition to really good, tried and tested recipes, you can find many amazing ideas-from compresses from horse manure to the intake of decoctions of poisonous plants, whichcan be both useless and harmless, and can cause serious harm to the body, because not only experts, but also ordinary "Internet Trolls" or just people with unhealthy souls can write to the forum.

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

It should be noted that conservative treatment, such as treatment with folk remedies, can not cure varicose veins, but only slows their progression and reduces symptoms.


As a minimally invasive and highly effective surgical method, laser treatment or endovasal laser coagulation is used - this method does not require incision and does not require hospitalization for inpatient treatment. Under the influence of the laser beam, the diseased vessel is "glued together", and the load is transferred to the healthy vessel. Laser coagulation can be performed in the early stages of the disease. Produced under local anesthesia.

Also, in addition to laser therapy, freezing (adhesion) of diseased vessels is performed using radio frequency waves (radio frequency agglomeration) and by injecting special materials (sclerotherapy).

Phlebectomy is usually a simple surgery that removes a dilated vein.

With varicose veins, a salt -free diet is prescribed, and an appropriate diet is also required if the cause of varicose veins is overweight or endocrine system disease.

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

surgery for varicose veins

It is contraindicated to visit the baths, saunas, long stays in hot water.

Massage for varicose veins is not used.


Prevention of varicose veins in the legs is very important for everyone, because it is very difficult to cure varicose veins completely, fighting them 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 causes that influence its development:

  • avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time, if this is not possible - do leg warm -ups as often as possible;
  • refuses to wear tight clothing, tight pants or tight pants;
  • choose shoes carefully;
  • do not be overweight;
  • for pregnant women, it is important not to allow too much leg work, resting in a horizontal position during the day;


  • active lifestyle, moderate physical activity, cardio exercise, "reverse" exercise (for example, "birch" is a simple but very effective way to prevent varicose veins);
  • hardening, contrast shower;
  • good diet;
  • rest in a horizontal position during the day.
exercise for the prevention of varicose veins

Advice!A good preventative measure is to raise your legs slightly above head level while resting in a horizontal position, place a pillow or roller under it and remain in this position for 3-5 minutes, but no longer.