Where Can You Get Varicose Veins?


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Varicose veins most commonly appear on the lower legs but can appear on the upper legs, thighs, genitals, and anus. They can appear in any vein in the body where the valves weaken, or malfunction.

Varicose Veins on the Lower Legs and Feet

Varicose veins usually affect the lower legs and feet. This is due to the pressure on the valves in these areas to prevent gravity from forcing the blood downwards. The pressure of standing and walking weakens the valves and the walls of the veins. This can cause stretching, which widens the vein allowing the blood to flow backwards towards the feet.

Varicose Veins on the Upper Legs and Thighs

Varicose veins are also common on the upper legs and thighs. This is less common than varicose veins of the lower legs but is caused by similar problems. Varicose veins on the upper legs can also be caused by pregnancy, which puts more pressure on this area. The long saphenous vein is the main superficial vein, which runs through the thigh. This is often affected by backflow and can cause varicose veins further down the leg. As a result of this, the saphenous vein is usually stripped during surgery.

Varicose Veins on the Arms

Although it is rare, varicose veins can appear on the arms. Varicose veins on the arms are usually caused by damage to the valves through trauma, or a circulatory condition but can appear for no apparent reason. Varicose veins on the arms are no more of a risk than varicose veins on the legs but often cause concern, as people are unaware that they can occur. If you are concerned about the varicose veins on your arms or they are causing you any discomfort, you should talk to your doctor who will be able to discuss treatment with you.

Varicose Veins on the Genitals

Varicose veins can appear on and around the genitals. In women, this normally occurs as a result of pregnancy and the hormonal and bodily changes that it causes. Pregnancy can also cause varicose veins on the uterus and pelvis. Varicose veins do not usually cause any complications during pregnancy or childbirth, but should be monitored during the birth to ensure that they do not bleed.

Men can also develop varicose veins around their penis. These usually occur on the scrotum and are known as varicoceles. Varicoceles normally occur during puberty due to the growth of the testes. Varicoceles do not normally cause any problems but if they appear in certain places they can lead to infertility so should be checked by a doctor as soon as possible.

Varicose Veins on the Anus

Varicose veins can appear on the interior or exterior of the anus. These are known as haemorrhoids or piles. These do not usually cause any problems although they can be painful and cause bleeding. If your haemorrhoids are causing you pain or you are worried about anal bleeding you should see your doctor who will be able to examine your varicose veins and recommend a treatment if necessary.

Varicose Veins Elsewhere

Varicose veins can occur anywhere on the body. This includes the face, chest, body, and neck. They do not often require treatment although some people opt to have them removed for cosmetic reasons. If varicose veins anywhere on your body cause you pain or discomfort, you should seek medical advice and discuss treatment with you GP.


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