Varicose Veins By Thomas Pix, FlickrWhat is Varicosis?

Varicosis is a painful condition caused by varicose veins.  Varicosis and varicose veins are caused when veins become filled with an large or abnormal collection of blood causing the veins to become swollen and very painful.

What Causes Varicosis and Varicose Veins?

Valves within the vein move the blood to to the heart.   When the valves in the veins do not function properly, blood pools in the vein causing the enlargement of the vein.  These enlarged veins are caused varicose veins.  Varicosis generally affects veins in the legs and is most commonly found in women.

The most common causes of Varicosis and Varicose Veins are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Defective valves in the veins from birth
  • Thrombophlebitis

Extensive standing can exacerbate varicosis.

What Are the Symptoms of Varicosis?

Aching or pain in the legs, enlarged veins, swollen ankles, skin discoloration at the ankles, ulcers near the ankle.

How is Varicosis or Varicose Veins diagnosed?

Varicosis is generally visually diagnosed based upon swelling of the veins in the legs while the legs are hanging or dangling.

A duplex ultrasound exam may be used to see blood flowing in the legs and to rule out blood clots.  An angiogram may also be performed to confirm that other disorders are not present. 

How are Varicose Veins or Varicosis treated?

Most doctors will prescribe a fairly standard or conservative treatment: avoid excessive standing, keep your legs elevated when sleeping, and wear support hose whenever possible.

There are surgical and non-surgical options for varicosis.    

Vein stripping is a surgical option used to remove varicose veins.  Vein stripping is used for patients suffering from significant pain or skin ulcers. 

Other non-invasive treatments for Varicosis or Varicose Veins include:  laser ablation, sclerotherapy, and radiofrequency ablation.


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