What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are caused when the valves in the veins do not function properly. This allows blood to pool in the veins, instead of being circulated to your heart – this is also known as venous insufficiency or vein disease. As more blood accumulates, the veins will become swollen and raised. Varicose veins appear enlarged, twisted, or bulging and are most commonly seen in the legs. These veins may also appear discolored and cause swelling or pain around the affected vein.
When blood is allowed to pool within the veins, some people may experience itching, burning, restlessness at night, a feeling of heaviness, or difficulty standing for long periods of time. In contrast to varicose veins, spider veins are small, flat blood vessels that can sometimes accompany larger varicose veins.
How Do I Know if I Have Varicose Veins?
Symptoms of vein disease range for each person; however, many people experience one or all of the following:
- Swelling of the legs or ankles
- Feeling of heaviness in one of both of the legs
- Difficulty standing for long periods of time
- Restlessness, especially at night
- Itching, burning, tingling, or numb sensations
- Skin discoloration
- Slow-healing or non-healing wounds
- Legs are chronically dry or scaly
There are many people who have venous insufficiency but do not experience any symptoms – this is called being asymptomatic. Symptoms of vein disease should not be disregarded or misconstrued as being “just a part of the aging process”. If your symptoms are becoming bothersome or beginning to interfere with daily activities, it is important to get your legs checked out.
What Causes Varicose Veins to Burst?
In some severe, untreated cases of varicose veins, the walls of the vein may weaken so drastically in which may cause them to rupture. When they are under pressure due to blood pooling, these weakened veins and valves can result in bleeding and ulcers.
Ruptured veins can occur anywhere on the leg; however, they tend to happen around the lower leg and ankle. This sudden bleeding can seep into the surrounding tissues or even through the surface of the skin if the skin has become thin over the vein.
When Can This Happen?
Allowing varicose veins to get worse over time and ignoring painful symptoms is the main cause of varicose veins bursting. Many people think varicose vein treatment is solely a cosmetic issue; however, varicose veins are a sign of a serious, underlying condition.
It is most likely a varicose vein will burst if you:
- Take a hot shower which can cause dilation of the veins
- Are someone who is taking blood thinners
- Scrape, nick, or bruise your skin close the varicose vein
What to Do When a Varicose Vein Bursts?
When a varicose vein bursts, you will need to call your Emergency number to get to the hospital right away. In the meantime, it is important to to elevate the leg that is bleeding and apply pressure to the site.
After you have visited the ER, it is important to schedule an appointment with a vascular specialist to treat the underlying cause of your vein disease. Vascular specialists will use ultrasound technology to map out the malfunctioning veins and create a treatment plan for you.
Learn more about minimally invasive, outpatient vein treatment and how it can help you avoid conditions like ruptured varicose veins from occurring.