Perhaps as a child, you hated to see the bulging veins in your grandma’s legs. Now you are older and have visible veins in your own legs.
Yes, varicose veins often run in families. But you are much luckier than your grandmother because today there are better treatments for problem veins.
Varicose veins happen when the valves in our veins weaken. These valves keep the blood flowing in the right direction. When they fail, blood can pool in the legs and stretch out the veins.
You won’t have a heart attack from varicose veins. You may have symptoms such as legs that ache or itch. If you bump a varicose vein, you may bleed, and you could develop a sore that is slow to heal. Blood clots are a rarer but more serious complication.
If you’ve had any of these symptoms, you may be ready to learn about varicose veins treatments. Or maybe you just don’t like the way your veins look. Both are good reasons for asking, what are treatments for varicose veins?
Varicose Vein Treatments
Most treatments for varicose veins involve closing or removing the problem vein. Do these procedures have a bad effect on circulation?
Your circulation will be fine. Other veins take over blood flow from the removed or closed-up vein. If veins are closed instead of being removed, the body will gradually absorb the vein material.
The best treatment for varicose veins will depend upon various factors, including:
- The size of the vein
- The location of the vein
- Whether the vein is twisted or straight
- How close the vein is to the surface of the skin
- Whether you have had ulcers, bleeding, or other symptoms from your varicose veins
- Your overall health
- Any other health conditions you have
- Whether you are sensitive or allergic to a particular substance
Your doctor or vein specialist may recommend one of these treatments, or perhaps a combination of treatments.
Veins are removed in this procedure, but the process is simpler than vein “stripping”. Veins are removed through tiny cuts in the skin. You’ll be awake during the procedure, although you’ll receive numbing medication. The incisions do not require stitches.
Microphlebectomy is sometimes called ambulatory phlebectomy because you’ll be able to walk immediately after the procedure. You may need to avoid strenuous activities for a few days, and your doctor may want you to wear compression stockings. The risk of complications is low.
2. Endovenous Laser Ablation
This procedure is suitable for varicose veins that are mostly straight. The doctor will insert a thin tube with a laser on the end into the vein. The laser heats the vein, causing it to collapse. The doctor withdraws the tube through the same small incision where it was inserted.
Endovenous laser ablation takes about an hour. You can return to normal activities immediately, but you may need to wear compression stockings. There is a small risk of burns from the procedure, but doctors have developed ways to reduce the risk. The chance of other complications is low.
In sclerotherapy, problem veins are damaged so they will close up. Various substances are used to cause this reaction. Varithena, a common form of sclerotherapy, uses a foam that works more quickly than liquids. Varithena requires only one or two injections. This treatment is suitable for both large and small veins.
Your specialist will tell you what to do after your procedure. Usually, you will be told to wear compression stockings but to remain active. There’s a small chance you could react to the injected substance.
4. Medical Glue
If you’ve had minor surgery recently, your incision may have been closed with medical super glue. A similar substance can glue veins shut. VenaSeal is a commonly used brand.
With the VenaSeal procedure, the doctor uses a tiny tube to place the glue inside the vein. Pressure is applied to the area to close the vein. Patients usually have little pain or bruising, and they don’t need to wear compression stockings.
Perhaps you prefer to treat your varicose veins naturally. No natural remedy will make varicose veins go away. Some herbal remedies have been suggested, but scientific evidence is lacking.
Lifestyle changes won’t get rid of your varicose veins. They could keep you from developing more. They might also reduce any symptoms that you have from your varicose veins. Try these strategies:
- Lose weight. Extra pounds put extra pressure on your veins. If you are overweight, make a plan to get down to a normal body mass index (BMI). Your primary care doctor can help.
- Increase your exercise. Strong leg muscles can keep your varicose veins from getting worse. Exercise can also boost your circulation and help with weight loss.
- Improve your diet. A diet that is low in sodium can reduce fluid buildup in your legs. Eating foods high in fiber can keep you regular so you don’t have to strain. Foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories can help you lose weight.
- Avoid sitting and standing too much. Blood pools in the legs when you sit or stand. Doing so for long periods of time can cause veins to swell.
- Raise your legs. When you are sitting, raise your legs so that blood and fluid don’t collect in your feet and legs.
- Wear compression stockings. Graduated elastic stockings that are tightest near your feet can take the pressure off your veins.
It never hurts to consult an expert. A vein specialist can advise you about the best treatment for your varicose veins. At Medicus Vein Care, your consultation is free. Contact us today.