Bleeding Varicose Veins: Are You at Risk?

 Having varicose veins can result in a lot of worries. You may worry about how your legs look in shorts, whether you can go on a weekend hike with your family due to soreness, or if you’ll get enough sleep due to restless leg syndrome (RLS). If you have bulging varicose veins, then you may also worry about the risk of them bleeding. 

You may have heard stories about people unknowingly agitating their varicose vein and experiencing terrifying amounts of blood loss. Fortunately, complications resulting in bleeding varicose veins are rare, and dying from them are even rarer. Despite that fact, you should still understand why it’s such a serious complication and how to treat it if it occurs.

We’ll look at:

  • What causes varicose veins
  • Why bleeding varicose veins occur
  • What to do if your varicose vein ruptures
  • How to prevent varicose veins from bleeding

Understanding varicose veins and why they can progress to the point of bleeding is helpful. However, the simplest and best course of action is to prevent your varicose veins from progressing to such a scary complication in the first place. Contact East Tennessee Vein Clinic to schedule your free screening today.

What causes varicose veins?

Whether it’s the telltale sign of bulging veins or symptoms hiding under the skin, all varicose veins are the result of the same problem - failure to pump blood from the leg to the heart. In healthy veins, blood is pumped to the heart by one-way valves and is recirculated throughout the body. 

In some cases, these valves can become weakened and lead to blood collecting in the veins rather than being sent back to the heart. As blood pools in your leg, the pressure within the vein also increases, leading to the swelling of veins and further symptoms due to inflammation. 

Those with varicose veins will experience symptoms to varying degrees. What’s important to remember is that varicose veins are both chronic and progressive. This means that your symptoms will slowly get worse with time if left untreated. The best thing you can do is to seek treatment before your symptoms become even worse.

Why do bleeding varicose veins occur?

Bleeding is one of the many symptoms of varicose veins. However, it can be much more alarming than others due to the amount of blood that can be lost. Like other symptoms, bleeding is the result of increased pressure within the vein due to gravity and the pooling of blood in the leg. 

Varicose veins are superficial veins, meaning that they’re located just below the skin’s surface. This is why they tend to bulge out when they’re under pressure. But poor circulation and unattractive, bulging veins aren’t their only downsides. The extra pressure also stretches the walls of the vein, causing them to weaken over time and result in bleeding. This is most common in small veins around the ankle from the most minor of trauma. 

Larger varicose veins within the thigh and lower leg communicate with the smaller veins at the ankle.  When the small veins at the ankle break and bleed the much larger veins in the calf and thigh communicating with it try to empty all of their blood out the small veins.  Very large amounts of blood can drain through the veins quickly and this can be quite frightening. It also doesn’t take much for one of these hemorrhages to occur. The most common circumstance is someone with varicose veins will have just gotten out of the tub and shower and dry themselves and the simple effect of toweling over the veins at the ankle and lower leg cause them to break open and bleed.

Don’t panic if you have a ruptured varicose vein since they’re easy to treat. Remain calm as you elevate your leg above your heart and apply pressure to the wound for 10 minutes. Contact your doctor immediately to prevent this from happening again. If the bleeding doesn’t slow down after 10 minutes or if recurs then call an ambulance.

Ruptured Veins Occasionally Happen. Here’s What to Do.

Dr. Douglass is no stranger to bleeding varicose veins. In a recent article, we recounted a story where a woman had a ruptured varicose vein without knowing it. She was terrified and eventually passed out due to loss of blood. Dr. Douglass looked for a stab or bullet wound when he found her only to realize that she had actually ruptured her swollen varicose vein. 

Thankfully, stories like this are rare and a bleeding varicose vein is even more rare to die from. However, you should still know what to do if you have a burst varicose vein. Simply lay down immediately and elevate your leg above your heart while applying pressure to the wound for 10 minutes.  If the bleeding doesn’t show any sign of stopping, or if it doesn’t slow down, then call an ambulance

Lastly, contact East Tennessee Vein Clinic about your free screening to prevent this from happening again. I

How to Prevent Your Varicose Veins from Bleeding

Hopefully, you never have to deal with a bleeding varicose vein and treat it on your own. The best way to prevent that would be to never let them get that stage to begin with. The best way to do this is by recognizing the symptoms of varicose veins and having them treated before they severely impact your life.

Do you experience:

  • Swollen legs
  • Heavy, aching legs
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Skin discoloration on your legs

Do these symptoms get worse throughout the day, but get better after resting or elevating your legs? If so, then you may be experiencing the symptoms of varicose veins. 

Varicose veins are chronic and progressive. While treatments like compression socks, exercise, and elevating your legs may help alleviate symptoms, they won’t prevent them from becoming more severe over time. The best way to prevent bleeding varicose veins is to treat them before they ever progress to that point.

Contact us at East Tennessee Vein Clinic to get help for your varicose veins. We treat varicose veins differently by eliminating the entire network of failed veins, not just large visibly bulging veins. You can schedule your free screening today, call us at 865.686.0507, or toll-free at 866.281.VEIN. 

“The entire process was extremely pleasant. The staff was always friendly and made me feel at home. Thanks for the great job you did on my leg. I had forgotten what being pain free felt like. Again, THANKS.”

- B. H., Dandridge, TN