Frequently Asked Questions | Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are a common circulatory disorder affecting 25% of all adults, and 50% of people age 50 and older, in the U.S. alone. Despite their prevalence, many patients still have questions about varicose veins and their causes,and most sufferers have little understanding of their condition or treatment options. Here are some of the most common questions about varicose veins and answers to help you better understand them:

Q: What causes varicose veins?

A: The two most important factors are heredity and hormones. Varicose veins run in families. Veins are affected by the female hormone estrogen, which explains why most patients with varicose veins are women. Standing for long periods of time is a factor also.

Q: What are symptoms of varicose veins?

A: Aside from being unattractive, varicose veins may be responsible for leg aches, or a feeling of heaviness or fatigue in the legs. The majority of sufferers will complain of leg ache at the end of the day. Symptoms are often worse after prolonged standing and may include feelings of fatigue, heaviness, aching, burning, throbbing, itching, cramping, and restlessness of the legs. With time, darkening or hyperpigmentation around the ankles is a classic feature of prolonged varicose veins.

Q: Can spider veins turn into varicose veins?

A: Varicose veins are often confused with spider veins, but in general, the two conditions are unconnected. Spider veins may be more visible or darker than normal veins, but they rarely protrude as significantly as varicose veins. These veins are generally not painful, and are treated cosmetically.

Q: Are compressions stockings an effective treatment?

A: Compression stockings can be a highly effective treatment for patients with varicose veins or other chronic venous insufficiencies. By applying direct pressure to the affected veins, these garments stimulate blood flow in them, reducing inflammation and preventing blood from accumulating. Compression stockings should be worn to complement a treatment plan, and you should always consult a doctor about which type of stocking is right for you.

Q: Can my diet affect my varicose veins?

A: What you eat can improve or make your varicose veins worse. Eating healthier foods including colorful fruits and vegetables and high-fiber foods contribute to a healthier body in general and in turn, healthier veins. In contrast, salty foods encourage water retention, putting greater pressure on veins.

Q: How are varicose veins treated?

A: There are a variety of treatment options available for patients. Each patient receives an individualized treatment plan based on their particular problem at the time of the initial consultation. With current technology, treatment of even the largest bulging varicose veins can be done without traditional vein stripping surgery.

Q: What will happen if I leave my varicose veins untreated?

A: When left untreated, varicose veins can result in sores, skin ulcers, blood clots, and even deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It’s best to treat varicose veins as soon as possible to avoid these costly and potentially life-threatening complications.

If you have further questions regarding varicose and/or spider veins, contact us today.


Elmore Medical Vein & Laser Treatment Center is the premier vein specialty medical practice in the Central Valley. Dr. Mario H. Gonzalez and his staff offer years of experience and medical expertise that you won’t find anywhere else. Contact us today to set up a consultation appointment.

Jennifer GuidryComment