Many times varicose veins appear and cause no pain at all. They’re dark blue or purple in color and look twisted and bulging. However, they are sometimes accompanied by achy or heavy feeling legs, burning, throbbing, swelling and sometimes itching.
They can appear for a variety of reasons, but most commonly come from age or pregnancy. As we get older, veins lose their elasticity causing them to stretch. The valves become weak, allowing blood that should be moving to the heart to flow backwards and pool in the vein causing them to become varicose. Some pregnant women develop them because they have increased blood volume in their body, but decreased flow of blood to the legs.
There are other risk factors that may contribute to the development of varicose veins. Women are more likely to develop them than men because of hormonal changes. Family history may also be a factor. If your family members had varicose veins, you’re more likely to develop them. Additionally, obesity and sitting or standing for long periods of time can also increase your risk.
Fortunately, treatment for varicose veins doesn’t mean a long hospital stay or prolonged recovery time. There are a few options to help decrease varicose veins or help them disappear completely.
- Self Care: Losing weight, exercising and elevating your legs can ease pain and prevent them from getting worse.
- Compression Stockings: These stockings are worn daily and steadily squeeze legs helping veins and leg muscles to move blood more efficiently.
- Laser Surgery: Physicians are using new laser treatments to close off smaller varicose veins. The laser sends a strong burst of light onto the vein, which makes it slowly fade and disappear.
- Catheter-Assisted Surgery: In this treatment, your doctor will insert a thin tube (catheter) into the enlarged vein and heats the tip of the catheter. As the catheter is pulled out, the heat destroys the vein causing it to collapse and seal shut.
- Vein Stripping: This procedure involves removing a long vein through a small incision.
When it comes to treatments for varicose veins, there are many options. Be sure to consult your doctor before thinking about any of these treatments so you can learn more about the side effects and potential health risks.