What do I do if my veins start bleeding?

By Dr. Cohen

External bleeding from a ruptured varicose vein can be very frightening, but it’s actually not that unusual and generally not that serious.

By far, the most common time for these veins to burst and bleed is immediately after a shower. Although they are veins and not arteries, the pressure can be pretty high, so when they rupture it can squirt out pretty dramatically.

The veins that are at risk are usually located near the ankle and appear like tiny bulging blue varicose veins about 1/8” inch in diameter and are called “venules”. They are typically spread around the ankle or foot, close to the skin surface.

Many of my patients call 911 and go to the emergency room the first time this occurs, and there is nothing wrong with that. This is the safest thing to do if you can’t control the bleeding or if you have no help. However, most of the time you can handle it at home if you know what to do.

I recommend my patients immediately apply constant pressure to the bleeding vein, with any soft item you can find — like a towel or gauze or even just a wad of tissue. If you have an ACE wrap, put that on snugly to maintain pressure.

Then it is very important to elevate the foot above the level of your heart. Lying on your bathroom floor and putting your foot up on the toilet seat is a good way to accomplish that. Once you’ve done these 2 things, relax. In about 30 minutes you can look at the vein to be sure it is no longer bleeding. But don’t get up until the bleeding has stopped completely. Once the bleeding has stopped, keep compression on the vein.

Until you can see your vein doctor, it is best to keep off your feet as much as possible. It’s important not to disrupt the scab on the vein. So keep it covered with a band-aid and avoid any rubbing over that area.

Once in the office, my approach is typically to immediately perform sclerotherapy in the area of the ruptured vein. This seals the venule off and usually prevents more bleeding, at least in the short term. Then we’ll do an ultrasound examination, determine the best treatment for your vein problem, and proceed with that as soon as possible. In the meantime, I instruct my patients to keep the spot covered with a band-aide and to gently pat dry after showers.

In my experience, once the underlying vein problem is diagnosed and treated, this kind of bleeding doesn’t happen again.

If you are experiencing bleeding veins and are not sure what to do, you can arrange for a quick and easy consultation right now by calling 201-265-5300.

About us: There are 20 million Americans with vein problems that can seriously affect the quality of their lives. And as we age, they just get worse. As one of the few New Jersey medical practices committed exclusively to vein care, Advanced Vascular Vein Care is uniquely capable of alleviating those problems, whether they are medical or cosmetic. All treatments are non-surgical, usually covered by insurance, and delivered in an office setting. And we do it as it should be done – with compassion, excellence, affordability, convenience, and the personal touch. Call 201-265-5300 or visit AdvancedVascular.com for a quick and easy consultation.

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