Varicose veins - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, medications and alternative treatments

Every fourth inhabitant of the planet is diagnosed with varicose veins, the symptoms of which are not only a cosmetic defect, but also a high risk of thrombosis. Varicose veins in the lower extremities and other organs have several classifications according to various causes and many options for the course of the disease. If left untreated, complications can lead to impaired venous blood flow, trophic ulcers, discoloration, and organ necrosis.

What are varicose veins

From a medical point of view, varicose veins are elongation and dilation of the vessels of the lower extremities with the gradual thinning of the venous wall. The initial element of the pathology is valve insufficiency, which is the main cause of stagnation. Under the influence of hemodynamic pressure, the balance between collagen, muscle cells and elastic fibers is disturbed, which leads to an increase in wall thickness. If the muscle pump is not enough, stagnation occurs, leading to disruption of reverse blood flow and the formation of varicose veins.

Symptoms of varicose veins

It is difficult not to see such pathological symptoms at an early stage. Initially, varicose veins of the lower extremities manifest themselves after intense physical activity with pain, a feeling of heaviness, a burning sensation along the veins, and swelling of the lower leg. The picture does not look very aesthetic. Other symptoms of varicose veins depend on the degree of pathology:

  1. First degree.The patient does not experience severe anxiety. Mild swelling and pain appear only in the evening.
  2. Second degree.Legs swell, venous mesh manifests itself, convulsions occur at night. The caps of the superficial vessels shrink, resulting in impaired blood flow.
  3. Third degree.There is an increase in skin pigmentation in the legs, swelling of the legs and feet is seen, pain syndrome and general weakness persist.
  4. Fourth degree.There are ulcerative defects that damage soft tissues (trophic ulcers), external bleeding occurs. It is possible to break the varicose wall.

Symptoms of varicose veins in the legs

People often associate varicose veins in the legs with other pathologies. Only a doctor can accurately diagnose the disease. The first signs of varicose veins:

  • pain in the lower extremities during prolonged walking and / or morning;
  • appearance of spider veins on the skin of the lower leg, thighs;
  • cyanosis of the superficial layers of the epidermis on damaged vessels;
  • swelling, weight of calf muscles.

If the patient does not pay attention to the first signs of vasodilation (dilation), there is pain along the venous trunks and increased pigmentation of the skin. Dermatitis and eczema are associated with the disease. Varicose veins rise above the surface of the skin of the lower leg and feet. With an obvious pathology develops dangerous complications for human health.

manifestations of varicose veins in the legs


There are many factors that provoke varicose veins. These are genetics, obesity, pregnancy, childbirth. However, doctors believe that the main causes of varicose veins are as follows.

  • hereditary predisposition;
  • congenital valve pathology;
  • regular use of hormonal contraceptives;
  • stay on your feet for a long time;
  • sedentary lifestyle;
  • enlarged uterus;
  • a malignant tumor that prevents the normal flow of venous blood;
  • endocrine diseases;
  • failure of the hormonal system.


After a thorough examination and observation of the dynamics of the pathology, it is possible to establish an accurate classification. Types of varicose veins are divided according to the location of superficial or deep veins. Varicose veins of the lower extremities are classified according to a number of criteria:

  • severity of venous insufficiency;
  • the extent of the lesion;
  • severity of pathology;
  • configuration of ectazed areas;
  • appearance;
  • presence of hemodynamic diseases.

Stages of varicose veins

According to the international classification, there are three stages of varicose veins, each of which has its own characteristics:

  1. Compensation phase.It lasts for months, even years. Declared manifestations of pathology may not be present at all. From the symptoms of vision, the appearance of mixed veins in the legs is possible.
  2. Subcompensation phase.It may take several years. Severe perforation of the perforated vessels develops, which is accompanied by impaired blood flow. The skin on the legs is purple-brown.
  3. Decompensation phase.All clinical manifestations are aggravated, edema is persistent, long-term non-healing trophic ulcers appear.


The most common complication of varicose veins is chronic venous insufficiency when the blood vessels are unable to nourish the soft tissues of the lower extremities. Phlebitis also often occurs due to a strong dilation of the vascular lumen. The disease affects a number of blood vessels close to the surface of the skin. If left untreated, phlebitis can spread deep into the body. Thrombophlebitis is a pathology that affects a quarter of people with varicose veins.

