Learn about the causes of Varicose Veins & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of
Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Varicose Veins within New
Therapies which may benefit Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are veins that visibly bulge due to pools of blood not
circulating properly. Varicose veins are typically found on the legs
just under the skin's surface. Causes of varicose veins may be from
weak valves unable to prevent blood backflow, weakness of the vein
wall, hormonal issues or family history. Symptoms of varicose veins
include aching limbs and in severe cases ulcers or rupture of the vein
Causes of varicose veins
Varicose veins are caused when the valves in the veins don't function
properly. The body's circulatory system comprises of arteries and
veins. Arteries carry blood from the heart and veins return the blood
back to the heart. Veins work against gravity and so muscles in the leg
contract, working as a pump to return the blood toward the heart.
the veins are one-way valves which allow blood to pass through but
close to stop it flowing back. If the walls of the veins stretch, the
valves become weak and blood leaks backwards collecting in the vein and
causing it to become swollen.
Why these valves weaken is unclear but certain factors increase the risk of someone developing varicose veins. These include:
– women have an increased chance of developing varicose veins. This may
be due to hormones which relax the vein walls making them more elastic
and weakening the valves.
- Genetics – a family history of the condition increases the likelihood of developing varicose veins
- Age – as the body ages, veins lose elasticity which weakens the valves
– being overweight places greater pressure on the veins making them
work harder and making them prone to leaking blood backwards
– jobs that involve standing for long periods of time may prevent blood
from flowing easily back to the heart increasing the risk of getting
– during pregnancy, extra strain is placed on the circulatory system to
provide enough blood for both mother and child. Hormone levels also
increase causing blood vessels to relax. Also, as the womb grows, extra
pressure on the veins in the pelvis can cause them to become varicose.
Symptoms of varicose veins
Varicose veins usually appear on the back of the calf or the inside leg
and are purple or blue in colour. The vein bulges and looks twisted in
appearance. In many cases, the vein does not cause any pain but some
people with severe varicose veins do experience discomfort.
Other symptoms may include:
often worsen when standing for long periods or in warmer weather.
Varicose veins can also appear in other parts of the body such as:
- aching legs
- swollen feet
- swollen ankles
- burning sensation in the legs
- leg cramps (typically at night)
- dry skin over the vein
- itchy skin over the vein
- the oesophagus
- the womb
- the vagina
- the pelvis area
- the rectum
Diagnosis of varicose veins
A visit to the GP may not
be necessary if your varicose veins do not cause any pain or discomfort
and the condition does not usually require treatment.
you are experience problems, your GP will perform a physical
examination of the veins and if necessary will refer you to a vein
There are tests which can investigate varicose veins such as a doppler test and a colour duplex ultrasound scan.
- Doppler test
– this involves using ultrasound to identify how well the valves in the
veins are working while also testing for any blood clots or
- Colour duplex ultrasound test – this test uses colour imaging of the vein's structure so the vascular specialist can identify any abnormalities.
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