This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
This signifies an enlarged and tortuous state of the veins, generally of the legs; which are usually thickened, rigid, and divided into irregular pouches. This state may be caused by any thing that retards the circulation of the blood in the veins; such as occupations that require a standing posture; or pressure from loaded bowels, or a pregnant womb. But there must be an original weakness of structure besides; because the complaint often occurs when there is no pressure on the veins to account for it, and, if produced by temporary pressure in healthy people, always subsides of itself when that pressure is removed; as is well known to practitioners in midwifery.
Varicose veins in the leg occasion pain, weight and fatigue upon taking much exercise, or remaining long in an erect posture. They frequently cause ulcers or excoriation of the skin. Sometimes a vein becomes exceedingly thin and bursts; causing a profuse or even fatal haemorrhage. Occasional inflammation occurs, with clotting of the blood in the affected vein; which may perhaps give rise to abscess.
The whole limb should be well supported by a calico bandage, from the foot to below the knee, which should be put on every morning , as soon as the patient is out of bed; the bandage should be of stout factory-cotton, and should be from seven to nine yards long, according to the size of the leg. Or the patient may wear a laced stocking. The general health of the patient should be attended to; eostiveness should be prevented, and when the patient is not taking exercise, the leg should be placed in a raised position on a stool or a cushion.
Many different operations have been recommended and performed for the purpose of obliterating the enlarged veins, and causing what is called a radical cure; some successful, some otherwise; but, if the patient is pretty well advanced in life, unless there is some strong and urgent reason for submitting to the operation, he had "better put up with evils that he knows, than fly to others that he knows not of."