Varicose Veins: Symptoms and When You Should See a Doctor

Posted on July 20, 2016 by Cynthia M. Poulos, M.D.

Varicose veins are a problem for many aging adults and pregnant women. A varicose vein is a swollen and/or twisted vein that can be easily seen under the surface of the skin. In appearance they look blue or purple. These usual develop in the legs, but it is not uncommon for them to appear in other parts of the body as well.

Varicose veins are seen quite commonly in aging adults and pregnant women. While most of the time varicose veins are harmless, there are situations in which it could be a sign of a much greater issue though, so it is something you should keep an eye out for.

Here is a list of symptoms that are common with varicose veins:

  • Color of your veins has been darkened to blue or a dark shade of purple
  • Your veins begin to look like they are getting twisted or bulging

If you begin to suffer discomfort from your varicose veins then it could be a sign of a greater issue, you might experience one of the following painful symptoms:

  • Your lower legs begin to burn, swell and/or have muscle cramps
  • Your vein begins to become harder and your skin becomes inflamed around the vein. If you notice this happening to your veins then it could be a sign of a greater vascular disease and you should seek medical attention immediately
  • Your legs begin to hurt after you sit or stand for an extended period of time
  • The location of your varicose veins begins to itch.
  • An achy-like feeling in your legs which can also make your legs feel heavier
  • The twisted cord of your vein begins to become red and discolored
  • Your veins begin to bleed

When should I see a doctor?

Simply exercising, wearing compression socks/stockings, and/or elevating your legs is a great way to help reduce your risks of developing varicose veins. It is also a great way to help reverse their prominence. Should varicose veins continue to pose a problem after you have exhausted your self-care options, then you should consult a doctor immediately.