Varicose Veins Have Many Causes and Can Be a Sign of Other Medical Conditions

October 14, 2022

Vivian Torres, MDVivian Torres, MD, vascular surgeon at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, provides some helpful information on diagnosing and treating varicose veins.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are caused by non-working valves in the legs that pool blood into the legs and cause swelling and discoloration.

Is it more common in men or women?

Women are more prone to developing this condition. According to the Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Therapy, as many as 40 million Americans, mostly women, have varicose veins. The American College of Phlebotomy estimates that 55% of American women will suffer from this during their lifetimes. Compared to men, women are at four times greater risk of developing the knotted, sometimes painful, bulging leg veins.

What are some of the causes of varicose veins?

  • Pregnancy: Blood volume increases on vein walls.
  • Obesity: Added weight puts pressure on the veins.
  • Extended standing or sitting: Doing either for a long period of time can cause the veins to swell.
  • Genetics: Your risk increases if a family member suffered from this condition.
  • Age: With age, vein walls weaken and calf muscles lose tone, making them more susceptible to expanding.

Are varicose veins related to any other medical condition?

Yes. Varicose veins may be related to chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This causes leg pain and swelling, along with leg restlessness, skin damage and even open sores.

What are the treatment options for varicose veins?

All treatments are outpatient and include:

  • VenaSeal™ closure system procedure uses a small amount of medical adhesive to close a diseased vein.
  • Varithena™ uses an FDA-approved prescription microfoam to cause the problematic vein to collapse.
  • ClosureFast™ procedure uses heat to shrink and close the diseased vein.
  • Sclerotherapy, in which a vein is injected with sclerosant medication to make it disappear.
  • Phlebectomy, where an unhealthy vein is removed through very small incisions on the skin.

What happens if varicose veins are not treated?

Most varicose veins are uncomplicated and may remain asymptomatic. Some progress and start causing symptoms, such as pain, fatigue and swelling. Not all varicose veins need treatment.

What are the treatment options for CVI?

There are minimally invasive in-office procedures that can precisely and effectively treat CVI and are covered under most insurance plans.

  • VenaSeal™, closure system procedure, uses a small amount of medical adhesive to close a diseased vein.
  • ClosureFast™ procedure uses heat to shrink and close the diseased vein.

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Torres or one of our other vascular specialists, call our free physician referral service at 800-454-8215 or schedule online.