There wasn’t much that could be done for people with varicose veins, not too many years ago. Wearing thick stockings and commonsense techniques to prevent the condition from worsening was about all that could be done. However, today there is no reason to put up with unsightly varicose veins as numerous successful treatments are available.
Defining Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are a condition in which leg veins close to the surface of the skin begin bulging and acquire a gnarled, bluish, snakelike appearance. The good news is that varicose veins involve only surface veins that are not essential to leg circulation. Therefore, varicose veins can be treated without fear that circulation to the leg will be harmed. The condition is common, with about 60% of people developing some areas of varicose veins in their lifetime. There is a lesser form of varicose veins, commonly called “spider veins,” where the bulging is not as pronounced and instead resemble thin spider webs in their intricate design.
Causes of Varicose Veins
Despite how common the condition is, the exact causes of varicose veins are not known. It appears to be influenced by genetics, so if your relatives have problems with the condition, you may develop it as well. Pregnant women are prone to it, as is anything that might negatively influence circulation in the legs, such as gaining, weight, or having a job requiring standing or sitting for long periods of time. The tendency to develop varicose veins also increases as you age.
The harsh treatments of the past, which often involved stripping the veins through procedures involving metal rods, are almost never used anymore. Instead, there are far less invasive techniques such as the use of radio waves and a thin catheter in a procedure that is virtually painless with no major scarring. Even less intrusive are laser techniques which collapse the bulging veins with bursts of light. There are also foam treatments that are injected into the vein, which are especially effective for spider veins. A technique called ambulatory phlebectomy involves extracting the varicose veins directly, an aggressive treatment noted for its quick resolution of the problem.
Relief is Available
Only a doctor can determine which treatment is best for each individual case. Once varicose veins develop, there is little that can be done that does not require professional treatment. Commonsense remedies such as weight control, sitting properly and avoiding standing for too long can help to prevent the condition from developing, but once varicose veins appear there is little that can be done without seeking professional treatment. Fortunately, modern medicine is armed with an array of effective techniques for relieving the all too common condition known as varicose veins.