Signs of varicose veins of the legs are often found in women; this pathology is detected in almost one of every three women. This disease, accompanied by an expansion of the lumen and a thinning of the walls of the venous vessels, leads not only to the appearance of cosmetic defects, but is also accompanied by pain and malnutrition of the tissues of the lower extremities. As a result, if left untreated, a woman can develop trophic leg ulcers, leading to even more serious complications. That is why the beginning of treatment for varicose veins should always be timely.
The signs of varicose veins of the legs in women are not always noticed in the initial stages; sometimes the disease persists latently for a long time.
Causes and first signs
The veins of the legs are affected by varicose veins under the influence of the following factors:
- sedentary lifestyle;
- long stay in a static position;
- taking high-dose contraceptives;
- increased abdominal pressure with frequent or prolonged coughing, sneezing, or constipation;
- overload during training or physical effort;
- leg injuries;
- pelvic pathology;
- excessive use of bronzers or heat treatments;
- wear uncomfortable shoes;
- the habit of sitting cross-legged;
- alcohol abuse;
- old age.
Due to an increase in pressure in the venous vessels and stagnation of the blood, the vessels dilate, the blood flowing in them changes its direction and speed of flow, as the walls of the vessels change fromtone and valves stop working normally. As a result, changes in the veins lead to the development of a vicious cycle in the hemodynamics and other functions of the venous vessels.
In the initial stages of varicose veins, blood flow can still be compensated for by conservative means: wearing compression underwear, gymnastics, and the use of venotonic medications. However, as the disease progresses, changes in the structure of the veins become irreversible and can only be removed surgically.
The symptoms of varicose veins can significantly alter the normal rhythm of life.
The following manifestations can become the first signs of varicose veins in the legs:
- heaviness in the legs;
- the appearance of telangiectasias: spider veins and meshes of different colors (bluish, red, black);
- feeling of fullness during prolonged stay in a motionless position (sitting, standing);
- seizures at night;
- relief of symptoms after walking or resting in a horizontal position.
Often, the first manifestations of this common disease are attributed to fatigue and the visit to the doctor can be postponed until the serious consequences of the disease appear. As the expansion of the venous walls progresses, the symptoms become more pronounced, and then new ones are added to the previous manifestations.
Varicose enlargement in later stages is manifested by the following symptoms:
- rapid fatigue in the legs;
- feeling full of fluid;
- soft tissue swelling after exertion;
- translucency and protrusion of large veins above the skin;
- itchy skin;
- bruising due to ruptured large vessels;
- peeling skin;
- hair loss;
- trophic ulcers.
In the context of varicose veins in women, blood clots (thrombi) can form in the lumen of the veins. When they migrate through the bloodstream, consequences of varying severity develop: thrombosis, phlembothrombosis, the development of cardiovascular diseases, the opening and suppuration of ulcers, the entry of blood clots into the vessels of the heart or lungs.
Diagnosis and treatment
To confirm the diagnosis, the woman should contact a vascular surgeon and undergo an examination. The diagnostic plan includes an exam with instrumental studies:
- Doppler ultrasound of the vessels of the legs;
- duplex anioscan;
- X-ray and radionuclide methods.
Tactics for treating leg varicose veins are determined by the stage of the disease. Conservative media can be used from the start:
- wearing compression stockings or bandaging with elastic bandages;
- sufficient physical activity;
- wearing comfortable shoes;
- physical therapy exercises;
- elimination of static load on the legs;
- venotonics application.
The duration of conservative therapy is individual and depends on the rate of progression of the disease and compliance with the doctor's recommendations. It can be supplemented with a special diet, which involves the introduction of foods in the diet that help strengthen the walls of the blood vessels.
The likelihood of varicose veins regressing under the avalanche of conservative treatments is determined by each clinical case. In many ways, the success of therapy depends on the timeliness of the doctor visit.
Additionally, these therapies are recommended in the preparation stage for surgical treatment or for those patients who are contraindicated for invasive intervention.
On occasion, prevention of the progression of varicose veins may consist of minimally invasive interventions. They are applicable only for strict indications, which are determined during the examination of the patient.
Treatment of varicose veins in advanced stages generally involves performing a surgical, minimally invasive or classical operation.
If possible, a radical treatment of varicose veins of the legs is recommended to the woman:
- compression sclerotherapy;
- laser coagulation;
- radiofrequency coagulation.
If the impact of these minimally invasive techniques is not enough, then for a more radical surgical treatment, classic operations are performed:
- Trendelenburg method (with complications from thrombosis and infection).
Sometimes classical surgical techniques are complemented by the use of minimally invasive techniques. This combination can reduce the trauma of operations and shorten the period of postoperative rehabilitation.
Varicose veins of the lower extremities can be treated successfully, especially in the early stages. That is why the first signs of this disease should always become a reason to visit a vascular surgeon. Varicose veins can occur at different ages, and observations show that women are more likely to develop this disease. The signs of varicose veins of the legs in women are the same as in men.