Why Do Veins Bulge?

Veins can bulge for a variety of reasons including after exercise, due to ageing, and important because they are varicose veins. In the article below we provide some more detail for bulging veins and whether you need to be worried.

Bulging Veins After Exercise

As a recent article in Scientific American points out, these veins aren’t “bulging” from the inside at all, because strenuous aerobic exercise actually lowers pressure in the veins. What you’re seeing is the result of an increase in arterial blood pressure that causes plasma fluid to seep out through thin blood vessel walls and into compartments surrounding the muscles, which then push the veins towards the surface. This process, called filtration, is a normal physiological process that goes away when you stop exercising the muscles in question. This type of vein bulging is totally normal.

Bulging Veins in the Elderly

In some case, bulging veins are caused by advancing age, because the aging process can cause veins to weaken and lose their elasticity. At that point, they become enlarged and bulge. Veins can also bulge as the result of trauma or injury, the presence of a skin abscess or boil, or as the result of phlebitis, a minor infection caused by inflammation.


Bulging Veins in the Eldery

Veins losing their elasticity in old age.

Bulging Varicose Veins

Bulging veins that persist for some time, however, are often the result of a vein condition called chronic venous insufficiency or CVI, which causes valves that are supposed to keep blood flow moving in one direction towards the heart to fail, and become “leaky.” This allows blood to seep back into the veins and pool there, causing them to swell, and thus become visible above the skin surface. Bulging veins – even if they have not become discoloured yet – can thus be an early sign of CVI and an indication that you should visit a vein doctor.


Builging varicose veins

Bulging varicose veins

Cases Where Bulging Veins May Be Of More Concern

In a few rare cases, bulging veins can be a symptom of a more serious medical condition. You should seek immediate medical care if you experience sudden bulging of the veins accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains
  • Skin ulcers near the bulging veins

These symptoms could be a sign of a blood clot, or of peripheral vascular disease.

Other than these instances, though, you can probably relax, because bulging veins are primarily a cosmetic concern. That said, the doctors at The Vein Institute can take measures to eliminate them, so if you have concerns give us a call at 1 300 535 017. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about them.

What Does It Mean If Your Veins Bulge?

Bulging veins as discussed below can be entirely normal. If your veins are bulging and not sore rest and relaxation for a few minutes will usually result in them becoming smaller. Unless your veins are bulging due to a varicose vein you need to worry or be concerned as this is entirely normal. Veins in the body are classified as "capacitance" vessels which in simple terms means they normally change their diameter to accommodate different states such as exercise, cold, pregnancy as an example.