Varicose veins in the legs - causes, symptoms and treatment

Varicose veins in the legs, or varicose veins (from the Latin varicis - "swelling") is a disease of the blood vessels of the lower extremities, in which the outflow of blood is disturbed due to malfunctioning of the venous valves: the veins expand, lengthen, begin to bulge out from underskin, nodules form. Varicose veins bring great discomfort due to edema, pain and dangerous formation of blood clots and trophic ulcers. This disease in severe cases, alas, can lead to disability.

This disease is extremely common - more than 60% of the population worldwide suffer from it). It has haunted humanity, apparently since the time of its appearance: varicose veins are mentioned in the Old Testament, archaeologists found during excavations in Egypt a mummy with a trophic ulcer on the leg with traces of treatment, signs of varicose veins can be seen on the legs of antique statues, and according to written evidence, ancient physicians Avicenna and Hippocrates were looking for methods of treating varicose veins. Scientists suggest that such is the price of mankind for walking upright, since this disease is much less common in other species.

Although women suffer from varicose veins more often than men - due to bearing children and hormonal problems during menopause - varicose veins in the legs in men often progress faster and have much more severe consequences. This is due to the fact that so-called "male" jobs are often associated with regular heavy lifting, and traditional stereotypes urge men to ignore minor pain.

lifting weights as a cause of varicose veins

Causes of the disease

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

  • being on your feet for a long time, standing work. Varicose veins of the legs is considered an occupational disease of waiters, because they have to walk with heavy trays, hairdressers and surgeons who have to do their job standing for many hours in a row;
  • sitting for a long time on a chair and for a long time in poses with tucked legs, in which the blood vessels are pinched and blood circulation is impaired;
  • overweight,
  • pregnancy - the woman's weight grows quite quickly, and at the same time the pressure on the legs increases, hormonal changes during pregnancy also affect the walls of the veins;
  • wearing tight tights, socks with an elastic band and similar factors;
  • hypodynamia;
  • overloading the body during sports, during work associated with frequent weight lifting;
  • malfunctions of the endocrine system, as well as various hormonal disorders, which are a common cause of varicose veins on the legs in women;
  • leg injuries, foot deformities.

Varicose veins of the legs

Varicose veins happen:

  • Congenital.The probability of inheriting this disease from parents is over 70%. Congenital varicose veins can appear at any age, but, as a rule, it manifests itself at a young age, and in rare cases it even occurs in infants. This form of the disease has additional unpleasant symptoms: a noticeable increase in one leg, sometimes hemangiomas (vascular tumors) appear throughout the body. Hereditary varicose veins can also appear on the veins of internal organs;
  • Primary varicose veins. This type of ailment develops as a consequence of the reasons 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 disorders begin to occur at the cellular level, but do not yet manifest themselves in the form of formed symptoms;
  • 1- the appearance of noticeable 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, disability.

As you can see, varicose veins in the legs is a rather serious disease, the treatment of which should be started when the first signs appear in order to prevent dire consequences.


Despite the variability of symptoms in each case, it will not be difficult to recognize varicose veins of the legs. Its main manifestation, due to which the disease got its name, is the expansion of the veins of the legs. There may be "cobwebs" or "asterisks" from the subcutaneous vessels - by the way, they will be more noticeable on the legs of women. This is due to the fact that men have more "vegetation" on their legs, so thin threads of blood vessels can go unnoticed.

The disease progresses slowly over many years or even decades. At the first stages 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 feet and ankles, soreness of the veins are especially common symptoms with varicose veins in the legs. At first, edema appears infrequently, is mild and disappears after resting in a horizontal position, but if you do not take therapeutic and preventive measures, venous insufficiency becomes chronic, and edema appears regularly for no particular reason. These manifestations usually intensify in the evening, after a working day, and also in hot weather.

What is the danger of varicose veins?

Often, the first signs of varicose veins of the legs are ignored, the disease is gaining momentum and irreversible processes begin, which lead to extremely unpleasant consequences: trophic ulcers and thrombophlebitis.

Trophic ulcers are a painful, non-healing wound on the foot or lower leg resulting from poor blood supply to the tissues. This rather painful disease manifests itself more often at an older age, and its treatment can drag on for the rest of your life.

Thrombophlebitis is an inflammation of the vein wall, in which blood clots form a blood clot that blocks the lumen of the vein.

