Top 5 Things to Know to Stop Varicose Vein Bleeding

Varicose veins can be a cosmetic nuisance, but when they start bleeding, it can be a sign that you need to take action. Here are the top five things you need to know to stop varicose vein bleeding.
Dr. Samir Damani
October 19, 2023

Key takeaways

Varicose veins are a common problem that many people deal with daily. While they may not be life-threatening, they can be quite dangerous if left untreated. One of the biggest dangers associated with varicose veins is the risk of bleeding.

In this blog post, we will discuss the top 5 things to know to stop varicose vein bleeding.

Can varicose veins burst and bleed?

Yes, varicose veins can burst and bleed. This bleeding is most often seen in people with chronic venous insufficiency, a medical condition in which the valves in the veins become weakened or stretched, causing blood to back up and pool in the veins instead of flowing properly to the heart. As these veins become increasingly congested with blood over time, they can weaken and eventually rupture, resulting in bleeding varicose veins.

If you have varicose veins that burst or bleed, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your doctor will be able to provide an appropriate treatment plan and help reduce the risk of further complications such as infection or blood clots.

What happens when varicose veins start bleeding?

A leg with varicose veins and skin ulcers

Spontaneous bleeding in the varicose vein can cause a wide range of health issues. The most common complication is anemia, which occurs when the body has a lower-than-normal level of healthy red blood cells. In some cases, bleeding from varicose veins can also cause problems such as blood clots, resulting in bruises or hematomas that are slow to heal.

In addition, bleeding from varicose veins can also increase the risk of infection due to bacteria entering the bloodstream through damaged blood vessels and can cause skin ulcers near the affected area.

If you experience any type of bleeding from your varicose veins, it is important to seek medical attention right away to reduce the risk of further complications. With proper treatment and management, varicose veins can be effectively managed and controlled.

What causes varicose veins in the legs to bleed?

A man is doing weight lifting exercises

Although varicose veins in the legs can cause discomfort, pain, swelling, and discoloration, they can also burst and cause bleeding. A bleeding varicose vein is a serious medical condition that must be treated immediately. Here are some common causes of varicose vein bleeding:

  • Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI):  CVI is a condition wherein the valves within the leg veins fail to keep blood flowing back up to the heart, which leads to the pooling of blood in the lower extremities, placing higher pressure on the veins and weakening them. The blood pooling can make the skin around the veins very thin and fragile, increasing the chances of rupture and bleeding.
  • Sores or Bumps:  Sores or bumps on the vein surface may also cause varicose veins to bleed. These sores can be caused by a variety of factors such as trauma or infection. When these sores form, they create an opening in the vein walls which causes them to leak blood into nearby tissue and skin.
  • Excessive Scratching or Rubbing:  Excessive scratching or rubbing of any area on the legs may also lead to bleeding varicose veins. The constant friction from scratching or rubbing may damage the thin outer layer of skin surrounding the vein and cause bleeding.
  • Intense Physical Activity:  Intense physical activity, such as running or lifting weights, can put excessive strain on weakened veins, which can cause varicose veins to bleed. The strain of these activities may push the blood through the damaged vein walls and lead to bleeding.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT):  DVT is a condition in which a blood clot forms in one of the deeper veins in your leg. This clot restricts blood flow, causing the vein to swell and become very fragile which can put them at risk of rupturing.

What are the symptoms of a burst varicose vein?

Cramping sensations in the legs

It is important to know the signs and symptoms of a ruptured varicose vein, so you can take immediate action for proper diagnosis and treatment. Common symptoms of ruptured varicose veins include:

  • Pain and swelling in the affected area
  • Discoloration of the skin around your varicose veins
  • Throbbing or burning sensation around the ruptured area
  • Heaviness or tightness in the leg
  • Difficulty walking
  • Skin itching
  • Bleeding from varicose vein
  • Bulging lump in the affected area
  • Intense cramping sensation that radiates down the leg

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms near a varicose vein, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

How to stop varicose vein bleeding?

