Prominent, bulging, tortuous and blue veins just below the surface of the skin (superficial veins), commonly seen in the legs, but also seen in the anus (termed as ‘piles’), testes (termed as ‘varicocele’) and lower esophagus is termed as ‘varicose veins’. It occurs when the valves in the blood vessels that have to pump blood against gravity are weakened and not working properly resulting in a backflow of the blood and thus the blood tends to pool up and stagnate resulting in swollen and tortuous veins. Heredity poses to be one of the commonest causative factors. Also prolonged standing (like in case of a bus conductor, traffic police etc.) repeated heavy lifting, the loss of skin elasticity due to aging, pregnancy, menopause, constipation and obesity could lead to varicosity. In chronic cases, the distended veins may be accompanied by heaviness or a dull aching or pulling pain and itching of the skin over the varicosity resulting in a venous eczema later on.
Wrapping an elastic bandage over the affected leg and as far as possible sitting and sleeping with the legs raised will help pump the blood better in the limbs. Walking or swimming or yoga is considered to be useful exercise in cases of varicose veins. Avoid wearing high – heeled shoes and in overweight persons, reducing weight is important for better relief.