The Problems + Complications With Untreated Varicose Veins

Blog Post
By BASS Vein Center
The Problems + Complications With Untreated Varicose Veins
August 1, 2022

For most people, varicose veins are a cosmetic issue. However, sometimes varicose veins can cause pain and discomfort. In these instances, if left untreated, can lead to complications. While there are lifestyle changes you can make to prevent and treat varicose veins through diet and exercise, sometimes these efforts alone aren't enough. If you experience any of the following complications from untreated varicose veins, it’s time to seek out the help of a vein specialist.

1: Ulcers

Venous ulcers can form on the skin near the affected varicose veins. A discoloration of the skin usually precedes an ulcer formation. These leg ulcers are usually painful and ooze, so they need to be properly cleaned and dressed to avoid infection.  Venous skin ulcers are typically slow to heal because of the poor circulation in the lower extremities.  

2: Bleeding

Because varicose veins are bulging, protruding veins filled with pooled blood at the surface of the skin, minor skin injuries or presume can cause them to burst or rupture.  If the skin breaks at the site of a varicose vein you can experience significant bleeding. Blood thinners and varicose vein bleeding can become dangerous. Pregnant women must also exercise caution because of the higher volume of blood in their bodies.

3: Blood Clots

Sluggish blood flow through varicose veins can cause superficial blood clots. This is also known as superficial thrombophlebitis, phlebitis, or superficial venous thrombosis. In rare instances, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur. This can lead to a life threatening medical condition called a pulmonary embolism (PE). This happens if the blood clot in the deep veins dislodges and travels to the lungs. While DVT/PE is not commonly associated with varicose veins, severe cases of varicose veins can certainly increase risk.

Varicose Vein Pain

Varicose vein pain can intensify if standing or sitting for too long. It is often described as:

  • A feeling of heaviness 
  • A burning sensation
  • Tingling or “pins and needles”
  • Numbness 
  • Achiness
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Muscle tightness 
  • Itching sensation near the affected veins 
  • Affected area feels warm or hot to the touch  
  • Swelling in one of both legs 

There are several things you can do to aid in the prevention of varicose veins. These tips will also help alleviate the discomfort if you experience varicose vein pain in your legs. 

  • Avoid wearing high heels 
  • Avoid tight clothing in your legs, such as hosiery or binding pantyhose 
  • Changing your sitting or standing position regularly, walk around and stretch often to encourage better circulation 
  • Eat a high-fiber, low-salt diet to promote heart and vascular health and maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly, even low impact exercise—like walking, stretching, swimming—can be highly effective
  • Keeping your legs elevated when sitting or lying down

What Is The Cause Of Varicose Veins? 

You might be asking the question, “What is the cause of varicose veins?” The simple answer is poor circulation. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to poor circulation. The most common include pregnancy, standing for long periods of time, and obesity. Varicose veins are usually caused by weak or damaged valves. This is because there are tiny valves in your veins that return oxygen-rich blood to the heart. If these valves are weakened, they can allow blood to fall back into the vein. Gravity is at play here, thus affecting areas of the lower body, such as the legs, the most. When blood flows back down the veins it can pool or collect there. This is why the veins become enlarged and skin discoloration can occur.

If you are seriously considering varicose veins treatment, BASS Vein Center would be more than happy to help address your situation. Call them at (925) 281-5912 or click here to set up an appointment. The insecurity, discomfort, and other issues that come with varicose veins can be difficult to handle. Don’t go about it alone. Let BASS Vein Center help you to handle the issue with experience, compassion, and professionalism.

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