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When to Worry About Varicose Veins

Mar 10, 2023
When to Worry About Varicose Veins
You know what varicose veins are — those twisted, discolored veins on your legs or feet — but do you know when you should see the doctor about them? Learn if your symptoms indicate there’s something more serious going on and what to do about it.

About 23% of Americans have varicose veins. These veins are swollen and twisted, often appearing blue or purple under the surface of your skin. Anyone can get them, and they get more common as you get older.

Varicose veins almost always appear on your feet or legs. They’re usually harmless, but they can be unsightly — and in some cases, they could be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.

So, when should you worry about your varicose veins? David D. Shin, MD, and our team at Houston Vein Specialists are here to answer that question. We specialize in varicose vein treatment, and in this blog, we’re discussing the most common signs that you should seek treatment for your varicose veins.

You have leg pain or discomfort

Some varicose veins don’t cause any symptoms. But in many cases, people experience mild aches and pains in their legs.

If your pain is severe, it could be a sign of a blood clot or inflammation. Having varicose veins increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep inside your body.

Symptoms of DVT include leg swelling, pain, and warmth to the touch. If you experience intense, throbbing pain or swelling in your leg, seek medical attention right away.

You’ve noticed skin changes

Varicose veins usually look like raised, twisted ropes under your skin. But sometimes, they can make the skin around them dry, itchy, or discolored.

If you notice redness, swelling, or open sores around your varicose veins, you could have venous stasis dermatitis. This condition develops when blood pools in your veins and starts breaking down the surrounding skin, and it requires professional care to start healing.

Your varicose vein won’t stop bleeding

Since varicose veins often sit close to the surface of your skin, they can be prone to injury. And if you bump or scratch a varicose vein, it can cause bleeding.

While minor bleeding is usually not a cause for concern, some varicose veins can bleed too much. If you have a bleeding varicose vein, start by elevating your leg and applying gentle pressure to the wound. If bleeding doesn't stop within a few minutes, seek immediate medical attention.

You have a wound that’s not healing

Sometimes, varicose veins can cause ulcers to form on your skin. Venous ulcers are painful, and they can take a long time to heal, which increases your risk of getting an infection. If you have an ulcer near a varicose vein that doesn't heal, it could be a sign of a more serious condition, like venous insufficiency.

You’re embarrassed by your varicose veins

Last but not least, varicose veins can be unsightly and embarrassing. If you’re embarrassed to wear shorts or sandals because of your veins, it’s time to consider getting help — whether or not you have other symptoms. Treating varicose veins for cosmetic reasons can also help prevent complications from developing later on.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with Dr. Shin and our team. We can evaluate your condition and develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs.

What to do about varicose veins

We offer a range of varicose vein treatments, depending on the severity of your condition.

Making lifestyle changes can help alleviate mild symptoms and prevent your varicose veins from getting worse. These changes include regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, wearing compression stockings, and avoiding long periods of standing or sitting.

For more severe cases, Dr. Shin may recommend a minimally invasive procedure. He offers ClosureFast™ vein ablation, a radiofrequency treatment that seals off the damaged vein quickly and effectively.

VenaSeal™ is another minimally invasive procedure that’s FDA-approved to treat varicose veins. Dr. Shin makes a small incision and uses a catheter to deliver a medical adhesive into the vein to seal it up. 

Finally, phlebectomy is an option that removes varicose veins completely. Dr. Shin makes a tiny three-millimeter incision to access each vein and remove it. Since the incisions are so small, no stitches are required. 

If you have varicose vein pain or other bothersome symptoms, it’s time to seek professional care. Our team at Houston Vein Specialists is here to diagnose your condition and determine your best course of treatment for healthy, pain-free legs.

Call our Houston, Texas, office at 346-214-1848 or request an appointment online to get started.