Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are swollen and raised above the surface of the skin. They can be dark purple or blue, and look twisted and bulging. Varicose veins are commonly found on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the leg. They develop when valves in the veins that allow blood to flow toward the heart stop working properly. As a result, blood pools in the veins and causes them to get larger.
Varicose veins affect 1 out of 2 people over age 50. They are more common in women than men. Hemorrhoids are a type of varicose vein. Spider veins are like varicose veins, but they are smaller.
Exercising, losing weight, elevating your legs when resting and not crossing them when sitting can help keep varicose veins from getting worse. Wearing loose clothing and avoiding long periods of standing can also help. If varicose veins are painful or you don't like the way they look, your doctor may recommend procedures to remove them.
Note: This topic was prepared to help consumers find reliable health resources on the web. This site is not responsible for the information on other sites. The information here — and on all websites — is not intended to be a substitute for care given to you by a health professional.
- Varicose Veins, Mayo Clinic
- This website offers basic information on varicose veins, including causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and alternative remedies.
- Varicose Veins and Spider Veins, Womenshealth.gov
- This women's health site offers information explaining varicose and spider veins and their connection to a lifestyle, age and other factors.
- What Are Varicose Veins?
- This information from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute includes helpful resources, including information on clinical trials and other vein problems related to varicose veins. Information is available in Spanish.
- Spider Veins and Varicose Veins, American Academy of Dermatology
- On the American Academy of Dermatology website, search for information on varicose veins.
- Varicose Veins, Radiological Society of North America
- This site of the Radiological Society of North America includes helpful information on how varicose veins are evaluated, along with treatment options.
- Search for a Vein Specialist, HealthInfoSource.com
- Search this site to find a local specialist to help you with your vein disorder.
- Poudre River Public Library District
- Search the library collection for books about vein disorders, or use the library's health, sciences and technology databases.
- Best Health Sites
- This collection of web links, organized by site type, will help you find the health information you're looking for.
- Suggest a Resource
- Did we miss something? Submit a website or other resource for consideration.