Simply waiting for your varicose veins to disappear will not rid you of them. Varicose veins are caused by an underlying vein condition that requires medical intervention.
Many people who notice varicose veins developing on their legs believe they are a temporary condition that will eventually resolve. Unfortunately, that’s not the case: time will not heal the damaged valves in the legs that cause the blood to pool and stretch the veins, resulting in unsightly blue lines bulging from underneath the skin. Only medical treatment can cure this vein health condition, which affects about 40 million Americans.
However, there’s one exception to this rule. Due to hormones secreted during pregnancy, expectant mothers are at higher risk of developing varicose veins. As hormones dilate the veins and boost blood flow, some pregnant women will see varicose veins sprout up on their legs. Fortunately, pregnancy-related varicose veins can sometimes disappear within six to 12 weeks after giving birth.
For all other varicose vein patients, however, the only cure is medical intervention. If your varicose veins aren’t causing you too much discomfort or swelling, and you don’t want to explore medical options just yet, you should consider these lifestyle changes.
How to Prevent Varicose Veins from Getting Worse
By following a healthy lifestyle, you can avoid many of the risk factors that contribute to varicose veins. If you already have them, taking these actions may help the condition from worsening.
- Lose Weight. A major risk factor for varicose vein is obesity. Carrying extra pounds exerts excess pressure on leg veins, which can contribute to varicose vein development. Although losing weight won’t cause existing varicose veins to fade completely, it will diminish their appearance and reduce the discomfort that often accompanies the condition.
- Exercise. Exercising regularly can help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your blood circulating normally. Stretching your calf muscles and making sure you don’t sit or stand for long periods of time also aids in preventing varicose veins from emerging or getting worse.
- Wear Compression Stockings. If you have varicose veins or fear you may be at risk, slip on compression stockings. These special elastic garments are designed to squeeze the veins in the legs, helping the blood flow from the extremities to the heart.
How to Treat Varicose Veins
If your varicose veins are causing you regular discomfort, or if they’re not responding to lifestyle changes as much as you’d like, you may want to consider medical intervention. Today, vascular specialists perform an array of non-surgical or minimally invasive procedures to remedy varicose veins, including ablation, ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, Varithena, and VenaSeal.
There are two types of ablation. For radiofrequency ablation, a surgeon guides a thin catheter emitting radio radio waves through the skin and applies heat to the damaged vein. The heat closes off the vein, which is then reabsorbed into the body. The blood flow in the legs is redirected to healthier veins. Laser ablation is a similar procedure, except the catheter uses a laser to administer the heat.
With ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, on the other hand, a surgeon uses ultrasonography to locate the affected vein and then injects sclerosant, a foam-like medicine, into the vein to seal it off. As with ablation, the damaged vein is absorbed into the body and blood flow shifts to a normal vein. Similarly, varithena, a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure, involves injecting a small amount of microfoam into the varicose vein. After the vein collapses, blood makes it way to a healthier vein.
Finally, VenaSeal works the same way as the other procedures to treat varicose veins. However, instead of applying heat or a sclerosant, VenaSeal blocks off the damaged vein with a proprietary medical adhesive that requires no anesthesia.
Varicose veins will not heal on their own, and delaying treatment may worsen the condition, leading to more serious ailments. To cure varicose veins once and for all, medical treatment is necessary. If you’ve decided it’s time to treat your varicose veins medically, the doctors at the Center for Vein Restoration can advise you on which of these treatment options is best for you. When you schedule an appointment, our specialists can address all your questions.