Varicose veins occur most commonly in the legs. There, they are varcharacterized by becoming permanently dilated and twisted. The disorder occurs most commonly in adults, and can involve any of the body's veins. During pregnancy, veins in the vaginal lips and around the anus (hemorrhoids) also may become varicose.
Causes of Varicose Veins
The veins of the legs have valves to help blood return against gravity to the heart. Aging and disease of these valves leads to their failure. Valves may fail because of previous vein disease, such as thrombophlebitis; prolonged standing, pressure on veins in the pelvis from pregnancy, tumors, and fluid in the abdomen. The end result is that the veins become enlarged, tortuous and, at times, painful.
Signs and Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Symptoms of varicose veins include enlarged, disfiguring, snakelike, bluish veins that are visible under the skin, especially upon standing, They appear most often in the back of the calf or on the inside of the leg, anywhere from the ankle to the groin. Varicose veins often produce a vague discomfort or aching in the legs, especially after standing. Fatigue occurring in the muscles of the legs is also common.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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