Taking the correct steps is essential to managing and treating varicose vein bleeding. Here are five essential actions that can be taken when this occurs:

1. Remain calm

Panic won’t help you in any way and it can even worsen your condition. Therefore, it is essential to remain calm and take the necessary steps to stop and slow the bleeding. If you are feeling overwhelmed, focus on deep breathing and relaxation exercises to help maintain composure.

2. Leg elevation

A girl and a man on the bed elevated the legs

To reduce blood flow, elevate your legs above your heart level while lying down or sitting up straight with a pillow propped under it. This will ensure that the affected area receives less pressure and can significantly prevent blood loss.

3. Apply firm pressure

Apply direct pressure for 10 to 20 minutes on the affected area using a clean cloth or towel to help slow and possibly stop the bleeding. If direct pressure does not work, use an elastic bandage to apply pressure.

4. Call 911 if necessary

If the bleeding is severe and does not stop after 20 minutes of direct pressure, it is advisable to call 911 for medical assistance. A medical professional would be better able to help you in such a situation.

5. Seek medical attention


Once the bleeding has stopped, visit your doctor or vascular specialist as soon as possible and ask about radiofrequency ablation, endovenous laser treatment, foam sclerotherapy, or any additional treatments that may be necessary. Your doctor will guide you on how to proceed further with treatment and make sure that the bleeding is not a repeat issue.

Taking these five steps is essential when it comes to dealing with varicose vein bleeding. Knowing what measures to take in such a situation will keep you better prepared, as well as taking these five steps discussed above should you encounter varicose vein bleeding.

Is there a way to prevent varicose veins from bleeding?

Legs that are wearing compression stockings

The answer is yes. There are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of varicose vein bleeding, including:

  • Wear compression stockings or socks to help reduce blood pooling in the veins.
  • Eat foods high in fiber, antioxidants, and essential vitamins to help strengthen arteries and veins.
  • Avoid prolonged standing or sitting in one position.
  • Stay active and exercise regularly.
  • Avoid crossing your legs while sitting
  • Avoiding tight-fitting clothing.
  • Avoiding strenuous exercise.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for a ruptured varicose vein to heal?

Generally, a ruptured varicose vein will take 10–12 days to heal. The healing period depends on the severity of the injury and whether or not medical treatment is sought. During this 10-12 day period, it is important to take any necessary measures to help ensure a speedy recovery such as resting, wearing compression stockings, and avoiding strenuous activities. It may also help to elevate the injured area above heart level for 10-15 minutes at least twice a day.

Should I go to the ER for varicose vein pain?

In general, trips to the emergency room aren't necessary for varicose vein pain. The most effective treatment requires visiting a doctor who specializes in varicose veins and other vascular diseases. If you experience severe pain from your varicose veins, an urgent care center may be able to help with at-home treatments or offer referrals for specialist care.

As always, should symptoms related to varicose veins become worrisome or more painful, do not hesitate to seek medical attention and err on the side of caution.

Can you bleed to death from bursting varicose veins?

According to the National Library of Medicine, yes you can bleed to death from the rupture of varicose veins. In particular, venous bleeding can be very intense, especially in people who are taking blood thinners. Excessive or rapid blood loss can lead to a loss of consciousness and death. Therefore, it is important to seek medical help immediately upon noticing any signs or symptoms of varicose vein rupture.

What happens if you hit a varicose vein or spider vein?

Depending on the severity of the hit, different side effects may occur. If a varicose vein is punctured or damaged, blood can pool underneath the skin and cause swelling, pain, discoloration, and bruising. While spider veins typically result in less serious symptoms such as minor bleeding and itching.


Bleeding from varicose veins can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, and it is important to get checked out by a professional to prevent future health complications.

At iThriveVeins, we offer complimentary vein screenings so you can get the treatment you need to prevent the risk of varicose vein bleeding and improve your quality of life. Schedule your appointment today!

The bottom line


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