Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

It is not uncommon for many older adults to start experiencing varicose veins. Varicose veins usually start to develop when the veins become weaker Overtime. Age isn’t the only precursor to developing varicose veins. Other precursors for varicose veins include: a family history of varicose veins, they are more common in women, if you are pregnant, overweight, or stand or sit for extended periods.

In varicose veins, your valves are not working properly. Instead of your blood flowing from one valve to the net, the blood continues to pool in the vein. Since there is not enough blood flowing through the veins, this causes the veins to start to become swollen as the blood pools in the vein. 

When you develop varicose veins, you will notice the vein beginning to bulge and appear raised and twisted. They will also be dark purple or blue in color. While not all varicose veins cause painful symptoms, there is the possibility that they could. Some symptoms you might get include an achy or heavy feeling in your legs, itching around the veins, it becomes painful to sit or stand for long periods of time, or there might be burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs.

Even though not all varicose veins can cause serious problems, there are treatment options for them, both surgical and non-surgical.

  1. Self-Care

Did you know that one of the best ways to combat and prevent varicose veins is through self-care? The non-surgical options to help you relieve the symptoms of varicose veins include:

  • Exercise – increase blood flow and circulation, strengthen muscles surround varicose veins 
  • Lose weight – obesity can contribute to the development of varicose veins due to the pressure placed on your legs
  • Eat healthy – avoid foods that are high in sodium
  • Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes
  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water
  • Elevate your legs – improve circulation throughout your body
  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods
  • Wear compression stockings – purchased at your local pharmacy, they will continuously and steadily compress your legs which helps the veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently
  • Anti-inflammatory drug (over-the-counter)- alleviate swelling and pain

While self-care is a significant first step in treating varicose veins, they might not always work. There is still the possibility they could get worse and require medical intervention.

  1. Saphenous Vein Ablation

Ablation for saphenous vein is done when your vein valves no longer function, and the blood no longer flows through the vein. It is a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure using ultrasound to guide the doctor. Your doctor will apply a local anesthetic to the vein; then, through a tiny skin puncture, they will then insert a thin catheter into the varicose vein and guide it up the great saphenous vein in your thigh. The vein is then treated with either a laser or radiofrequency through the catheter cause the vein to close and eventually turn to scar tissue.

Sclerotherapy

The medical procedure is used to eliminate varicose veins. Your doctor will inject small to medium-sized varicose veins with a solution or foam. This will irritate the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to collapse, stick together, and clot. The vein will scar over the course of a few weeks and then close. Overtime the vessel will turn to scar tissue and fade.

Sclerotherapy is highly effective if done correctly and does not require anesthesia so it can be done in your doctor’s office.

Laser Treatment

You doctor can use laser treatments to close off smaller varicose veins. The technique involves pinpointing the veins you want to get rid of and using the laser treatment to send strong bursts of light onto the vein. Visible veins will collapse and become reabsorbed by the body, then slowly fade and disappear.

The treatment is minimally invasive, and no incisions or needles are used with this procedure.

High Ligation and Vein Stripping

This treatment is for the most severe cases of varicose veins. The procedure involves tying off a vein before it joins a deep vein. You will be given general anesthesia, and the doctor will make small incisions in your skin. Then the doctor will tie off the vein and remove it. 

High ligation and vein stripping is an outpatient procedure, and the recovery time ranges from one to four weeks.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

With this less complicated procedure, your doctor will remove smaller varicose veins through a series of tiny skin punctures. The procedure is used to remove varicose veins that are close to the surface of your skin. The parts of your leg that are affected will be number by your doctor and then pricked during this outpatient procedure. You can expect minimal scarring.

Even with surgical treatments for your varicose veins, it will not stop new veins from becoming varicose.

Final Thoughts 

By keeping an eye on your varicose veins and the symptoms associated with them, you will know whether the non-surgical treatments you are trying are working or not. If they aren’t working, you should speak with your doctor about your surgical treatment options.

 

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