Symptoms, treatment and prevention of varicose veins in the legs

doctor and patient with varicose veins

Anatomically, the lower extremities have a large load, so the failure of the venous valve makes it difficult for venous blood to flow, and varicose veins develop in the legs.

Varicose veins in the legs are called chronic vascular pathology, which results in the deformation (elongation, dilation) of the vessels and the development of intravascular valve insufficiency.

The disease, which is familiar to everyone with the appearance of swollen enlarged nodules under the skin, develops gradually.

First, the small veins suffer, then as the stagnation intensifies, the large venous veins dilate and the nodules rise above the surface of the skin.

Symptoms of varicose veins of the lower extremities

What varicose veins look like depends on the severity of the pathological enlargement. In the early stages of the disease, the symptoms cause little discomfort, and with an advanced form of the disease, the ugly venous nodules are clearly visible and make it difficult to walk. The sooner treatment is started, the better the prognosis.

The first signs

leg pain with varicose veins

The trick of the disease is that the first signs of varicose veins are almost invisible. A person may be concerned:

  • feeling of heaviness in calves;
  • swelling of the lower extremities in the evening.

Upon closer examination, you can see "spider veins" under the skin - a mesh of small dilated veins.

Early development of the pathology is almost always successfully treated. Unfortunately, most people ignore the symptoms of varicose veins and instead of going to the doctor, they treat themselves using an ointment for foot stiffness or folk remedies.

Stages of the disease

Depending on the degree of varicose veins, there are 4 stages of varicose veins of the lower extremities:

  • I - varicose veins in the legs affect only the venules, large veins are almost unchanged. There is a rapid leg fatigue that occurs in the evening, heaviness and swelling in the legs. The blue-purple "stars" that are transparent in some places under the skin do not rise above the surface of the epidermis;
  • II - the venous network grows, swollen veins appear and the first nodules rise above the skin surface. After a long walk, the pain is added to the weight and fatigue. Cramps in the calf muscles may appear at night;
  • III - varicose veins of the lower extremities are open: plexuses of elongated and dilated veins are visible, areas of pigmentation are visible on the skin, swelling remains almost constant. Unable to walk for a long time due to pain and fatigue, complains of night cramps;
  • IV - stagnation of blood with varicose veins leads to impaired tissue nutrition. Legs become cold and swollen, wounds heal poorly and trophic ulcers form. The skin is dry and blemished. The pain continues unabated.

Most patients seek help when stage II varicose veins of the lower extremities occur. At the initial diagnosis, advanced forms of the disease are rare.

What does it look like in the photo?

The patient does not always know what varicose veins are, and often inattention to their condition leads to the development of advanced forms of the disease.

In the first photo, varicose veins of the lower extremities are insignificant, the symptoms are mild, and treatment allows to restore the normal functioning of the vessels.

varicose veins in the leg

The thin nets, which cause only cosmetic discomfort, indicate that the venous valves are malfunctioning and that a slight stagnation of blood causes pathological dilation of the small blood vessels.

The second photo shows the characteristic plexus of veins in the legs seen in stage 3 of varicose veins.

doctor and a patient with varicose veins in the legs

With such changes, the legs are almost always in pain, swelling and cramps at night are disturbing.

Feelings of fatigue in the legs and occasional edema occur in various diseases. However, in addition to the symptoms, if the changes shown in the first picture appear on the feet, this should be a reason to visit a phlebologist.

Reasons for appearance

Given what varicose veins are in the legs, this condition can be described as the development of venous valve insufficiency. In this case, reverse blood flow occurs in the lower parts of the vessel, which leads to pathological dilation of the vessel. The causes of varicose veins in men and women are similar:

  • obesity;
  • bad habits (nicotine and alcohol disrupt blood vessels);
  • work related to standing on one's feet for a long time;
  • large force loads on the lower extremities (weight lifting, weight lifting work);
  • hypodynamics;
  • tight shoes;
  • foot surgery.

Some of the factors that trigger the appearance of varicose veins in the legs are related to gender.

Varicose veins in the legs in men

Male varicose veins are less common in women than pathological varicose veins in the legs. The causes of varicose veins in men are associated with diet and lifestyle habits:

  1. Bad habits.
  2. Some hobbies. The disease occurs in hunting and fishing enthusiasts.
  3. Hereditary predisposition.
  4. Heavy physical activity.
  5. Poor nutrition. Men are more likely to abuse fatty, heavy foods.

Men are less likely to pay attention to the cosmetic defects of the feet and ignore the first signs of the disease, which is accompanied by increased fatigue and the appearance of vascular patterns, which leads to the progression of symptoms of the disease.