The most dangerous complication of varicose veins is thrombosis. The resulting thrombus can clog the artery, causing gangrene and amputation of the leg. If a blood clot comes out of the deep veins of the lower extremities, it will be carried first to the heart and then to the lungs - this is a sign of thromboembolism. Coagulation clogs the pulmonary artery and reduces the supply of oxygen to the atrium. A fatal outcome is possible with a large blood clot.

Phlebitis in the legs as a complication of varicose veins


At the first signs of varicose veins, you should consult a surgeon, neurologist or phlebologist. Once diagnosed, the doctor will be able to make a correct diagnosis. It undergoes a gold standard ultrasound duplex scan to detect diseases of the venous system. During this procedure, the doctor sees a clear picture of the vascular deformation in each region. An integral part of the diagnosis is laboratory tests of blood, urine and hormonal levels. The most important analysis is the coagulation index. With its help, the risk of thrombophlebitis and thrombosis is correctly assessed.

Treatment of varicose veins in the legs

A diet should be included in a comprehensive treatment program for varicose veins, because excess weight is one of the main risk factors for varicose veins. Smoking cessation is also included in the therapeutic scheme, because carbon dioxide spasms blood vessels and increases the risk of secondary complications (stroke, heart attack). Wearing compression underwear is also an excellent choice to get rid of pathology at an early stage, but the main treatment for varicose veins is medication and / or surgery.

Conservative treatment

To alleviate the patient's condition, doctors prescribe local and systemic medications, compress therapy and special exercises. Although conservative measures may not completely relieve the patient of varicose veins, they will help relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Decongestants protect against edema, reduce the abnormal permeability of venous walls and fight against fluid accumulation. Drugs that improve blood circulation, normalize oxygen metabolism in tissues and have a protective effect against free radicals.


Various groups of drugs are used for the medical treatment of varicose veins, including anticoagulants, phleboprotectors, platelet antiplatelets and antihistamines. Corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory drugs, systemic enzymes are used for local therapy.


For the treatment of varicose veins to be successful, the diet must be compensated in terms of caloric intake, ie the energy consumed should not exceed the body's energy needs. In addition, peppers, marinades, hot spices, smoked meats should be removed from the menu, salt intake and animal fat consumption should be reduced. It is recommended to abstain from alcohol. Foods needed in the diet:

  • lots of vegetables and fruits;
  • seafood, seafood;
  • wholemeal bread;
  • vegetable oils;
  • nuts.
Vegetables and fruits when dieting with varicose veins

Compression therapy

It is a good choice for the prevention and complex treatment of varicose veins. The therapeutic effect is due to the compression effect of the dilated vessels that redistribute the blood channel. On sale you can find socks, laptops, tights with different pressure settings, model options and colors. In the morning, before reaching a vertical position, it is necessary to wear compression stockings until the venous system is filled with blood and wear it until the evening.


If conservative treatment of varicose veins in the legs does not work and the presence of blood clots increases the risk of complications, your doctor will refer you for surgery. There are several surgical interventions for varicose veins:

  1. Combined phlebectomy.The classic option, whose main task is to eliminate reflux. The veins are removed in small incisions.
  2. Endovasal electrocoagulation.Involves the removal of subcutaneous vessels using a current.
  3. Cryosurgery.Allows removal of affected vessels due to low temperature.
  4. Intraoperative scleroblitization.The essence of sclerotherapy is the use of catheter injections into the saphenous veins of special sclerosing agents.
  5. Endoscopic dissection.Using probes, the doctor closes the affected blood vessels and removes them from the bloodstream.
  6. Laser coagulation.The vessel is sealed from the inside with a laser beam and removed from the general circulation.

Traditional methods

Vasodilation cannot be treated with folk recipes, but it can be helped with complex therapy. The most common means:

  1. Burdock.To warm up, hold a clean layer of the plant over the steam, then apply a compress to the affected vein from the inside and fix it with a bandage. The procedure should be done before bedtime. There are 5 compresses applied every night in the course.
  2. Calendula oil extract.Pour the flowers of the plant (50 g) with any vegetable oil (500 g), then boil in a water bath for half an hour. Insist for an hour, then strain and rub on painful areas every day before bed. Cover with a woolen scarf and leave overnight. The course of treatment is 1 month.


It is important to take timely preventive measures to prevent the serious consequences of varicose veins:

  • to normalize body weight;
  • prevention of hypodynamics;
  • wear compression underwear;
  • apply creams and ointments - venotonic;
  • to prevent mechanical damage to the legs;
  • to prevent the growth of load on the lower extremities;
  • Have a vascular ultrasound every 2 years.

Photo of varicose veins of the lower extremities

photo of varicose veins in the leg