Phlebologist Questions Varicose Veins

What happens if varicose veins go untreated?

I'm 40 years old, and I have had varicose veins on the back of my calves for at least 2 years. I haven't had any treatment for them whatsoever, mainly because they haven't been bothering me. What happens if varicose veins go untreated?

5 Answers

Varicose veins may stay the same or enlarge. If they are asymptomatic, that's a good sign. It means it's unlikely that there is significant venous disease which is leading to the visible varicose veins. Without underlying disease, these veins will often be a cosmetic nuisance, and rarely a health issue. Still, it's good to get evaluated by a vein specialist to know if there's a problem with the underlying veins that is contributing to the varicosities you see.
If they are simple varicosities there are typically no dangerous consequences if they go untreated. Varicose veins are usually recommended to be treated only if symptomatic.
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Nothing may happen if you take care of your legs. THis means wearing compression. I have had my varicose veins for more than 20 years but fairly religiously wear compression socks even in the summer. You do have a higher risk of forming clots than someone who never had varicose veins but depending on whether the varicose veins are a reflection of deep vein problems, removal may not make this risk less . Additionally, many of the procedures done have a small risk of causing clots. If you travel for long trips, definitely wear compression and consider taking a baby aspirin if you have no medical condition that aspirin can affect to help prevent clots on the day of travel
Untreated varicose veins usually progressively worsen, either by getting bigger or by extending down the leg. The underlying problem is usually malfunctioning venous valves and if this occurs in your great or small saphenous vein, this problem can lead to bigger problems like discoloration of the skin, eczema, or even venous ulcers or open wounds most commonly on the inner ankle. A venous ultrasound is a simple, noninvasive test that will determine whether or not your varicose veins are related to a valve problem in your saphenous veins and your local vein specialist will have a variety of treatment methods for you to consider if they are.
Varicose veins are not dangerous, but can be painful or unsightly and may in some cases rupture or may result in the formation of ulcers. It’s best to get an evaluation by your doctor or a vein specialist near you.