The danger of male varicose veins of the legs is the suffering of the genitourinary system during the course: the vessels of the scrotum dilate, blood circulation in the testicles is disrupted. The resulting abnormalities adversely affect the reproductive tract and can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Among women

Wear the heel as the cause of varicose veins

In addition to common factors, in women, varicose veins can develop in the legs due to physiological processes associated with changes in hormonal balance. Decreased progesterone levels and increased estrogen synthesis disrupt vascular regulation.

They cause the development of pathologies:

  • pregnancy;
  • complex labor;
  • menopause;
  • inflammatory processes of the reproductive organs;
  • taking hormonal contraceptives.

One of the external factors that cause the appearance of varicose veins in women is wearing high heels. Uneven distribution of the load on the legs and overload of the calf muscles disrupt the work of the arteries.


In the tenth International Classification of Imaging Diseases (ICD-10), varicose veins of the lower extremities have the code I 83. 9. If this figure is diagnosed, it indicates that the varicose veins continue without complications.

Varicose veins in the legs are accompanied by symptoms depending on the degree of blood flow disorders, and treatment is selected based on the severity of the disease. The patient is examined before choosing therapy.

How is the diagnosis made?

The initial diagnosis of varicose veins of the lower extremities occurs during an external examination. The phlebologist examines the patient's foot, determines the nature of the venous deformity and related changes (skin pigmentation, swelling). During the examination, the doctor examines the symptoms of varicose veins in the legs and collects a medical history to determine the possible cause.

The survey shows:

  • whether relatives have a similar disease;
  • lifestyle features (nutrition, physical inactivity, bad habits);
  • nature of work (whether related to standing for a long time or lifting weights);

Women are asked about the course of pregnancy and childbirth, contraceptives.

Preliminary examination and examination allows to determine the possible cause of varicose veins of the legs. Classification of varicose veins of the lower extremities by stages occurs only after additional research methods:

  1. Duplex angio scanning. It is performed by ultrasound. Determines the nature of blood flow and the presence of venous dilatation. Scanning accuracy allows detection of deviations up to 1 mm.
  2. CT and MRI. A contrast agent is injected before scanning. The method allows to obtain a three-dimensional projection of the vessels of the legs and to identify abnormalities at an early stage.

In addition, they take urine and blood tests for diagnosis, and do an ECG. If necessary, schedule consultations with narrow specialists.

When to deal with varicose veins?

The doctor prescribes treatment for varicose veins

The fight against the disease should begin at an early stage, when the legs begin to swell and the first spider veins appear.

What to do with varicose veins - appoint a phlebologist. The recommendations will depend on the stage of development of the disease and the individual characteristics of the patient's body.

In all cases and at any stage of the disease, varicose veins must be combated. Lack of appropriate treatment complicates the course of the pathology and leads to serious complications.

Be sure to consult a specialist! The best way to treat varicose veins is not to treat yourself.

Is it possible to get rid of the disease?

People who are looking for a way to get rid of varicose veins in their legs often fall victim to advertisements that promise to cure the pathology with the help of pills and ointments. However, the use of expensive tools brings only temporary relief.

It is impossible to get rid of varicose veins completely. With the help of treatment and preventive measures, it is possible to increase venous tone and improve blood circulation in the legs. Man will have to learn to live with the disease.

How to treat?

  1. Treatment of varicose veins in the legs depends on the severity of the disease:
  2. Easy degree. Diet, rejection of bad habits and external use of anti-varicose ointments help. Venotonics may be prescribed to strengthen blood vessels.
  3. Medium. Indicates taking medication, using ointments, and wearing compression underwear. In the presence of severe changes in the venous valve, minimally invasive intervention (sclerotherapy, laser exposure) is performed or the pathologically altered vessel is surgically removed.
  4. It's heavy. Disorders of venous blood circulation lead to the development of trophic disorders and the formation of difficult-to-heal ulcers. Removal of varicose veins will spread blood flow to smaller vessels and improve tissue nutrition. In addition to surgery, conservative therapy is used.

It may seem to the patient that surgery is a way to get rid of varicose veins once and for all, but this is a mistake. Only strongly altered vessels are removed, leaving only slightly or moderately altered vessels that retain valve function. Only regular supportive treatment and removal of irritants will improve the condition of the legs and stop the development of pathology.

What to do other than take medication?

gymnastics for the treatment of varicose veins

Doctors, who give advice on how to fight varicose veins, pay attention to non-drug methods of treatment of the disease:

  1. Wrap with an elastic bandage or wear compressed underwear.
  2. Physiotherapy. Moderate exercise strengthens the leg muscles and stimulates blood flow through the arteries.
  3. Diet. Foods that cause blood clots (animal fats, smoked meat, acids and spices) should be avoided.
  4. Massage. Improves venous blood flow and increases vascular tone.

