Bulging leg veins are a common symptom shown in various medical health conditions, such as pregnancy, older age, and defective valves in the veins. These veins are often known as varicose veins, and are seen as swollen, twisting veins that can lead to discomfort or pain. These veins are often seen near the legs and ankles.
However, varicose veins are becoming more commonly seen as an early symptom of vein disease. Contact our office if you experience enlarged leg veins and any other vein disease symptoms including swelling and skin ulcers.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that are often seen around the legs and ankles. There is a chance that any vein may become varicose, but those in the leg and ankle area are more commonly found. Walking and standing upright for a long period of time will increase blood pressure in the veins near the lower body area.
For many, varicose veins are shown to be an early stage in vein disease. Aching pain and discomfort around the legs and ankles are early symptoms of vein disease. These issues can lead to more problematic medical health concerns in an individual’s future.
Usually, treatment is required when there is noticeable pain or discomfort coming from the varicose veins. Fortunately, time to recover from treatment is fairly quick. Doctors will most likely suggest treatment if an individual has complications such as skin discoloration, swelling, or leg ulcers.
Smaller varicose veins and spider veins are often treated using laser treatments. These procedures use lasers on certain veins to make them fade and eventually disappear.
Radiofrequency Thermal Ablation
Radiofrequency ablation is a common procedure to treat varicose veins. The procedure uses heat from radiofrequency to send heat to a catheter. The heat causes the varicose vein to collapse, and blood flow reroutes to healthier veins as a result.
An incision is made with the help of an ultrasound scan, then the doctor threads the catheter into the treated varicose vein. Radiofrequency then heats the catheter, which then heats the walls of the vein. When the walls collapse, the vein is then sealed shut. Radiofrequency ablation treatment is usually completed while a patient is under a local anesthesia.
For most individuals who have bulging leg veins, there is no pain near the area of the vein. This can be problematic for those who do not identify the early symptoms of bulging veins. Symptoms to be aware of include:
- Swollen, twisted, and enlarged vein in leg
- Dark colored veins, usually purple and blue
- Aching around legs and ankles
- Heaviness in legs
- Longer bleeding from minor injuries around leg
- Spider veins near surface of skin
- Discoloration of skin near varicose veins
- Leg cramps and restless leg syndrome
If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, please consult your doctor. Taking proper action during the early stages can reduce the future complications from varicose veins.
Complications can result from just about any condition where troubling blood flow occurs. Such complications from bulging veins include:
- Blood clots in the varicose vein area causing inflammation.
- Bleeding around the leg and ankle area.
- Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) – skin does not pass nutrients and oxygen properly because of weak blood flow. Varicose veins do not cause CVI, but are often related to one another.
Individuals who suffer from CVI may also develop varicose eczema, vein ulcers, and lipodermatosclerosis as a result. Seek medical attention if you notice skin discoloration and ulcers begin to form around the ankles.
Veins only have one-way valves, this way blood travels in only a single direction. When the walls of veins become stretched and elastic, these valves begin to weaken. These weak valves allow blood to leak backward, and eventually flow opposite its original direction. This causes blood pool in the veins, causing them to become swollen and enlarged.
Veins further from the heart are the most affected. Because gravity makes it difficult for blood to flow back to the heart, leg veins are commonly the veins that become varicose. Any condition that puts pressure on the abdomen also has the potential to cause varicose veins. Any condition can include constipation, pregnancy, and even tumors.
The cause of stretched and faulty valves is often unclear for some individuals. In some cases, there is no clear reason for bulging veins. Risk factors for enlarged leg veins may include:
- Prolonged sitting or standing
- Family history of bulging veins
- Old age
There are also risk factors that are linked to individuals who have a higher risk of varicose veins. These factors include:
- Genetics: Family history of varicose veins
- Gender: Women are more prone to varicose veins than men
- Obesity: Heavy weight increases varicose vein risk
- Age: Wear and tear on veins can lead to varicose veins
- Jobs: Prolonged sitting or standing increases chances of varicose veins
Pregnancy and Varicose Veins
Women have much higher chances of developing varicose whens during pregnancy. In fact, pregnancy may be the highest chance for varicose veins than any other stage in life for women. The amount of blood in the body increases during pregnancy, which causes extra pressure on the circulatory system .
Changes in hormone levels are also a leading factor in relaxing the walls of a vein’s blood vessels. This can cause irregular blood flow, raising the chances of developing varicose veins as a result.
Compression stockings are often used after treatment for varicose veins. These stockings essentially squeeze a patient’s leg resulting in improved blood circulation. Compression stockings are often tight around the ankle area, while loosening up around the top of the leg. This is to encourage better blood flow up the leg and back towards the heart.
Compression stockings are often used to help with any pain, discomfort, or swelling a patient may experience after their procedure. However, there has been no research to show that compression stockings have actually helped varicose veins from worsening. Contact your medical doctor if you notice that compression stockings have made your skin dry or flaky.
A doctor’s physical examination can decide if a patient has to take action for their varicose veins. The diagnosis process starts with a check for any signs of swelling around the legs and ankles. Once this is completed, your medical doctor may perform a diagnostic ultrasound..
An ultrasound scan checks the direction of a patient’s blood flow. Not only does the test check for blood flow direction, but it also checks for any clots that may have occurred in the veins. During the test technician will also measure the diameter of specific veins.
People Also Ask:
Here are some frequently asked questions about bulging leg veins.
What causes bulging veins in your legs?
Bulging leg veins form as a result of damaged valves in the veins. Veins carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body, and then back to the heart. Veins also only direct blood in one direction. When bulging leg veins form, they come from blood flow pooling in veins around the leg and ankle area. The collection of blood makes the veins bulge.