Varicose Veins are the twisted often-bulgy veins that develop on the legs usually of women. However men can get varicose veins as well. The word varicose vein comes from the Latin word for twisted “varix”. Any vein can technically develop into a varicose vein but they are most common in the feet and legs, this is primarily due to the increased pressure put on veins by standing and walking. People who work on their feet for long hours a day are more prone to varicose veins.
Not Just CosmeticMany people think of varicose veins as strictly a cosmetic problem. Varicose veins can make legs ugly and unattractive, and for that reason alone women seek to have them removed. However in many cases varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic concern. True varicose veins as opposed to thread varicose veins or spider veins, can be painful, and have other health ramifications. In some cases varicose veins can lead to or be indicative of more serious circulatory problems. Varicose veins cross the line of being only a cosmetic nuisance and need to be treated medically when:
- You feel a prolonged heavy or achy feeling in your legs
- You experience muscle cramping or throbbing in the legs that seems to get worse when standing for a longtime or sitting in one position for a longtime
- Your varicose veins seem to itch or burn
- If you develop ulcerations around the feet and ankles. These ulcers result from the pressure put on the skin from the bulging varicose veins. Such ulcerations can be very painful.
Recognizing Varicose VeinsVaricose veins can occur anywhere but are most typical on the back of the calves or thighs. Varicose veins are bulgy, usually purple, but can also appear as bulges or bumps with little or no color. They will often appear twisted like cords.
Treatments for Varicose VeinsVaricose veins at their best are unattractive and embarrassing, at their worst painful with medical complications. The good news is, in either case there are ways to have them reduced or eliminated. There are dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons who actually specialize in the removal or treatment for varicose veins and other venous disorders. Treatments for the removal of varicose veins include:
Vein Stripping – Vein stripping was the traditional surgical method used to remove large varicose veins though open incisions. It is still practiced, but is being replaced with newer and less invasive techniques.
Endoscopic Vein Surgery - Less invasive then vein stripping, here the surgeon uses an endoscope inserted through the leg to see and close varicose veins, and then can remove them using smaller incisions.
Endo Venous Laser Treatment (EVLT) – The EVLT laser has become a popular alternative to vein striping and other surgeries. It is a minimally invasive technique where a qualified physician will use a medical laser to seal of the blood supply to the vein making it shrink and disappear.
Varicose veins are common after pregnancy, these type of varicose veins usually shrink and disappear on their own after childbirth.
Prevention of Varicose VeinsThe potential of developing varicose veins can be minimized by:
- Trying to avoid standing or sitting in one position for long periods of time
- Exercise often
- Avoid wearing tight socks or tight slacks
- If veins are already developing try keeping the legs elevated when lying down
- Lose weight