Varicose veins: types, causes and symptoms

A phlebologist examines the lower extremities of a patient with varicose veins

The first signs of the development of varicose veins are often attributed to the usual fatigue, they ignore the visit to the doctor, and continue to lead their usual way of life, aggravating the condition of the veins. Complications of varicose veins develop very quickly. Mostly those who need surgical intervention come to the specialist. Up to this point, everyone is trying to cure themselves on their own with the help of tinctures and pills.

How not to bring yourself to a deplorable state and take the necessary measures in time? First, you need to understand when to see a doctor. Secondly, go to the doctor as soon as you know it's time. This is not a time to wait a bit and see what happens to the veins. Any delay can cost you dearly. The article contains descriptions of the signs of different types of varicose veins, which will help determine whether you have a suspicion of the disease.

Why does varicose veins appear

If you know the causes of varicose veins, then you can protect yourself in time by taking preventive measures.

  • Heredity.If any of the relatives suffers from varicose veins, then there is a chance that you will also have it. By itself, varicose veins are not inherited, but you can inherit the features of the structure of the veins or, for example, a tendency to be overweight, which will affect the occurrence of problems with the veins.
  • Pregnancy.During pregnancy, a woman's body produces an increased amount of progesterone, which relaxes the walls of the veins. They can't do their job and the blood stagnates. Also, during pregnancy, the woman's body weight increases and the amount of circulating blood increases, which increases the load on the veins.
  • Overweight.Large body weight creates a constant load on the lower limbs. It is more difficult for the veins to supply blood to the heart and lungs, the blood stagnates, and the veins dilate. As a result, venous expansion of the veins occurs.
  • Wearing uncomfortable clothes and shoes.If the shoes are too tight and tight, it prevents blood from circulating in the legs normally. The same goes for clothes that are too tight.
  • Elderly age.Age-related negative changes occur in the walls of blood vessels. They lose their elasticity, blood vessels stretch and blood accumulates and stagnates in them.

How to understand that varicose veins develop on the legs

Many believe that the first signs of varicose veins are spider veins, swollen areas of the veins and other external manifestations. But the pathology is very insidious and for a long time disguises itself as the usual fatigue of the lower extremities, not showing itself outside in any way.

Venous valve affected by varicose veins

Signs of the development of varicose veins, which you need to pay attention to:

  • Frequent muscle cramps.Since the blood does not circulate in the required mode through the veins, its stagnation occurs and, as a result, oxygen starvation of the tissues. These factors lead to the onset of seizures.
  • Unhealthy skin color on the legs.Lymph and blood circulate poorly in the affected areas of the lower extremities. The skin color here becomes lighter with dark spots. As the disease progresses, these spots begin to redden, swell and itch. If you do not start treatment, then the likelihood of trophic ulcers increases significantly.
  • The shins and ankles begin to itch for no reason.. . . In the vessels that are adjacent to the skin, transformations occur due to stagnation of blood and lymph. Metabolic products are not removed from these areas properly, which leads to itching, burning, peeling of the skin of the legs and its excessive dryness.
  • Tingling, numbness of the limbs.At the initial stage of varicose veins, the feet may go numb for no reason. The patient will feel tingling sensations. These symptoms occur due to the weak functioning of the joints, tissue hypoxia. Normal motor activity is impaired, since the tissues lack inter-articular fluid. If the numbness becomes regular, then the visit to the doctor should not be postponed.
  • Puffiness. . . When the valve does not work at full strength, fluid accumulates in the intercellular space, and edema occurs. For people prone to varicose veins, it is recommended to measure the volume of the leg in the morning and in the evening. The reason to sound the alarm and visit a phlebologist will be a change in indicators by 1 cm upwards in the evening.
  • Pain in the legs after a static position.If a person sat for a long time or just stood, and after that the lower limbs began to ache and "buzz", then you should pay special attention to this factor.

At the final stages, dilated veins clearly appear on the skin of the lower extremities against the background of swelling and pain. During the period of decompensation in the last stages of varicose veins, signs of thrombophlebitis and trophic ulcers may appear.

Varicose veins occur from wearing high-heeled shoes

Why is reticular varicose veins considered a mild form

Varicose veins of the lower extremities have a separate type - reticular varicose veins. It is common mainly among women and is considered a mild form of manifestation of varicose veins, because in this case only thin veins expand.

Reticular varicose veins are often called cosmetic, since the main symptoms are external manifestations in the form of vascular networks on the calves and in the thigh area. Reticular varicose veins occur most often due to wearing high-heeled shoes, serious physical activity and taking hormonal pills.

Despite the fact that reticular varicose veins are mild, it must be treated - this will avoid possible complications. Treatment of this type of pathology is carried out with the help of ointments and gels of a venotonic nature, drug therapy, and a laser. Traditional surgical operations performed with a laser, especially a scalpel, are very rarely used.

