Do You Have Signs and Symptoms of Varicose Veins?
- Leg pain, aching or cramping
- Leg or ankle swelling, especially at the end of the day
- Burning or itching of the legs
- Restless legs
- Night time leg cramps
- Skin discoloration, or texture changes above the inner ankle
- Bleeding or ulcerations of the legs
- Heavy, weighty feeling in legs
- Leg fatigue
What Went Wrong?
Healthy leg veins contain one-way valves to carry blood against gravity from the legs back toward the heart. Varicose veins are caused by the failure of these one-way valves to close tightly. Blood then flows downwards instead, and pools in the veins of the leg and feet. The pooled blood exerts increased pressure within the veins, which causes them to dilate. Prolonged high pressure in these varicose veins can lead to chronic inflammation in the surrounding tissues, and over time will produce worsening changes within the leg itself.
Putting Off Treatment Is Not the Right Answer
Don’t ignore varicose veins.They will not resolve on their own, and will almost always get worse over time. Varicose veins are more than a cosmetic problem. While they may be primarily of cosmetic concern in some people, symptoms and complications from varicose veins are very common.
Start by seeing a doctor who is a vein specialist. They will get a history of your venous problems, do a physical exam, and obtain an ultrasound evaluation. It’s simple, painless and non-invasive. From this test, a vein specialist can develop a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms, prevent complications, and improve your appearance.
Even those with minimal symptoms should get an evaluation from a vein specialist. The treatment options generally range from managing your symptoms conservatively by making simple lifestyle changes, elevating your legs or using compression stockings, to treatments designed to eliminate the diseased veins. This more definitive treatment generally leads to better long-term results
The Initial Evaluation Is Easy
A venous duplex ultrasound examination permits your doctor to see the venous anatomy beneath your skin, and to check its flow characteristics. Through this examination, your physician can gather crucial information to adequately diagnose your specific vein problem and to plan and guide treatment.
What Are Newer and Better Treatments for Varicose Veins?
Thankfully, the days of vein stripping, with its scarring and long downtime are gone. No longer does treatment mean a hospital stay or a long, uncomfortable recovery.
A diverse arsenal of treatment modalities is now available. Clinical studies have found the new procedures developed over the last 25 years to be very effective. And what’s more, they are in-office, minimally invasive and require little downtime.
Vein treatment programs are designed to treat visible varicose veins, and to treat abnormal veins that may not be visible but may be the source of visible varicosities.
Light energy (laser) or electrical energy (radio frequency) may be used to heat the vein walls and cause them to collapse. Once the diseased veins are collapsed and sealed, the body re-routes blood flow through the many remaining normal veins. Normal circulation is then restored, and there is much less pressure on the veins. The body eventually absorbs the sealed, collapsed veins.
Treatment can also involve in-office, micro-incision removal of the visible varicose veins through an incision that’s about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen. Or the injection of medication (sclerotherapy) to collapse and seal the veins. For deeper anatomy, sclerotherapy injections guided by ultrasound may be used.
Successful treatment of abnormal veins does not remove the tendency of a patient to develop varicose veins. You may need to return for maintenance treatments on a periodic basis after your initial treatment is completed.
Positive Outcomes Result from Treatment
Varicose veins are treatable with excellent minimally invasive therapies. You can get rid of the dullness and pain. Your legs can feel lighter. Today’s improved approaches and outcomes will have you feeling great again, enjoying improved health, and looking better too.
Adrienne Travis is a blogger for Zimmet Vein & Dermatology in Austin, Texas. Adrienne has never had varicose vein treatments, but learned a lot about them in writing this article.