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Conditions

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins (Photo from Wellcome Trust)

Your legs might look an aerial view of a flesh-coloured mountain range, but varicose veins are a very common condition. Rare in people under 20, but more common with age and pregnancy, women tend to be more affected than men, with approximately 30% of women developing varicose veins in their life time, compared to only 15% of men. Varicose veins are swollen and enlarged veins, which are usually blue or dark purple in colour and lumpy, bulging, or twisted in appearance. They occur when blood collects in veins with damaged or weakened valves, which usually work to prevent blood destined for the heart from travelling backwards. It’s a bit like the directional arrows that usher IKEA customers through the store. If everyone just buys their £7 uplighter and moves on, all runs smoothly. But if the system breaks down and a few bargain-hunting renegades push their trolley against the flow, then we’ll see multiple clogs forming! Always an unpleasant sight.

What the Men in White Coats Say

Comments and Questions

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I have varicous veins, is it safe to fly?.





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I am 40 and have been using the contraceptive patch evra for the past ten years. Approx 6 years ago I started to develop red and purple bruise type rashes all over my right and left ankles inside and out which is spreading rapidly. I've been to see a vascular surgeon and have been told it's the worst case he has seen without having varicose veins and he will not be able to treat it. Please could someone help tell me what this is and how I can stop it from spreading as this is effecting me mentally. An nhs doctor told me to get over it and that it was cosmetic. Yes it may appear cosmetic but it is spreading so something must be wrong and I desperately need to be able to stop it. I do wonder if it may be something to do with the contraceptive patch?





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Im 36 ....always had small spiders veins . Ended up in the ER about a month ago with a busted vein on the back of my knee. Told me to wear compression stockings :/ I live in the south and am extremely active and fit ...no way I'm i going to sweat to death and wear compressions stockings . Now I have another one on my other leg ....fun fun! I have yet to see my regular doctor :( my self esteem has been severely impacted and it is starting to show in my marriage and all aspects of my life :( I wish some new research would provide better treatments for us and possible preventive measures that actually work! For now when my leg start to ache I elevate them . It doesn't work lol. I also have a 2 year old so getting to rest ...ha ha ha . That lasts for a minute!





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I also have compression stocking but there is difference in age. I am only 14

Hi my name is Leanne, I'm 25 years old and first noticed my varicose veins at aged 10! They run in my family who have had operations for theirs, however even after going to the gp quite a few times for this over the last 15 years, I have been told treatment is not available on the NHS. My varicose veins start at my groin, right down to my feet. They are dark blue and bubbly where they bulge out of my skin down the backs of both legs and over my knee and down the front of my calves. Also I have what they call spider/thread veins in clusters on the backs of my thighs and on my calves and feet. They caused me aching and pain even when young fit and healthy. Now I have had 2 children and still cant get treatment despite them getting worse. Since the age of 10 because of how severe my veins are I have NEVER been able to wear anything above the ankle that will show my legs! When playing on the floor with my daughter (pretending to be animals) I have leaned on a vein which has burst beneath the surface causing a horrible bruise and pain! I think its awful how older people can get treatment due to age but I have had to live with both the pain and embarrassment of these most of my life! They will only get worse but I have been told until I have problems such as ulcers or blood clots, I wont get help! Sorry ladies but if like me you cant afford to go private its something you've got to live with. :(





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Hi I'm a 33 year old lady, who used to ride horses. I now have protruding veins on both my legs, and clearly visible. Now I have also discovered a smaller painful one on the back of my left leg. As soon as it gets hot it starts to throb and become quite painful. I'm really embarrassed them and have certain people making fun of them. I never get my legs out. Please help





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Hey, I'm a fifteen year old female and I have this and I am really worried about it. Will it go away with more exercise or will this make it worse?





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I'm writing in hope that you may be able to help me. Since I was 16 years old, I developed small dark green/purple spider like veins on my lower calves. Some thick and some thin. They are either all or just branch out in a cluster. They have gradually spread and become more visible in different parts all over my leg. More so on the left leg, the one I had EVLA on. I'm 37 years old now. I'm not over weight, never have been. I'm energetic, fit and believe that this could be hereditary. I've never had a baby either. So the common forms of developing veins in my case is ruled out. I've seen various vascular surgeon over the years. I had the EVLA treatment 2 years a ago on my left leg because during a scan in a consultation it showed that I had a collapsed, damaged vein that was the cause of my pain. I was advised scolotherapy treatment for the veins. Sadly it didn't work. I tried this treatment with various surgeons, I spent so much money and no success. I've tried make up cover up on my legs, creams and many more. I'm determined to find the right treatment that can get rid of my ghastly veins once and for all so that I can enjoy my legs without feeling insecure and dread the summers. Whist I remain sceptical, I am determined. You are my last hope. I'm hoping with today's technology you maybe able to advise me or recommend some one who just may help me. I really look forward to hearing from you.





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Hi, I'm 26 years old and have suffered from varicose veins since I was 17. I am so self conscious about wearing anything that shows my legs And feel less than a woman because I never wear dresses or skirts. Any suggestions? Please help.





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I'm 33 years old and i have varicose veins i also got a foot ulcer due to my veins i have had loads of tests done and on the scan they said they can't give me an operation because all of my valves are not working even in the deep veins so they say they can't do nothing for me apart from wearing stockings for the rest of my life and i will always suffer from ulcers.is there anything else that can be done as in like operation wise





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I suffer from varicose veins and at times they ache and my legs swell up I have been to the hospital and they say there not deep vein but surface veins..my doctors wont agree to me having an operation because they say its cosmetic ad I don't have the money to go private so is there anything to stop my legs acheing...theres times I don't know what to do with myself because my legs feel uncomfortable





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Content supplied by NHS Choices

Varicose veinsare dark purple or blue in colour, and are usually twisted and bulging in appearance. Some people with varicose veins will not experience any pain or discomfort, while others are more severely affected. Read More »

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