Depending on the degree of varicose veins in the legs, the patient may be recommended a therapeutic bath, mud bandage or hirudotherapy.

If you are obese, a person needs to lose weight.

A good effect is the use of alternative medicine for varicose veins of the legs. But before treatment with folk recipes need to consult a doctor - there may be contraindications for some forms of the disease.

There is no universal way to treat varicose veins of the legs. Therapy is selected taking into account the nature of the pathological changes. Therapeutic measures can improve blood supply to the lower extremities and relieve congestion.

Prevention issues

The doctor's recommendations for the prevention of varicose veins will be equally useful for people suffering from this disease and those at risk (hereditary predisposition, obesity). Prevention of varicose veins includes the following.

  1. Comfortable shoes. You can't always wear high heels, but flat shoes are no less harmful. For regular wear, you should choose low (3-5 cm) comfortable heels and shoes that do not compress the foot.
  2. Proper work. If it is not possible to change work activities, you will not be able to sit in one position for a long time. You should take a break and turn your feet a little or move in "rolls" from heel to toe. When labor is associated with a heavy load on the lower extremities, it is necessary to sit or lie down with slightly raised legs and rest for 15-20 minutes from time to time.
  3. Useful gymnastics. Exercises that improve blood circulation to the legs will prevent varicose veins.
  4. Give up bad habits.
  5. Health monitoring. Diseases that cause the development of varicose veins should be treated in a timely manner (functional disorders of the heart and kidneys, hormonal abnormalities).
  6. Lose weight.

Simple recommendations will reduce the risk of venous valve damage. Preventive measures to reduce or prevent the severity of the disease should be a good habit and should be done every day.

Is it possible to prevent the development of this disease?

foods for varicose veins

It is impossible to predict 100% of the body's response to external and internal factors.

Even regular prevention, proper nutrition, a healthy lifestyle and the abandonment of bad habits do not always allow the development of varicose veins.

The disease is not completely preventable, but it can reduce the risk of pathology by following prophylactic recommendations.

People who lead a healthy lifestyle are less likely to suffer from varicose veins and venous insufficiency.

Do they go to the army with this disease?

Recruitment of varicose veins depends on the characteristics of the pathological process. A boy is good for military service, or army loads will cause irreparable damage to health - in each case, the medical commission decides individually.

Depending on the characteristics of the disease, the conscript is given a group:

  • B. The development of varicose veins is not accompanied by a lack of vascular function, and the boy is in a limited form, not allowed to serve in all types of troops;
  • B. Secondary disease with moderate circulatory disorders in the arteries of the legs. A conscript is exempt from military service, but may be mobilized in time of war;
  • D. Third and more severe stages, development of trophic disorders. The boy is unfit for service and is deregistered.

Before going through the commission at the military registration commission, you should be examined in the clinic (angiography, MRI) and get a document showing the degree of vascular damage and the stage of varicose veins. This will allow the commission to more accurately address the issue of fitness for military service.

Why are varicose veins dangerous?

People do not always take the treatment of varicose veins seriously, some consider spider veins and varicose veins as a local defect. However, the lack of anti-varicose treatment causes serious complications:

  1. Phlebitis. The inner surface of the vessel wall becomes inflamed, pain and hyperemia appear on the skin. The pathological process and the expansion of the vascular area lead to the thinning of the wall. Vessel rupture can occur with minor traumas (acute pressure, slight bruising). This causes the appearance of internal hematomas.
  2. Vascular thrombosis of the legs. At the site of dilation, the uniformity of blood flow is disrupted and platelets accumulate in the walls. The resulting blood clot impedes blood flow and aggravates tissue starvation. Given the danger of varicose veins complicated by thrombus formation, it should be noted that a thrombus separates. When entering the bloodstream, clotting can completely block the lumen of an artery and lead to life-threatening conditions such as pulmonary embolism, stroke, or myocardial infarction.
  3. Venous insufficiency. Impaired blood flow from the lower extremities is accompanied by the development of edema.
  4. Trophic disorders. Decreased supply of oxygen and nutrients to the peripheral parts of the extremities leads to the appearance of poorly treated trophic ulcers.

Varicose veins complicated by thrombosis or severe venous insufficiency can lead to the development of tissue necrosis of the foot and lower leg. Gangrene begins with obvious necrotic processes, and only amputation of the affected part of the foot can save a person's life.

The result

Varicose veins of the legs are not a cosmetic defect, but a serious vascular disease caused by venous valve insufficiency.

Grade 3-4 varicose veins can lead to serious complications that can lead to disability or death.

Do not neglect the first "spider veins" and the feeling of heaviness in the legs. This is the first sign of the development of varicose veins, which requires consultation with a phlebologist.

Early initiation of treatment and preventive measures will protect the ability to work.