Vein Facts:

Varicose veins are a sign that there is high pressure in the veins. This is called venous insufficiency or venous hypertension.

What Happens if Varicose Veins Go Untreated?

Written by Dallas Vein Specialists on July 31, 2016

Veins return blood to the heart and lungs for oxygen replenishment. The oxygenated blood is then pumped via the arteries throughout the body. When the veins weaken and blood flows back into the veins in the wrong direction, it causes a condition known as reflux and increases pressure within the veins.

If reflux affects the veins between the muscles and the skin (known as the superficial venous system) of the leg, varicose veins can develop. These veins can appear to be enlarged, elongated or bulging.

Many people with varicose veins find them to be unattractive and opt for treatments promising aesthetic improvements. In some cases however, varicose veins can cause physical symptoms if left untreated. Here, Dr. Lonnie Whiddon, a vein specialist in Dallas, offers insight into what can happen if varicose veins go untreated.


In addition to an unsightly appearance, varicose veins can present a number of symptoms related to the increased venous pressure from overfilling of the veins. Varicose veins can cause feelings of aching, fatigue and heaviness in the legs. Swelling of the lower legs and ankles is a frequent complaint. Some patients experience cramping at night and restlessness of the legs when in bed. In some patients, itching is a prominent symptom. These physical symptoms can be managed with a good fitting compression hose, exercise, maintenance of normal body weight, and elevation of legs when possible.


If left untreated, varicose veins can pose health risks. Varicose veins may cause swelling, skin discoloration, painful rashes and even sores that do not heal (which can lead to chronic ulceration). Another complication is hemorrhage secondary to a bulging vein with only a thin layer of overlying skin. It may occur spontaneously or due to thinning skin or as a result of a minor scratch or injury. If left untreated, more varicose veins will usually form over time. Typically symptoms will become worse with the advance of the varicose vein condition. In a small percentage of patients with varicose veins, some of the varicosities will clot (superficial thrombophlebitis). While not as serious and dangerous as clotting in the deep veins of the leg, the clotted varicosities cause inflammation, pain, disability and skin discoloration that is slow to resolve. Consultation with a qualified vein doctor and early removal of the clots will lead to a much quicker recovery.


Today’s varicose vein solutions promise to improve aesthetic appearances as well as quality of life and health. State-of-the-art procedures include endovenous laser ablation, ClariVein, microphlebectomy, Cryo Laser and others. These procedures are performed in the office (in most cases under local anesthesia) and require little downtime.


Contact Dr. Whiddon for your personal consultation and receive the customized information you need to know about your varicose vein treatment options. Schedule your consultation by calling (214) 221-9222 or via email.