Varicose Veins are veins usually in your lower legs that are blue or purple, twisted, and bulging out. Veins bring blood back to the heart. In order to bring the blood back to the heart the muscles in the vein walls must push against gravity. As the blood is pushed up, valves that close prevent it from coming down again. People with varicose veins have valves that no longer close so the blood does not get pumped back to the heart effectively. It pools and causes distension in the veins of the lower legs, which are most effected by gravity. Pressure around the abdomen, such as during constipation or pregnancy, will also make it difficult for the blood to be pumped to the heart.
For some people who have no other symptoms the concern is that they look awful. But others can experience pain that gets worse after sitting or standing, swelling in the lower legs, muscle cramps, burning or throbbing, heavy feeling in the legs, itchiness, dry skin, and skin discoloration.
Varicose veins can be caused by heredity, female gender, age 50 or older, being overweight (high body-mass index), pregnancy, and standing for long periods of time. Weight lifting can make varicose veins worse.
Whether varicose veins are a cosmetic concern or a serious discomfort, there are some things you can do about them. The same things that prevent varicose veins also help treat them. They are: weight reduction, a diet high in fiber and low in salt, exercise, compression stockings, reducing constipation, elevation of the legs, avoidance of crossing the legs, avoidance of high heels and tight hosiery, and changing the standing and sitting position often. Also, there are procedures where a doctor can remove and close veins.