ZocdocAnswersWhat could cause sudden onset of varicose veins?

Question

What could cause sudden onset of varicose veins?

Beginning about a month and a half ago, I had a sudden onset of varicose veins that have been spreading rapidly. It started with lumps on either side of my groin, which I thought were hernias but ultrasound proved to be large veins. I then had varies progress down the inside of my thighs (GSV), behind my knees, on the backs of my thighs, the insides and fronts of my calves, and the backs and sides of both ankles. Now I have dilated veins appearing in the suprapubic area, extending to a few inches below my navel. These are about six vertical veins and some seem to be linked to the groin varices. Before the first veins showed up, I had been exercising rather strenuously for a couple of months. I also have a history of high blood pressure and kidney stones. I am 34 and have three young children.

Answer

If you are concerned about acute onset large veins on your legs, I recommend that you see a healthcare professional for formal evaluation. Varicose veins are the result of dilation of the superficial venous system (great and small saphenous veins and their tributaries). The dilation results in dysfunction of the valves of the veins, which leads to non-laminar, turbulent and regurgitant flow that causes increased pressure on the veins resulting in dilation and regurgitant flow, resulting in venous hypertension. Varicose veins usually come on over several years once the capacity of the superficial vein valves is overcome. There can be multiple causes, some benign and others more severe. Given your history of acute onset, it is important to be seen by a healthcare professional to rule out concerning underlying causes. Varicose veins often run in families, and may be passed from generation to generation. Additionally, varicose veins often happen after childbirth due to the increased venous pressure associated with carrying a child. Concerning causes may result in acute onset. These may include May-Thurner syndrome, which is unilateral compression of the iliac vein resulting in rapid venous swelling in only the affect side. Deep venous thromboses, which affect the deep vein system may also cause varicose swelling and should be ruled out. Again, please speak with a healthcare professional.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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