If you suffer from varicose veins, you know just how embarrassing and painful they can be.
On the other hand, you might be wondering what causes varicose veins and how to prevent or treat them, if you’ve never had them. Whatever the case may be, varicose veins are a well-documented condition with a variety of treatments available; and thankfully, there are ways to treat varicose veins non surgically.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are a condition where your veins become enlarged due to the valves not functioning properly causing an improper flow of blood and the blood then pools as a result. Any vein under the surface of the skin can be damaged, but this most often happens to veins in the legs and feet. The veins will bulge, and appear as a blue or purple color. The visibly swollen veins will look twisted and can often be painful to the touch.
What causes varicose veins?
Your veins are lined with a layer of muscle and have tiny valves to help the heart circulate blood through your body. Since your body has to work against gravity to re-circulate blood from the tissues back to the heart, it can be difficult for your veins to return blood to your heart, especially from the legs. As a result, the muscular lining and valves of a vein can weaken over time. If this happens, blood pools in the vein, which damages it further and causes a varicose vein.
How are varicose veins treated?
There are a wide variety of treatments for varicose veins, though the best treatment for you will likely depend on the severity of your condition. More severe cases of varicose veins may require surgery, whereas moderate to mild cases could be managed through non-surgical means.
Sclerotherapy– A common, non-surgical procedure that uses salt water injections to collapse the damaged vein.
Radio Frequency Ablation– A more recent, non-invasive treatment using heat generated by electromagnetic energy to close off the damaged veins.
Endovenous Laser Ablation– Lasers are used in this procedure to create heat and cut the veins.
Vein Stripping– An invasive procedure that uses a wire to remove the damaged vein from the body through an incision near the groin.
Phlebectomy– A less invasive, surgical treatment requiring tiny incisions to remove small varicose veins that branch out from larger ones.
“Trivex”– Similarly to a normal phlebectomy, a transilluminated powered phlebectomy uses a small, rotating blade to remove small varicose veins.
Can varicose veins be prevented?
You cannot completely prevent varicose veins, but you can reduce your risk for developing them. If you are overweight or have to sit or stand for long periods of time, your risk increases.
Reduction and alternative treatments
You can effectively reduce your risk for this painful and unsightly condition, or prevent already formed varicose veins from worsening by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Changing positions when sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Wearing comfortable shoes and loose clothing
- Wearing compression stockings regularly