What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins occur when the veins don’t function as they should.


Varicose veins are a common condition that can be a cosmetic concern, but which can also cause discomfort and pain. Varicose veins are caused by a number of factors, including increased blood volume in the legs due to age or pregnancy which leads to extra pressure on the vein walls, as well as weakening of those walls over time. If you are suffering with prominent varicose veins, it is best to see your doctor for a proper assessment and diagnosis so that they can recommend a treatment option that is most appropriate for you.

Read on to find out more about varicose veins, how to identify them and what causes them…

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins that typically occur when the veins become too filled with blood. They often appear raised, and are blue, purple or red in colour. Varicose veins are a common issue, affecting more women than men. While in many cases, they are merely a cosmetic concern, it is possible for them to cause pain and discomfort, especially as they worsen over time.

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins occur as the result of dysfunctional veins. When veins work properly, they have valves that stop blood from flowing backwards; but if these valves don’t function as they should, blood can accumulate in the veins instead of flowing towards the heart. When blood collects in the veins, the veins become swollen and enlarged.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of varicose veins. These include pregnancy; menopause; obesity; and standing for long periods of time. Advanced age is also a risk factor for varicose veins, as is a family history of the condition.

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

If you have varicose veins, you are likely to notice prominent, swollen and raised veins. Varicose veins usually occur on the legs, but can also affect other areas of the body. Besides their appearance, other possible symptoms of varicose veins include pain and swelling on and around the affected veins, as well as a sensation of heaviness and/or achiness.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is advisable that you seek professional help. Your doctor will be able to provide you with a proper diagnosis after performing an examination and assessment. In some cases, an ultrasound may be performed in order to identify which valves are affecting your blood flow, and to provide information as to how best the issue should be addressed.

Fortunately, varicose veins can be treated in a number of ways. The treatment that is most appropriate for you will depend on the severity of your varicose veins, as well as the particular symptoms with which you are struggling. In some cases, lifestyle changes may be enough to prevent varicose veins from worsening, while treatment options include compression, laser therapy and surgery.

How can we help?

At North Western Vascular, we offer surgical treatment for varicose veins. If you are struggling with particularly prominent varicose veins, we encourage you to come in and see us. We will perform a thorough examination and assessment and let you know if you are a suitable candidate for the treatment.

If you choose to go ahead with the surgery, you can expect the procedure to take around an hour or so. The duration of the treatment will, however, depend on the extent of your varicose veins. If you would like to find out more about varicose vein surgery and what the process involves, please have a look here.

We also offer less invasive treatment methods — these include endovenous laser (EVLT) and radiofrequency (RF). To find out what these treatments involve, please have a look here.

If you would like to book an appointment, please get in touch here, or alternatively call us on 03 9372 9999. We have three convenient locations in Melbourne: Moonee Ponds, Malvern and Gisborne. We look forward to welcoming you to one of our practices and providing you with an effective treatment.

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