DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Is it possible to treat varicose veins? I have several that don’t bother me much but a few that are slightly painful.
ANSWER: For many women, varicose veins are all too common. Although most look worse than they feel, varicose veins can cause aches and pains in the legs. In rare cases, they can lead to more serious problems. Lifestyle changes can help relieve pain and keep varicose veins from getting worse. A number of minimally invasive medical procedures also are available to close off or remove varicose veins.
Veins anywhere in the body can become enlarged and twisted (varicose). Varicose veins most commonly occur in the legs and feet. Age, pregnancy, obesity or work that involves standing for long periods can all increase the risk of developing varicose veins. So can genetics and your gender. If other family members had varicose veins, there’s a greater chance you will, too. Women also are more likely to develop this problem than are men.
Varicose veins are sometimes viewed as just a cosmetic concern. Most varicose veins are dark purple or blue in color. They can also bulge out from under the skin, making them quite noticeable. However, varicose veins can cause other problems, including an achy or heavy feeling in your legs. Some people also experience throbbing, cramping or mild swelling in the lower legs — especially after standing for long periods of time.