Varicose veins are caused by age and pregnancy. Having weak valves and vein walls contributes to the formation of varicose veins. According to Mayo Clinic, as people get older their skin loses elasticity and the valves in the veins are weakened. Pregnancy, obesity or having a family history of varicose veins also increase the risk of having weak vein walls, adds the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The symptoms of varicose veins are generally visible. Large veins that can be seen under the skin surface, discolored skin around the varicose vein, throbbing or cramping in the legs, and swelling around the ankles and feet are signs of varicose veins. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute points out that varicose veins can cause other medical conditions, including dermatitis and superficial thrombophlebitis, which is a blood clot in a vein.
Treatments for varicose veins involve both lifestyle changes and medical procedures. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends doing activities that promote toning and moving the legs as well as trying to lose weight and wearing low-heeled shoes. Additionally, Mayo Clinic advises speaking to a doctor about sclerotherapy, laser treatments, ambulatory phlebectomy or other medical procedures if lifestyle changes and compression stockings do not help.