At Capitol Vein & Laser Centers, we are often asked if varicose veins can develop in children. Most people believe that varicose veins come with advancing age. Because the anomalies that cause varicose veins are largely due to inherited properties of the veins, we can see varicose veins in the young as well as the old.
In understanding why children can also suffer from varicose veins, it's helpful to understand the various causes of the condition. We know that multiple pregnancies, leg trauma and prior blood clots can lead to excess pressure in the leg veins and ultimately, to varicosities. However, the primary cause of varicose veins is vein wall weakness and valve dysfunction, leading to bulging veins.
The normal flow of venous blood is from the lower leg to the upper, against the unrelenting force of gravity. This flow is maintained by integrity of the vein wall and valve, but as they weaken, gravity overwhelms the venous system, and backflow (reflux) occurs, leading to varicose veins. Common symptoms include aching, heaviness and pain in the veins.
While age plays a role in the process of venous reflux, and varicose veins are seen more often in older patients, there is no doubt that varicose veins can occur in children. The usual treatment, Venefit (VNUS Closure), can easily be applied to children as well as adults, with equal benefit.
If your adolescent has bulging leg veins, the best option is to have him/her seen by a diplomate of the American Board of Phlebology. A duplex ultrasound will likely be performed to assess the significance of the varicose veins, and the vein specialist will discuss treatment options with you. At Capitol Vein & Laser Centers, both Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. McNeill each have over 30 years of experience treating venous disease, and will be happy to discuss the situation at length at any of the Maryland, Virginia or West Virginia offices.
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