One of biggest scares a varicose vein can give you is a bleeding rupture that won’t stop gushing.
The walls of varicose veins, especially in your lower legs and ankles, can become weak because of the extra pressure of blood that pools there, caused by both simple gravity and malfunctioning vein valves that don’t prevent blood from flowing backward.
Those weakened and thin walls are susceptible to breaking open, most often because of something like a brush against furniture or even clothing, although sometimes it happens spontaneously.
It’s scary because it’s unexpected and also because a lot of blood typically flows — and quickly — before you can stop it.
If one of your veins does start bleeding, apply pressure right away with your fingers or, better yet, a clean cloth wrapped with a compression bandage. In addition:
• Elevate your leg above the rest of your body, even if you have to lie on the floor.
• If the bleeding won’t stop, go to an emergency room, especially if you are taking blood thinners.
Bleeding of these types of varicose veins is sometimes compared to a nosebleed: They both start without warning, can be difficult to stop, and will recur even after you do stop the bleeding. Older people are more likely to experience spontaneous bleeding of their varicose veins, however, because their skin is thinner and more fragile.
If you or someone you know suffers from this type of bleeding, they should see their vein doctor within a day or two. The physician will evaluate the problem and discuss possible treatments for the small veins that are often the problem.
If you are worried about the varicose veins around your lower legs and ankles, schedule a consultation with Dr. Alex Afshar at the Vein Institute of Connecticut.