Varicose Veins

If you have varicose veins, you’re not alone. Up to 35% of people in the United States have these unsightly veins.

Overview

Should I Be Concerned About Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins usually are more of a cosmetic concern than a health issue. However, varicose veins could lead to other vein-related medical problems, so it may be time to seek treatment from an Aurora Health Care doctor.

Even if varicose veins haven’t led to other medical issues or pain, you may still want to talk to your doctor if they are affecting your quality of life. For example, you may avoid participating in activities that require you to show your legs (the most common place the varicose veins occur).

Many simple procedures are now available for removing varicose veins or making them less visible.

World-Class Care

Aurora’s Specialized Varicose Vein Care

We understand that varicose veins can be an uncomfortable problem. Whether your veins are connected to other medical issues (like leg wounds that won’t heal) or just cause embarrassment that makes it difficult for you to fully enjoy life, we can help.

As part of your varicose vein diagnosis and treatment at Aurora, you’ll find:

  • Vascular expertise: As one of the most experienced vascular treatment programs in Wisconsin, vein-related problems are one of our specialties. Our specialists and surgeons skillfully handle even the most complex vein diseases and conditions. Our experience means you can expect top results.
  • Personalized care: Your comfort and health are important to us. Every Aurora professional you see will underscore our patient-centered approach and suggest the varicose vein treatment options that best fit your life and health goals.
  • Convenient locations: We have 15 hospitals and 155 clinics throughout eastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. That means you can get varicose vein care at many convenient locations close to home.

Causes & Risk Factors

What Causes Varicose Veins?

These enlarged veins develop when your vein walls weaken and stretch. Blood can then back up in your veins, making them bulge, twist and look like swollen, purple ropes.

Varicose veins may be accompanied by spider veins, which are thin, reddish veins. Both spider veins and varicose veins form when gravity causes blood to pool in the lower part of your body.

In some cases, these unsightly veins can also be painful or make it uncomfortable for you to walk. In rare cases, varicose veins could indicate that you’re developing other, more serious vascular problems. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about this condition.

Risk Factors for Varicose Veins

You’re more likely to get varicose veins if you’re a woman, particularly as you get older. However, men get varicose veins, too.

Other factors that can weaken your vein walls and lead to varicose veins include:

  • Being overweight
  • Being pregnant
  • Taking birth control pills or hormone replacements
  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Family history of varicose veins

Symptoms

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

In general, varicose veins are clearly visible right below the skin. Your veins could also cause more serious symptoms, including:

  • Itchiness
  • Leg pain, aching and cramping
  • Leg swelling
  • Leg wounds that won’t heal
  • Skin discoloration
  • Blood clots in the swollen veins

Diagnosis & Treatment

Thorough Evaluation & Treatment for Varicose Veins

To diagnose your varicose veins and their severity, your doctor will examine your legs while you’re standing. Your doctor may also recommend an ultrasound. This diagnostic test creates images of your veins to help your doctor detect blockages or narrow spots that are affecting blood flow.

Our medical team can develop a varicose vein treatment plan tailored to your needs. This plan may include:

Home Care

We may suggest lifestyle changes like:

  • Not standing or sitting for long periods of time without breaks
  • Elevating your legs
  • Wearing compression stockings (socks that put pressure on your lower legs to move blood and reduce swelling)

Medical Treatments

The most common options for treating varicose veins are:

  • Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy involves inserting a solution (often salt-water based) into varicose or spider veins, so they collapse and eventually disappear.
  • Vein stripping and ligation: This minimally invasive, two-part surgery involves surgically tying off and later removing the veins.

Learn more about varicose and spider vein treatments.

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