What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are those big twisty veins that make the overlying skin bulge up. They are also described as “ropey” or “snakey”. Increasing pressure in the vein makes them enlarge. The veins get longer and bigger, becoming twisty like a small river. When sitting or standing gravity pulls the blood down into the legs making things even worse. For some people they just look bad. For many people the entire leg can hurt but may not be described as “pain.”
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Some signs and symptoms of varicose veins include the following:
- Aching, heavy, tired, throbbing, cramping, restlessness, stinging, burning or numbness.
- The pain usually gets worse as the day goes on.
- Sitting and standing are usually worse.
- Swelling can occur and also gets worse as the day progresses. Elevating the legs usually helps tremendously. It is usually much better after sleeping over night when the legs have been even with the heart for a long time.
- Phlebitis (Flea- bite- us). This is when varicose veins actually clot. These clots are not dangerous and donot move. The clotted varicose vein will become painful, red, and hard.
Varicose Veins Before & After
Causes of Varicose Veins
- This is the most common cause.
- One way valves in the leg veins become defective and let blood flow backward. Reflux can occur in the deep or superficial veins of the legs, or in the pelvic veins (Pelvic Congestion Syndrome)
- Blood can clot inside the veins (DVT). This is like damming up a river. This can occur in the legs or pelvis.
- Pressure, from outside the vein, can squeeze or pinch it restricting flow. This occurs in the pelvis and abdomen (May-Thurner Syndrome, Nutcracker Syndrome).
Diagnosis of Varicose Veins
- Standing Leg Ultrasound
- Leg ultrasound done lying down can only identify blood clots but not reflux.
- Reflux can only be found on ultrasound done in standing position.
- The vast majority of Ultrasounds performed outside of a vein practice are done lying down and only look for clots in the deep veins. This is not thorough enough.
A pelvic ultrasound may be required to look for problems higher up in the blood’s return pathway to the heart.
Varicose Vein Treatment
- Varicose vein treatment is covered by nearly all insurance companies.
- Criteria specific to each individual insurance policy must be met first.
- Most require a conservative treatment trial consisting of leg elevation, over the counter analgesics and medical grade compression garment for a period of up to 3 months.
- To learn more about treatment options, visit our procedures.
Schedule a Consultation
If you suffer from Varicose Veins and are seeking treatment, call us at 704-544-5245 to schedule a consultation. Vein Specialists of the Carolinas serves Charlotte, Gastonia, and surrounding areas in North Carolina.