Do you know that nearly 30% of Americans are suffering from varicose veins? And if you get this condition, you are not alone. Varicose veins are formed in the fat layer between the muscle and skin. Age or hormonal changes make the valves in our leg veins weaker and because of this, blood can flow in the opposite direction. When the blood flows backward, it can lead to the expansion and protrusion of the veins.
But the fact is that varicose veins usually have no harm. But they can be a cause of physical discomfort and approximately 10% of people with this disease experience more serious side effects like swelling and bleeding. You don’t need to mask your varicose veins or alleviate unpleasant symptoms because there are many possible ways to treat them.
What are the misconceptions about varicose veins?
The most popular myth about varicose veins is that it’s just a cosmetic problem. But it is not true because they can also influence a person’s daily activity by causing pain, heaviness, cramps and a lot of different unpleasant symptoms.
Although many think that varicose veins are found only in women or only in overweight people, they can develop in all body types, as well as in men. They are also affected by hormones that often appear during first-time pregnancy.
One more misconception is that varicose veins treatment includes only invasive surgery. But most patients need a minimally invasive method to treat varicose veins.
Should you worry if you have varicose veins?
Many people with varicose veins don’t feel any pain or discomfort, so it is only a cosmetic problem for them. But in more advanced cases of the disease, people can experience swelling, a rash, discoloration, thickening, and painful ulcers on the legs. There are cases when blood flow in varicose veins slows down with the formation of a blood clot which is called phlebitis.
This is very rare, but varicose veins can start bleeding after an insignificant injury or even without any reason. The bleeding usually occurs near the ankle. In this case, you need to visit your doctor as soon as possible to avoid more serious effects.
You don’t need to put a lot of effort to check for varicose veins, especially if you feel physical discomfort. An examination by a vein specialist can determine whether your varicose veins are a health or only cosmetic problem.
What are the treatment options for varicose veins?
Modern medicine gives us an opportunity to choose between different kinds of varicose vein treatments. Fortunately, those times when the only treatment option was vein stripping have passed.
Now there are many kinds of varicose vein treatments such as:
- Sclerotherapy is injections of a solution that causes scarring in the veins, causing blood to flow into healthy veins
- Endothermal ablation is a technique that uses high-frequency radio waves or a laser to seal the veins
- Microphlebectomy is a minimally invasive surgery
- Compression stockings, which can ease discomfort, are often used in conjunction with other treatments
The number of treatments is constantly increasing. Over the past few years, several new treatments using sclerotherapy have appeared. They use medical glue (inserted through a catheter) to close the veins. All these kinds of treatment have their own pros and cons because each patient with varicose veins is different. Only a doctor can help you choose the best treatment method for your individual case.