Causes of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are enlarged veins characterized by their ugly, bulging appearance. They are often dark purple or blue in color and may cause aches, heaviness or other pains in the legs. Many patients seek treatment for varicose veins, as they may cause embarrassment or self-consciousness in some individuals and/or pain and discomfort in others.

Cause May Vary

The possible cause of varicose veins may vary. Veins return blood from the rest of the body to the heart. Valves in the veins open to let blood through and close to prevent blood from flowing backwards. Inefficient blood flow or problems with these valves may lead to varicose veins. What causes this to happy may vary.


Another possible cause of varicose veins is pregnancy. Pregnant women have more blood in their body than is normal when they are not pregnant. When pregnant, however, the flow of blood from the legs to the pelvis is disrupted which may lead to enlarged veins in the legs. In the latter stages of pregnancy, the uterus is harder on the veins in the legs, which may worsen symptoms.


As people get older the loss of elasticity in the veins may lead to stretching. If the valves in the veins become weak, blood may begin to flow backwards. If the blood pools, it stretches the veins, enlarging them. The dark blue appearance is attributed to the deoxygenated blood. The treatment for varicose veins may vary depending on their cause. Varicose veins that result from pregnancy usually resolve on their own and should not require treatment. Patients who experience varicose veins for other reasons often seek treatment to improve symptoms.

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