What are the symptoms of pelvic varicose veins

If the venous blood in the pelvic area stagnates, then this can lead to the appearance of varicose veins in this area. She can stagnate due to sedentary work, mechanical compression of the veins by an enlarged uterus, uncontrolled intake of hormonal drugs. The cause of the appearance of dilated veins in the pelvic area can also be malnutrition, constipation, hernias, problems in the genitourinary sphere, pathology in the pelvic organs, nervous disorders and insomnia.

Most often, the disease occurs in women. Pregnant women and women during menopause are at risk. Pathology manifests itself as painful sensations in the perineal region, which become more intense after hypothermia or a long stay in a sitting position. Also, in the perineal area, venous tubercles are formed, the process of urination becomes painful, during and after intercourse, unpleasant sensations are observed.

All these signs require immediate referral to a specialist, because without adequate therapy, varicose veins of the small pelvis are aggravated by complications: thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, trophic ulcers. Pathology is diagnosed mainly by ultrasound, if there are no external signs yet.

How to determine the appearance of varicocele

Varicocele is a purely male type of varicose veins, which is an enlargement of the veins of the spermatic cord. Signs of varicocele will be pulling pain and a feeling of heaviness in the groin area, a decrease in one of the testicles, an increase in veins under the skin, and frequent urination.

Why pathology occurs:

  • the valves of the veins of the spermatic cord do not work well enough;
  • not enough connective tissue that forms the venous wall;
  • underdeveloped valves of the spermatic cord and testicles;
  • disruptions in the formation of the inferior genital vein while still in the womb.

If a man has increased abdominal pressure, constipation often occurs, he spends a lot of time sitting or standing, exposes his body to excessive physical exertion, then the risk of varicocele increases significantly. This disease has three degrees of severity: at first, the veins can be palpated only in a standing position, at the second stage, the seals can be felt even while lying down, and at the third stage, the swollen veins of the spermatic cord on the testicle are visible with the naked eye.

Varicocele - dilation of the veins of the spermatic cord

The stage when the testicles are covered with numerous clusters of veins is considered finishing and requires emergency treatment. After all, neglected varicocele very often becomes the cause of male infertility, thrombosis, thrombophlebitis and other complications. Pathology is diagnosed by external examination, ultrasound, MRI or CT. Adult patients are often prescribed a spermogram to determine sperm activity and exclude asthenozoospermia.

What is internal varicose veins

With internal varicose veins, not superficial, but deep veins are affected. The usual external signs in the form of bulging veins and vascular network are often absent. Pathology is manifested by soreness of the lower extremities, which is often mistaken for banal fatigue. The elderly are susceptible to internal varicose veins, whose deep veins are transformed due to age-related changes, become less flexible and elastic, and the valve system suffers from wear and tear. If the pathology is not treated, ulcers form on the lower extremities, which are difficult to heal.

Internal varicose veins are very difficult to recognize in the initial stages. Therefore, everyone who has a genetic predisposition to this disease is recommended to undergo a preventive ultrasound scan at least once a year. Since deep veins are surrounded by muscles on all sides, it is impossible to detect their deformation by visual inspection.

Protruding dilated veins - a sign of varicose veins of the lower extremities

What does varicose veins look like?

At the very beginning of the development of pathology, heaviness and fatigue in the legs is felt by the end of the day. Further, aching pain may appear, sensations as if the leg is bursting, the foot swells. All of these symptoms can go away on their own after rest. But you shouldn't postpone going to the doctor. If you do not treat varicose veins of the feet at the initial stage, then the disease will begin to progress. First, spider veins and grids will appear, then varicose veins will also affect large veins. At this stage, the pain becomes constant, the legs begin to swell more, muscle spasms appear.

Palpation of varicose veins in the legs

Complications against the background of varicose veins

If the treatment of varicose veins is not carried out or is not carried out in sufficient volume, then sooner or later complications arise. These include venous thrombosis. A blood clot forms in the lumen of the vessel, which leads to thrombophlebitis. The vascular walls become inflamed, and the thrombus plays the role of a time bomb, because it can come off at any moment and clog vital arteries. Thrombophlebitis progresses especially rapidly after suffering infectious diseases, during air travel, difficult childbirth and complex surgical interventions.

Deep vein thrombosis of the lower extremities is very fast. Within a few hours, inflammation occurs on the vein, the lower leg increases in size, swells, and acquires a bluish tint. At the slightest physical exertion, a person feels acute pain, but rest does not bring complete relief.

Trophic ulcers occur due to a violation of the process of blood flow in the tissues, resulting in necrosis and rejection of tissues. First, there is severe swelling, burning of the skin. The legs become, as it were, wet due to the lymph seeping out, small ulcers first appear on the skin, which subsequently develop into extensive non-healing wounds.

Very often, complications of varicose veins manifest themselves in the form of venous bleeding, which is sometimes impossible to stop without medical intervention. If a person with varicose veins is injured in the area of protruding veins, lifted an unbearable weight or played sports, then the likelihood that a thinned vein can burst increases.