While many people think of varicose veins as just a cosmetic concern, if left untreated, varicose veins can actually cause health issues. Fatigue, pain, swelling, and restless leg syndrome are some of the less severe potential consequences of untreated varicose veins. More severe potential consequences include ulceration, external bleeding, and a condition called lipodermatosclerosis that causes skin hardening and discoloration.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor for advice on any medical conditions or concerns.
Dealing with Bleeding Varicose Veins
Bleeding varicose veins can be disconcerting—often, veins burst due to pressure, so the bleeding can be profuse. If your varicose veins start bleeding, you should immediately apply pressure to the area with a towel or cotton t-shirt and elevate your legs above your heart. This should help to slow or stop the flow of bleeding while you seek medical care. You should visit your doctor or the emergency room as soon as possible in order to avoid losing too much blood.
Before receiving medical care, it’s important to stay off of your feet as much as possible even after the bleeding stops. This will help prevent the wound from reopening. You should also avoid removing any scabs that appear at the site of the wound.
Varicose veins that bleed externally must be treated to resolve the underlying issues causing the bleeding to occur. A phlebologist can perform a number of procedures to eradicate your varicose veins so that they will no longer rupture and bleed.
If you’ve known someone who had their varicose veins treated a decade or more ago, you may have concerns about having your veins treated. Old varicose vein treatments were performed by stripping and removing veins—it was a painful process that took a lot of time to recover from. However, recent advances in treatments have replaced vein stripping so that it’s no longer used. Today’s treatments are minimally invasive and require very little recovery time.
- Sclerotherapy is performed by injecting a saltwater or chemical solution into varicose veins in order to clear out pooled blood and encourage veins to harden and disappear.
- Endovenous Laser Treatment (ELT) uses a laser or radiofrequency on varicose veins in order to seal damaged veins and prevent blood from reentering them.
Before treatment, your doctor will likely perform an ultrasound of the bleeding area in order to determine the extent of your venous disease and create a map of damaged veins to be used during treatment.
Cost of Varicose Vein Treatments
In many cases, health insurance may cover the treatment of varicose veins when medically necessary, so if your varicose veins are bleeding externally, you may qualify for coverage of your treatment. Before you go in for treatment, get an estimate on your likely out of pocket costs for treatment using our cost calculator. You can get an estimate on different treatment types you’re considering and see what you may be responsible to pay, including and excluding possible health insurance coverage.