Capitol Vein Blog

Monday, January 27, 2014

How To Control Varicose Vein Bleeding

I saw a new patient who was bleeding from her small varicose veins. She was quite alarmed because the blood was "spurting out" and she had a hard time getting it to stop. While bleeding from varicose or spider veins is not a common phenomenon, we do see this a few times a month. It can become more frequent in the winter months as the skin is drier in the less humid air.

Varicose veins typically occur because of elevated pressure caused by reflux in the saphenous vein. The saphenous vein extends from the groin to the ankle and propels blood up the leg with the help of one-way valves that prevent backflow. If the valves cease to function due to heredity, injury, multiple pregnancies, or another cause, blood flows backward, causing the skin veins to bulge. This bulging reflects elevated pressure in the vein and can lead to bleeding.

Venous reflux can lead to a drying of the lower leg skin. When compounded by the dry winter air, veins are more easily ruptured. One way to help minimize this is to apply a skin lotion on the lower legs and ankles daily. Compression hose also minimize the vein bulging and help drive the blood up the leg instead of allowing it to pool toward the calf and ankle.

A venous duplex ultrasound is essential in diagnosing the cause of varicose vein bleeding, as we can determine the cause of the elevated pressure in the veins. Treatment is based on the duplex results and the Venefit Procedure is an ideal method to treat saphenous vein reflux. Varithena, a new technique, was recently approved by the FDA for this purpose, but it is not yet commercially available.

If you note bleeding from your spider or varicose vein, elevate the leg and apply firm pressure to the site for five to ten minutes. It is highly likely that the bleeding will stop. Evaluation with your fellowship trained vascular surgeon will ensure you receive the best long-term care possible.

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