Varicose Veins: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Varicose veins are bulging, enlarged, or swollen veins (veins are the blood vessels that return blood to the heart).

Varicose veins may not cause any specific symptoms or signs. When they do occur, signs and symptoms of varicose veins can include visible swollen blood vessels beneath the skin. These may be more visible after standing up for several minutes or more. Other associated symptoms and signs can include dull aching or throbbing, cramping, swelling, fatigue, and itching. Less commonly, bleeding or formation of a blood clot may occur in varicose veins.

Causes of varicose veins

Weakening of the valves in the veins or weakening walls of the veins can cause varicose veins. Inflammation in the veins (phlebitis) can also cause varicose veins.

Other varicose veins symptoms and signs


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.