Can varicose veins burst?
The short answer is yes, but it's important to note that it is rare, and typically occurs when a varicose vein is severely irritated or damaged. When a varicose vein is inflamed just under the skin's surface, it is called superficial thrombophlebitis and is usually not serious and will resolve within a few days.
Should you suspect vein ruptures, it's important to seek medical attention at your nearest emergency room. The affected area will likely be painful, and significant bleeding may occur. In some cases, it may lead to more serious problems and require surgical vein removal.
What causes varicose veins to burst in your leg?
A common cause of vein ruptures is a build-up of pressure in the veins, which occurs when vein valves malfunction and blood circulation in the leg veins is impaired, known as chronic venous insufficiency. Several causes can lead to valve malfunction and venous insufficiency, including standing or sitting for long periods, pregnancy, obesity, and constipation.
Injury is another common cause of a rupture, from a minor bump or bruise to more severe injuries like a cut or deep contusion. If a vein is weak from excess pressure, the risk of vein rupture is higher. In rare circumstances, varicose veins may rupture without any apparent cause and are typically related to an underlying condition that has weakened the vein, such as venous disease, diabetes, or circulation problems.
What are the symptoms of a burst varicose vein?
A ruptured varicose vein is a medical emergency that can lead to blood loss and serious health complications. Knowing the symptoms will help you to take action as soon as possible. Below are some of the most common symptoms should a varicose vein burst:
- Sudden, sharp pain in the affected area.
- Bruising and swelling around the rupture.
- Bleeding from the affected vein.
- The skin covering your vein is thinning or ulcerated.
What can happen if a varicose vein bursts in your leg?
The size of the ruptured vein will typically impact the symptoms, which can range from a dull ache to sharp, stabbing pain. In some cases, the pain may be so severe that it requires medical attention.
A ruptured vein can also cause bleeding and swelling. However, a more severe bleed can occur in rare cases and cause significant blood loss. It is essential to seek medical help if this happens because it could lead to more serious complications like shock or even death.
What to do if a varicose vein bursts in your leg?
If you suspect a varicose vein burst, seek medical attention immediately and avoid being left untreated. Below are seven steps to take if varicose veins burst:
1. Stay calm
When you are calm, your brain can work more efficiently and make better decisions. Try taking slow deep breaths to help your mind and body to relax.
2. Call for medical help
If you experience severe pain, swelling, or vein bleeding, seek medical attention, as this is a serious medical emergency that can lead to blood loss and additional health consequences if left untreated.
3. Apply pressure
Once medical help is notified, the next step is to apply direct pressure to the skin surface with a clean cloth or bandage. Direct pressure will stop bleeding and avoid excessive blood loss.
4. Apply ice
Applying ice to the affected area will reduce swelling and pain.
5. Keep the area clean
To prevent infection, keep the area clean and dry using a sterile bandage or cloth.
6. Elevate the legs
If possible, leg elevation above the heart level will help to reduce swelling and pain.
7. Contact your doctor
If pain or swelling persists or worsens after you seek treatment, it is best to see your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe medication to relieve symptoms or recommend a varicose vein treatment program, such as radiofrequency ablation, sclerotherapy, and even surgery.
How can you prevent a varicose vein rupture?
While vein rupture is rare, it is still possible. Below are a few prevention tips:
- Wear compression stockings
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid long periods of standing or sitting
- Avoid smoking
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes varicose veins to worsen?
Several factors can worsen varicose veins, such as sitting or standing for prolonged periods which causes blood to pool in the legs due to excess pressure that weakens the vein walls and valves. Obesity is also a common cause, as extra weight puts extra pressure on the veins, compromising blood circulation.
Why do varicose veins itch?
Varicose veins can become itchy for several reasons. For instance, an enlarged vein causes the skin surface to stretch, leading to irritation and itchiness. In addition, venous stasis dermatitis can also cause veins to itch as it slows or stagnates blood flow, leading to inflammation.
If you experience any of the leg symptoms above, visit a vein specialist as soon as possible. Ruptured varicose veins can be dangerous if left untreated and may lead to other health complications.
Don't let ruptured varicose veins turn into a life-threatening emergency. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to prevention. So schedule your appointment with Vein Envy today for a complimentary vein screening and find out how we can treat your varicose veins for good!