Varicose veins are often seen as unattractive and uncomfortable, but they are something that can easily be treated. When veins become enlarged, swollen and cover your legs, they are diagnosed as varicose veins. The valves that allow blood to flow within the body become damaged and the blood accumulates in the vein, which is what causes the swollen veins. Roughly 33% of women and 17% of men in America are affected by varicose veins. What are some treatments for this condition?
By visiting a doctor and having a physical exam, the doctor can decide whether you do have varicose veins. They will ask about your symptoms, whether someone close in their family has had varicose veins, and if you have had any kind of leg injuries. The doctor might order diagnostic tests such as a Doppler test or color duplex ultrasound scan. These check the color of the veins and the structure, as well as the blood flow through the valves.
To reduce pain and discomfort as well as swelling, some doctors will recommend compression socks. These socks squeeze your legs to improve circulation, typically very tight around the ankles and getting looser as you go up the leg. They help get the blood to flow upwards towards the heart. It is important to have your doctor show you how to wear them properly, as wearing them too low can cause the blood flow to not get to the heart, and wearing them improperly can cause more pain in the legs.
If you have larger varicose veins, they can be removed. The surgery is often an outpatient procedure, so you can go home the same day. It usually involves a laser treatment so there are no incisions or needles involved. The surgeon will tie off and remove the larger veins. In order to have surgery you will have to have tests to figure out where exactly the damaged valves are in your veins. By having these tests done you are increasing the chances of having a successful surgery on your varicose veins. Surgery is not always covered by insurance because it is typically done for cosmetic reasons and not for medical reasons. Although these veins can be painful, they are not typically life threatening.
Sclerotherapy is also something a doctor might recommend if you have a more serious case of varicose veins. This involves a solution being injected into the veins that scars and closes the veins. The doctor uses a tiny needle and can take several sessions if there needs to be more than one injection depending on how bad the veins are. Those veins will fade within a few weeks, although they might need to be injected more than once. This can be done in your doctorâ€™s office and is a quick procedure.
Sometimes, surgery and sclerotherapy can be used to treat varicose veins. By combining both of these procedures the patient is more likely to have less issues with varicose veins in the future, therefore making the procedure more successful.
Ambulatory phlebectomy is another form of treatment for varicose veins. The doctor will use a local anesthesia to remove surface veins with tiny punctures. These are for smaller varicose veins and will leave very tiny and hard to see marks on the leg. You will need to wear a compression stocking or bandage for a short period of time after this procedure, but it is one that is an outpatient procedure so you do not have to go through a longer procedure.
Often you can change your lifestyle to treat for the varicose veins. By changing your lifestyle, you can prevent the veins rom getting worse, reduce pain and reduce the risk of more varicose veins from forming. You can avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time without taking a break, avoid crossing your legs when sitting, and do physical activities to get your legs moving more frequently. Lose weight if you are overweight to improve blood flow, and avoid wearing tight clothes as they can make the veins worse.
You can prevent varicose veins by protecting your skin from the sun, regularly exercising, controlling your legs, elevating your legs when you are resting, and eating a low-sat, high-fiber diet. Not all varicose veins can be prevented, but by taking some of these precautionary steps you will be able to lower your chances of getting new varicose veins appearing on your legs.
Varicose vein treatments depend on your condition and how bad it is. Your doctor will be able to tell you which treatment is the best for you. Whether you need surgery to remove the veins, sclerotherapy, ambulatory phlebectomy, or a less invasive approach, you do have plenty of options when it comes to removing varicose veins. Many people suffer from varicose veins, depending on your age, medical history, weight gain, lack of movement and many other factors. A doctor is able to diagnose your veins and determine the best course of treatment for you in order to relieve your symptoms, prevent complications, and improve the appearance of your legs.