Doctor Eston Wenger

Feb 16, 2021 | From the Desk of Dr. Eston Wenger of Premier Surgical Cleveland

What Causes Varicose Veins?

We’ve all seen our fair share of varicose veins – maybe on an elderly relative, a pregnant friend, or maybe even on your own legs. Why do these blue spidery or perhaps bulging veins appear and what can you do to prevent or fix them? First let’s look at the underlying cause and we’ll look at some prevention techniques in our next blog.

If you aren’t familiar with varicose veins, they are the highly visible, often misshapen veins usually found on your legs. You may feel pain, swelling, or achiness around these veins. You may see discoloration, potentially bleeding, and even ulcers in some more severe cases.

Varicose veins are fairly simple to understand once you know a little bit about the anatomy of a vein. Remember, we’re talking about veins specifically, there are no varicose arteries. Veins are the blood vessels returning blood to your heart. So that enlarged, perhaps painful, blue line across your thigh – that blood was traveling up, against gravity.

When the muscles in your legs and feet help pump this deoxygenated blood upward against gravity and back toward your heart, your body has some mechanisms that keep that blood from flowing back down toward your feet. Those mechanisms are one-way valves inside the vein. Over time, these valves may weaken. This may be due to age, genetics, occupation (standing for long periods), pregnancy, or any other number of factors. No matter what the underlying cause is, when any of these valves weaken, blood is able to drain back into the section below the valve. Now there’s too much blood in that section of the vein, exerting extra pressure on the walls which causes the swelling of the vein you associate with varicose veins.

Spider veins can be a precursor to varicose veins. Spider veins are fairly superficial and typically aren’t painful. They are simply discolored veins appearing underneath the skin. Spider veins can be caused by hormonal changes including pregnancy, prolonged standing, or even an injury – especially a circulation injury.

Next month we’ll cover some at prevention techniques and simple treatments for varicose veins. If you’re already experiencing, unsightly swelling, or just want to get out in front of the problem before it gets worse, give Dr. Eston Wenger, a call at Premier Surgical Associates of Cleveland, TN (423) 472-5423 or click here to request an appointment online.

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