Symptoms and Signs of Varicose Veins

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 8/10/2021

Doctor's Notes on Varicose Veins Pain Relief, Symptoms, Causes, Pain Relief, Treatments, Surgery, and Prevention

Varicose veins are thickened, twisting, and/or dilated parts of a vein, and most occur in the legs. Although some individuals may have no symptoms, usual signs and symptoms of varicose veins include veins that can visibly protrude or bulge underneath the skin and may feel firm, hard, or rope-like when pressed on. Some may have redness, tenderness, and skin swelling associated with the veins. Legs with varicose veins may ache, feel heavy, itch, and may have pain on standing and/or leg cramps.

Although many theories exist, the majority of experts say that varicose veins are caused by defective or damaged valves within the veins that ideally prevent the backflow of venous blood. Malfunctioning valves let blood pool in veins, sometimes under pressure, resulting in varicose veins. Other related causes include genetics, obesity, prolonged standing, pregnancy, straining (coughing, constipation, for example), prior leg surgery and older age.

What Are the Treatments of Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins can be treated at home using the following suggestions:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Lose weight.
  • Do not wear tight clothing.
  • Elevate your legs.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for long time periods.
  • Use compression stockings.

Other treatments for more serious conditions include the following:

  • Sclerotherapy
  • Laser treatment
  • Catheter-assisted radiofrequency or laser energy
  • High ligation and vein stripping
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy
  • Endoscopic vein surgery

Talk with your doctor about which treatments are best for your condition.

Must Read Articles:


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.