Engorgement of veins is a common disorder. It develops commonly in adults, but sometimes vein engorgement can also affect children. Vein engorgement is nothing but congestion or enlargement of the vein. This mainly occurs due to accumulation of blood and fluid. Veins are important blood vessels of vascular system. It carries deoxygenated blood from different parts of body towards heart.
The best example of engorged vein is varicose veins that usually occur in lower limbs. Another example is engorgement of vein in the breast during lactation. Congestion of vein in most cases can cause discomfort.However, sometimes it can be life threatening event. Let us understand the cause underlying vein engorgement and the way to cure this condition.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Engorged Veins
Human vascular system consists of veins and arteries. Veins are thin walled structures. Veins have tiny valves that keep blood flowing upwards in one direction towards heart. The function of vein is to pump collected blood from different regions towards heart for oxygenation. Veins carry impure or deoxygenated blood. There are two types of vein, deep vein and superficial veins. Deep vein are located in muscles of extremities and superficial veins are found under the surface of skin.
Damage to the walls of vein or the valves can cause problems in circulatory system. It causes the blood to get accumulated and flow backwards. This leads to rise in pressure inside the vein. Further the stagnation of blood causes stretching and twisting of vein or in other words engorgement. When the veins are engorged there is risk for formation of blood clots. Ultimately this can lead to several venous diseases such as varicose veins and deep vein thromboplebitis.
One of the risk factor is the blood clot can break and reach the lungs causing serious condition called pulmonary embolism. Several risk factors can cause vein engorgement. They include:
- History of engorged vein in family.
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy, lactation, and menopause. Female hormones have its relaxing effect on walls of vein.
- Jobs that require the individual to stand for long period of time in one position.
- Loss of elasticity as the person grows older. The valves may become weak due to excessive stretching.
Signs And Symptoms Of Engorged Veins
Signs and symptoms of engorged veins are as follows:
- Veins appear twisted and bulged on the surface of skin.
- Dark blue or purple color of vein.
- Pain in the area of engorged vein. For example pain in legs or breast in case of engorged veins in leg or breast.
- Feeling of heaviness.
- Cramps and burning in the affected area.
- Pain becomes worse after standing for long duration.
- Itching around the enlarged vein.
- Thickened vein which feels like a cord.
- Bleeding from vein.
- Formation of ulcer around the engorged or enlarged vein.
- Warmth, swelling and redness in the affected limb which sometimes results in fever and chill.
Treatment Options For Engorged Veins
Engorged vein can be diagnosed easily from their appearance if they are superficial under the skin. Superficial varicose vein and throbophlebitis can be diagnosed with medical history and clinical examination. Deep vein thrombosis requires ultrasound technique. It is also useful to detect blood clots in the vein.
Engorgement of veins in conditions like varicose vein may not require an invasive therapy in most cases. However, intervention may be necessary if the symptoms are discomforting or to prevent future complications. Often people take treatment to simply for cosmetic purpose.
Treatment for varicose vein consists of compression bandage, leg elevation, sclerotherapy and surgery. In case of hemorrhoids present in anus, treatment consists of surgical intervention if there is bleeding from vein or if the rectal veins are constricted.
Conventional therapy consists of use of stool softener, eating more vegetables and fiber containing food etc. This helps to reduce risk of constipation and pressure on rectal veins. In case of thromboplebitis patient may need to be treated with blood thinning medicines, compression bandage, leg elevation, warm fomentation etc.