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Do you often hide your legs because of the way they look? You may have noticed tiny red or blue bursts (spider veins). Or maybe you have veins that bulge or look twisted (varicose veins). If so, there are treatments that can help.

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins. They can occur anywhere in the body, but are particularly common in the surface veins in the legs.

Veins have one way valves to channel blood back to the heart. Varicose veins develop when the valves of the veins become damaged. This causes blood to pool in the veins, enlarging them and often making the veins just beneath the skin visible.

What Are the Symptoms?

Varicose veins may never be a problem. But sometimes they can cause legs to ache or swell. Your legs may also feel heavy and tired, or like they’re burning. These symptoms may be more severe at the end of the day. Prolonged sitting or standing can also make your symptoms worse.

Varicose veins may cause:

  • Enlarged, twisted, and swollen veins that are visible through the skin
  • Achy, tired, heavy feeling in the area of the varicose veins or generally in the legs, especially after standing
  • Leg cramps
  • Burning or throbbing pain in the legs
  • Itching
  • Swollen legs

In severe cases, varicose veins may cause skin changes. These changes occur under the area of the varicose veins and include:

  • Rashes
  • Discoloration
  • Sores that are difficult to heal

Who Gets Varicose Veins?

Anyone can get varicose veins. But vein problems tend to be hereditary (run in families). Other factors that can affect veins include:

  • Pregnancy, hormones, and birth control pills
  • A job where you stand or sit a lot
  • Extra weight or lack of exercise
  • Age

What Can Be Done?

Varicose veins can affect the way you feel about yourself. Talk to your doctor about your concerns. There are treatments that can ease symptoms and make your legs look better.

Treatment Options

Treatment may include self-care, sclerotherapy (injecting veins with a chemical), or surgery.