Patients' experiences of living with varicose veins and management of the disease in daily life

J Clin Nurs. 2016 Mar;25(5-6):733-41. doi: 10.1111/jocn.13023. Epub 2015 Oct 28.


Aims and objectives: The aim was to describe the experience of living with varicose veins classified according CEAP (clinical class, aetiology, anatomy, pathophysiology) as C4 (eczema or thrombophlebitis) and management of the disease in daily life.

Background: Primary chronic venous insufficiencies with varicose veins are a relatively common condition among both men and women. Several studies have shown that quality of life improved after treatment of varicose veins compared to before treatment. This suggests that patients with a milder form of varicose veins such as C4 experience a negative influence on their quality of life before treatment.

Design: This is an explorative qualitative study with a phenomenological approach.

Method: A purposive sample was used, and 12 in-depth interviews were conducted with persons having superficial venous insufficiency classified C4. A descriptive phenomenological analysis was performed.

Results: The essence of the phenomenon of living with varicose veins classified C4 and management of the disease in daily life meant adapting to a life with varicose veins and relieve discomfort from legs with an unfavourable appearance. Coping with discomfort involved dealing with the disease emotionally and finding strategies that helped to relieve symptoms; however, living with 'repulsive' legs was seen as embarrassing, and many found the need to hide their condition.

Conclusion: Patients with varicose veins classified C4 had notable symptoms of the disease that affected daily living. This in turn required the use of different coping strategies to manage symptoms, and significant adjustments related to activities and social life were made.

Relevance to clinical practice: It seems desirable that patients with varicose veins receive treatment at an earlier stage of the disease and are familiar with the tools and solutions available to alleviate symptoms and avoid a negative impact on daily life.

Keywords: nursing; phenomenology; varicose veins; venous disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life*
  • Social Behavior
  • Thrombophlebitis / etiology
  • Thrombophlebitis / psychology
  • Thrombophlebitis / therapy
  • Varicose Veins / complications
  • Varicose Veins / psychology*
  • Varicose Veins / therapy*
  • Venous Insufficiency / complications
  • Venous Insufficiency / psychology*
  • Venous Insufficiency / therapy*