Signs of thrombophlebitis, which developed against the background of varicose veins, are as follows:

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

Thrombophlebitis can proceed chronically with periodic exacerbations, possibly the so-called purulent fusion of the formed thrombus (septic thrombophlebitis) - then the infection spreads rapidly throughout the body along with the blood.

Important!A torn off blood clot or part of it can enter the pulmonary artery, which leads to pulmonary embolism and, often, death. Do not let the disease take its course and do not neglect the supervision of a specialist!

Diagnostics and treatment

The diagnosis and treatment of varicose veins is carried out by a phlebologist, who should be consulted if there are symptoms of this disease. Modern diagnostic methods (ultrasound angioscanning, Doppler sonography, etc. ) will help determine how much the veins are affected and prescribe the correct treatment.

the doctor examines the legs 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 increase the tone of the venous walls, reduce their 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 ointments. Heparin has a resorbing effect, prevents blood stagnation.
  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 anti-inflammatory nonsteroidal drugs are used.
  4. Ointments and gels based on hormonal drugs also have anti-inflammatory effects.

Together with local drugs, 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 strips of skin to prevent swelling and pain during long military transitions, and Egyptian pharaohs were sometimes depicted with elastic bandages in their hands. This simple method works by reducing the diameter of the superficial veins, which provokes an acceleration of blood flow and a decrease in the amount of "ballast" blood in the legs.

Nowadays, they use not only an elastic bandage, but also a more comfortable compression hosiery. The bandage is applied from the toes to the middle of the thigh. Both the bandage and the compression hosiery are put on in the morning in a horizontal position and worn all 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 flower tincture, garlic and lemon infusion, green tomato compresses.

green tomatoes for the treatment of varicose veins

Green tomato compresses are good for treating varicose veins on the legs.

However, when treating with folk remedies, you should be careful and approach this process with healthy criticism. If you go to any forum dedicated to this topic, then, in addition to really good, tried and tested recipes, you can find a lot of amazing ideas - from compresses from horse manure to ingestion of a decoction of poisonous plants, which can be equally useless and harmless, and can lead tocausing serious harm to the body, since not only a specialist, but also an ordinary "Internet troll" or just a person with an unhealthy psyche can write to the forum.

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

It should be noted that conservative treatment, like treatment with folk remedies, cannot cure varicose veins, but only slow down its development and alleviate symptoms.


As a minimally invasive and very effective surgical method, laser treatment or endovasal laser coagulation is used - this method does not require incisions and there is no need for hospitalization for inpatient treatment. Under the influence of a laser beam, a diseased vessel is "glued together", and the load is transferred to healthy vessels. Laser coagulation can be done at the initial stages of the disease. Produced under local anesthesia.

Also, in addition to laser therapy, coagulation (gluing) of diseased vessels is carried out using radio frequency waves (radio frequency coagulation) and by injecting a special substance (sclerotherapy).

Phlebectomy is usually a simple surgery that removes the dilated veins.

With varicose veins, a salt-free diet is prescribed, and an appropriate diet is also necessary if the causes of varicose veins are overweight or diseases of the endocrine system.

Sports for varicose veins is 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 a bath, a sauna, a long stay in hot water.

Massage for varicose veins is not used.


Prevention of varicose veins in the legs is extremely important for every person, since it is extremely difficult to cure varicose veins completely, the fight against it takes a lot of time and effort, and the cost of treatment is quite high.

First of all, you need to try, if possible, to prevent or eliminate the reasons that affect its development:

  • avoid standing or sitting for a long time, if this is not possible - do leg warm-ups as often as possible;
  • refuse to wear tight-fitting clothes, tight-fitting tights or pants;
  • choose shoes carefully;
  • do not allow excess weight;
  • for pregnant women, it is important not to allow overwork of the legs, to rest in a horizontal position during the day;


  • an active lifestyle, moderate physical activity, cardio exercise, "inverted" exercises (for example, "birch" is a simple but very effective means of preventing varicose veins);
  • hardening, contrast shower;
  • good nutrition;
  • rest in a horizontal position during the day.
exercise for the prevention of varicose veins

Advice!A good way of prevention is to raise your legs slightly above head level while resting in a horizontal position, placing a pillow or roller under them and stay in this position for 3-5 minutes, but not longer.