To diagnose varicose veins, your doctor will do a physical exam, including looking at your legs while you're standing to check for swelling. Your doctor may also ask you to describe any pain and aching in your legs.
You may also need an ultrasound test to see if the valves in your veins are functioning normally or if there's any evidence of a blood clot. In this noninvasive test, you lie on an examination table. A small amount of warm gel is applied to your skin. The gel helps eliminate the formation of air pockets between the transducer and your body. During an ultrasound, a technician trained in ultrasound imaging (sonographer) presses a small hand-held device (transducer), about the size of a bar of soap, against your skin over the area of your body being examined, moving from one area to another as necessary. The transducer transmits images of the veins in your legs to a monitor, so a technician and your doctor can see them.
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- Varicose veins. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vv/. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
- Varicose veins. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/cardiovascular_disorders/peripheral_venous_disorders/varicose_veins.html. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
- Varicose veins and venous insufficiency. Society of Interventional Radiology. http://www.sirweb.org/patients/varicose-veins/. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
- Gloviczki P, et al. The care of patients with varicose veins and associated chronic venous diseases: Clinical practice guidelines of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2011;53(suppl):2s.
- Murad MH, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the treatments of varicose veins. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2011;53(suppl):49S.
- Horse chestnut. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Nov. 14, 2012.
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