Many people suffer from varicose veins either due to the pain it brings, or because it looks unappealing. Approximately 1 in 4 Americans have this condition, which are enlarged, twisted and dark-colored veins on the legs. Varicose veins can only be eliminated through treatments that could be invasive or non-invasive. The most fitting procedure to get rid of varicose veins depends on the severity of the condition. If you have varicose veins, and want to achieve smooth, beautiful legs, you came at the right place. Let us tell you more about varicose veins and what you can do about it.
What causes varicose veins?
Women could develop varicose veins on the legs during and after pregnancy. According to Dr. Martin, "increased pressure against the inferior vena cava, the main vein that drains blood from the lower half of the body. In certain body positions, the fetus can practically block the flow of blood." Furthermore, the imbalance of hormones during pregnancy "causes the smooth muscle of the veins to relax, increasing both their storage capacity and their propensity to dilate. This in turn increases the risk of varicose and spider veins."
When a person gains weight, the pressure on the legs and the veins in it increases as well. like Dr. Bordone explains, "anything that increases pressure in your abdomen can lead to varicose veins," such as fat.
People who are frequently standing or sitting for long hours may develop varicose veins. Inadequate exercise also prevents good blood circulation, which can cause increased pressure in the leg veins, resulting to the veins getting larger and twisted.
Varicose veins can be genetically acquired from parents or grandparents. It can even get worse if a person doesn’t have a good blood circulation.
Treatments for varicose veins
- Use a pantyhose or compression stockings
Wearing pantyhose or compression for the legs can help the veins and leg muscles transport blood easier and more efficiently. Wearing leg compressions is the first approach when treating varicose veins, as the compression squeezes the legs, which can ease or prevent the varicose veins from getting worse.
- Take Horse Chestnut Seed Extract
This natural extract can reduce the dilation of veins. You can buy products like these online.
- Apply Witch Hazel
Witch Hazel is widely available, which you can also find in drugstores near you. It has a "hose effect with the little film of chemical to squeeze the skin and relieve pain," according to Dr. Martin
- Prevention through self-care
You can prevent varicose veins from getting worse through exercise, diet, losing weight and by avoiding wearing tight clothes. You can also elevate the legs regularly, and avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time.
Surgeries for more severe varicose veins
Sclerotherapy is the most common approach for varicose veins. Because this procedure is minimally invasive, the client is allowed to go home right after the treatment. This procedure involves injection of a solution to small or medium varicose veins, which scars and closes the veins. In a few weeks, the veins will eventually fade.
Foam sclerotherapy is applied to larger varicose veins. A foam solution is injected into the veins, which closes and seals it.
Laser devices can also be used to treat small varicose veins or spider veins. The laser sends strong bursts of light into the vein, which makes the veins fade and disappear. This is a non-invasive procedure that doesn’t require any incision or use of injection.
Varicose veins can also be treated using catheter-assisted procedures in combination with radiofrequency or laser energy. The procedure begins with the doctor inserting a catheter into the veins, where the tip of the catheter is heated using either radiofrequency or laser energy. As the catheter is pulled out, the veins collapse and sealed shut by heat. This approach is usually performed for larger veins.
High ligation and vein stripping
In this procedure, the veins are tied off before it joins a deep vein. The vein is then removed through small incisions. This approach is typically performed for clients who have severe varicose veins. However, for most people it’s an outpatient surgery, as it doesn’t affect the circulation of blood in the legs.
This procedure is performed for clients with small varicose veins. It involves removing of the veins through a series of tiny skin punctures. Ambulatory phlebectomy is an outpatient procedure, where only some parts of the leg that are punctured are numbed.
Endoscopic vein surgery
This operation is the last option if all else fail for treatment of the varicose veins. Endoscopic vein surgery is performed to clients with advanced case that involves leg ulcer. In this procedure, the doctor inserts a miniscule video camera into the legs to be able to see the veins when closing and removing it. The veins are removed through small incisions. Despite its intricate procedure, this treatment can be done in an outpatient basis.
Difference between varicose veins and spider veins
Varicose veins are veins that have stretched with blood pooled. It usually occurs when the other valve isn’t working properly. Varicose veins are highly noticeable due to its thick appearance that bulge on the legs. Compared to spider veins that are just thin veins under the skin that usually has a blue color. Although spider veins can be a symptom of poor blood circulation, it’s typically harmless.
"It's not uncommon to have varicose and spider veins in one leg," said Garth Rosenberg, MD, a vascular surgeon at the Capitol Vein and Laser Center in Frederick, MD.
How to preventing varicose veins in the future
Exercise is the best way to prevent the formation of varicose veins, and keep the legs looking young. It’s a good reason to begin your workout, as Dr. Rosenberg explains, "The more you're active and healthy the better."
Dr. Rosenberg’s suggests swimming and climbing stairs as great exercises to boost circulation. On the hand, Dr. Martin swears by walking. Toe raises is also a great choice which you can do anytime, anywhere. Just what Dr. Martin mentioned in his book, “Throughout the day, strengthen and exercise your calf muscles by simply raising yourself up on the balls of your feet and then lowering yourself back down."