Posted on Aug 11, 2023, 12 p.m.
Part 6 of an 8-article series written by Arlette Pacheco, Ph.D.
Varicose veins, commonly associated with adults, can also affect children. While it may seem unusual, varicose veins in children are not uncommon and require proper understanding and management. This article delves into the causes, symptoms, and managing varicose veins in children. We will offer valuable insights for parents and caregivers.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins, those unsightly veins that often appear on the legs, are commonly linked with:
- Prolonged periods of standing
However, it's crucial to recognize that children can develop varicose veins too. It's a misconception that varicose veins are solely an adult concern.
Prevalence in Children
While varicose veins are more prevalent in adults, children can also experience this condition. For example, a study(1) revealed that approximately 10-15% of high-school children in Russia have varicose veins. It is important to recognize the signs early to seek appropriate medical attention from a Vein doctor.
Causes of Varicose Veins in Children
As in the case of adults, several causes can lead to the development of varicose veins, including:
Genetics plays a significant role in the development of varicose veins in children. If a child has a family history of varicose veins, their risk increases.
Some children are born with congenital abnormalities(2) that affect the veins' structure. These abnormalities can lead to varicose veins over time.
Obesity and Lifestyle Factors
Obesity(3) and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to the development of varicose veins in children. Excessive weight puts additional pressure on the veins, making them more susceptible to enlargement. This increased strain on the veins can contribute to the development of varicose veins.
Chronic Health Conditions
Certain chronic health conditions, such as blood clotting disorders(4), can also contribute to the development of varicose veins in children.
Symptoms and Identification
Identifying varicose veins in children can be challenging, especially when the assumption is that they only affect adults. Parents should watch for visible signs(5) of:
Visible Veins and Skin Changes
One of the primary signs of varicose veins in children is the appearance of enlarged and visible veins under the skin. The veins may appear dark blue or purple and may cause the skin to look discolored.
Leg Pain and Discomfort
Children with varicose veins may experience pain, aching, or discomfort in the affected leg or foot. This discomfort may worsen after prolonged periods of standing or physical activity.
Swelling and Itching
Swelling around the affected veins and itching in the affected area can also indicate varicose veins in children.
Parents need to remember that early detection is vital for effective management.
Diagnosis and Medical Assessment
A vein doctor can diagnose varicose veins through:
A comprehensive physical examination by a vein doctor is essential for diagnosing varicose veins in children. The doctor will assess the child's medical history and examine the affected area.
Doppler ultrasound(6) is a non-invasive imaging test that helps visualize blood flow in the veins. This technique can aid in diagnosing varicose veins.
Other Diagnostic Tests
Sometimes, a vein doctor may recommend additional diagnostic tests to evaluate the veins' condition further. Additional tests can include venography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Consulting a medical professional is crucial for accurate assessment and tailored guidance.
Management and Treatment Options
The management of varicose veins in children involves various approaches.
- Lifestyle modifications. This includes regular exercise and a balanced diet.
- Compression therapy. Compression stockings or garments can be prescribed to improve blood flow and reduce swelling in the affected area.
- Medication and interventions. Medications to relieve symptoms or minimally invasive procedures to treat varicose veins may be considered in severe cases.
Preventing varicose veins(7) in children starts with the following lifestyle changes:
Healthy Diet and Exercise
Teaching children the importance of a healthy diet and regular exercise from a young age can help reduce the risk of developing varicose veins.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight can significantly reduce the pressure on the veins and lower the risk of varicose veins.
Regular Leg Movement
Encouraging children to avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing. Regular movement improves blood circulation and reduces the risk of developing varicose veins.
The Emotional Aspect of Varicose Veins
Dealing with varicose veins can also have emotional implications(8) for children. It is essential to provide emotional support and address any concerns they may have.
Educating children about varicose veins in an age-appropriate manner can empower them to take an active role in their health. Schools and peers can also contribute to a supportive environment.
Parental Role in Management
Parents play a vital role in managing varicose veins in children. Try to:
- Create an understanding and supportive atmosphere
- Ensure treatment adherence
- Foster open communication
Real-life examples of children who have dealt with varicose veins can inspire. These instances offer insights into effective strategies for successfully managing the condition.
Varicose veins in children may be surprising, but they can occur due to various factors. Early detection and appropriate management are essential to improve the child's well-being.
This article was written for WHN by Arlette Pacheco who is a content writer who pursued a passion for Biology, earning a Ph.D. in Life Sciences. She discovered her love for writing, crafting scientific and divulgation articles, and bridging the gap between science and society.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
Content may be edited for style and length.
References/Sources/Materials provided by:
1 Studennikova VV, Severgina LO, Dzyundzya AN, Korovin IA. Mekhanizmy razvitiia i osobennosti varikoznoĭ bolezni ven nizhnikh konechnosteĭ v detskom i molodom vozraste [Lower extremity varicose veins in childhood and at a young age: Mechanism of development and specific features]. Arkh Patol. 2017;79(4):56-60. Russian. doi: 10.17116/patol201779456-60. PMID: 28792000.
2 Antebi E, Freund E. Varicose Veins of the Abdominal Wall in a Child. A Case Report. Angiology. 1984;35(10):667-671. doi:10.1177/000331978403501008
3 Giannouli A, Tsinopoulou VR, Tsitsika A, Deligeoroglou E, Bacopoulou F. Vulvar Varicosities in an Adolescent Girl with Morbid Obesity: A Case Report. Children (Basel). 2021 Mar 7;8(3):202. doi: 10.3390/children8030202. PMID: 33800092; PMCID: PMC7998964.
6 García Carriazo M, Gómez de las Heras C, Mármol Vázquez P, Ramos Solís MF. Doppler ultrasound study and venous mapping in chronic venous insufficiency. Radiología. 2016;58:7–15.