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When Should I See A Doctor About My Varicose Veins?

There are 7 Reasons Why You Should See a Doctor About Your Varicose Veins:

1. Severe Symptoms; 2. Dry Itchy Rash Near Your Ankle; 3. You Had Vein Problems During Pregnancy; 4. The Skin Near Your Ankle is Weeping or Has an Ulcer; 5. You have Blue Veins on Your Ankle; 6. Your Ankle is Swollen at the End of the Day; 7. Your Varicose Vein has a Tender Lump

Varicose Veins are Cosmetic

No one likes the appearance of leg spider veins and varicose veins.

Many people find that they are unable to wear the sorts of clothes they would wish to and many avoid social activities that might expose their legs.

Put simply, many people are very embarrassed by the appearance of their leg veins. 

And don’t think it is just women who find that their leg veins are a cosmetic problem. Men also take pride in their appearance and they too seek treatment for their leg veins.

Varicose Veins are also a Medical Issue

Varicose Veins are not only cosmetic. The underlying problem is a medical condition called superficial venous reflux. This underlying problem causes the visible varicose veins and it requires a full assessment by Duplex Ultrasound. Superficial Venous Reflux is a progressive abnormality, which, if left untreated can cause serious complications such as phlebitis, varicose eczema, leg ulceration, bleeding and deep vein thrombosis.

When Should I Be Worried About My Varicose Veins?

So here are the 7 reasons you should consider consulting a doctor about your veins:

You Have Severe Symptoms

Varicose Veins can cause ache, throbbing and a feeling of heaviness. These symptoms are typically worse at the end of a day, if you have been standing for a long period of time: and the symptoms are relieved by elevating your legs. Most people find that they have no symptoms at the beginning of the day. For mild symptoms, people may get relief by the use of graduated compression socks. However, in line with guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care excellence (NICE), people with severe symptoms should be referred to a vein specialist.


You Have a Rash Near Your Ankle

The presence of a dry itchy rash around the ankle indicates that you might have a condition called varicose eczema. In the early stages, the rash may come and go. It tends to be worse in the winter months, it gets better in the summer and it responds well to simple moisturizing creams. However varicose eczema indicates the skin is being damaged by superficial vein reflux. 

how is varicose eczema diagnosed

If varicose eczema is neglected, it may deteriorate and spread. As the varicose eczema gets worse the rash may begin to weep and get infected or the skin may break down forming an ulcer.

You’ve had problems with your veins during pregnancy

Veins may appear for the first time during pregnancy. There are three reasons for this. Firstly, there are a number of hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy that cause the smooth muscle in veins to relax. In susceptible people, for example those with a strong family history of varicose veins, this may lead to the stretching of the veins, damage to the vein valves and varicose vein formation. Secondly, during pregnancy, the blood volume increases by approximately 30%. This puts a strain on the vein circulation and, once again in susceptible people, the valves in the veins may give way causing superficial vein reflux and varicose vein formation. The presence of the growing baby inside the pelvis of the pregnant woman can lead to a degree of obstruction to the vein circulation. This also puts a strain on the vein circulation. Weak valves in the veins may give way, leading to superficial vein reflux. 

If a woman has had a severe problem with her veins during pregnancy, it is likely she will have problems with subsequent pregnancies. After you've had a baby, it is usually appropriate to seek the advice of a vein specialist if you are considering having more children.

You’ve Developed a Leg Ulcer

A leg ulcer describes a break in the skin, which allows air and bacteria to get into the leg. This is often caused by an injury, usually a minor one that cuts or grazes the skin.

In healthy people such an injury heals up quickly within a week or two. However, if the person has an underlying health problem, the skin does not heal and the area of breakdown can increase in size. This is what is meant by the term “chronic leg ulcer”.

Initially, a venous leg ulcer should be managed by a specialist team experienced in cleaning and dressing the ulcer and in this way, the ulcer can be healed by using compression, such as bandages or stockings. This specialist team may be attached to a GP surgery. Most GP surgeries have a “leg ulcer nurse” supported by healthcare assistants. 

However there has been a tendency for bandaging and dressings to go on for months or even years. Recently published research confirms that venous leg ulcers are best treated by early intervention by either Endovenous Laser Ablation or Foam Sclerotherapy which not only results in quicker healing, but also reduces the risk of the ulcer recurring.

The Skin Near Your Ankle is Weeping

An area of eczema may begin to ooze fluid or “weep” through small cracks in the skin surface. When this fluid dries it may leave a “crust”. When fluid leaks out, the eczema becomes wet and weeps. Weeping is potentially serious because it means that the skin has microscopic cracks in it. These cracks allow fluid out but they also may allow infection in sometimes leading to sepsis. Weeping also means that the skin is very vulnerable and that even a small knock or injury can start a leg ulcer. A leg ulcer in unhealthy skin affected by varicose eczema is very difficult to get healed. Even once healed, a leg ulcer often comes back. For these reasons, it is always best to act when varicose eczema develops and weeping is a particularly important sign that treatment is urgent.

You have Blue or Bulging Veins Around Ankle

Bulging Varicose Veins, as well as spider veins and blue veins around the ankles are an important sign of Superficial Venous Reflux

If they cause discomfort, swelling or a skin rash, they should be taken seriously and investigated by Duplex Ultrasound Scanning.

Your Ankle is Swollen at the End of the Day

There are many reasons why your ankle might swell at the end of the day .  However, if you have severe varicose veins caused by superficial vein reflux, you will almost certainly have some degree of ankle swelling. If your ankle is normal in the morning and begins to swell during the course of the day, then it is likely that you have a problem with the valves inside your veins. For this reason, you should consider seeing your doctor. The commonest cause of swollen ankles and feet is a problem with the valves of the leg veins. This condition is called ‘Chronic Venous Insufficiency’ and the swelling is referred to as ‘Venous Oedema’.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency accounts for 90% of cases of fluid retention around the ankle. Chronic Venous Insufficiency is diagnosed by a Duplex Ultrasound Scan.

You’ve a tender lump

If you have a tender lump in your varicose veins, it is highly likely that it is caused by a clot. This is a condition called superficial vein thrombosis. The more common term that is used is “phlebitis”. Phlebitis is an inflammation of the vein caused by the presence of the clot. It can disperse and the phlebitis then gets better, but sometimes phlebitis is serious and the condition may become dangerous.


Many people seek cosmetic treatment for their varicose veins to boost their confidence, to wear clothes without embarrassment and to improve their self esteem.

Other important reasons to see advice and treatment are:

  1. Severe Symptoms
  2. Dry Itchy Rash Near Your Ankle
  3. You Had Vein Problems During Pregnancy
  4. The Skin Near Your Ankle is Weeping or Has an Ulcer
  5. You have Blue Veins on Your Ankle
  6. Your Ankle is Swollen at the End of the Day 
  7. Your Varicose Vein has a Tender Lump

If you would like more information about varicose veins, please get in contact and one of our advisors will be happy to help you.