Leg edema is a troublesome condition for many women, and it can be associated with local or systemic disorders. Although there may be normal cyclic edema secondary to hormonal changes, this complaint should be evaluated properly so that a treatable underlying disorder will not be overlooked. An understanding of the normal physiology of the leg vasculature and a knowledge of the common causes of edema will allow the physician to appropriately address this complaint. A thorough history and physical examination, along with appropriate diagnostic tests, permit accurate diagnosis. Subsequent treatment or referral can then be prescribed.
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