If you have varicose veins, you may wonder if they're harmful or dangerous. When the veins are prominent, their appearance is concerning. In most cases, varicose veins are nothing but a cosmetic problem. They may cause embarrassment, but that's about it. Occasionally the veins cause symptoms that make you physically uncomfortable, such as itching and burning. Whether you want to get rid of them for the sake of appearance or because they are bothersome, there are treatments that can help. Here are some for you to consider.
The first step is to make lifestyle changes if you can. This may help the varicose veins you have now and prevent new ones from forming. Some things you can do include staying at your ideal weight, exercising regularly, and elevating your legs frequently. Avoid standing in place for prolonged periods of time. Shift your weight and move around as much as possible. Don't sit for long periods of time if you can help it. Talk to your doctor about wearing compression stockings. You can buy them at a drugstore, but your doctor may want to give you prescription strength stockings that compress your legs and enhance circulation. You may need to wear them all day when you're at work to stimulate blood flow through your legs, especially if you have to sit all day or stand in place.
Lasers are sometimes used to zap varicose veins so they shrivel and disappear. If you have small veins that are close to the surface of your skin, the doctor can zap the veins right through the skin without having to make an incision or use a needle. If the veins are deeper, the doctor may need to insert a laser fiber into the vein for the treatment. Laser treatments don't make veins disappear right away. It takes time for the veins to close off, die, and disappear. You don't have to worry about killing off the veins since there are plenty of others to provide adequate blood flow through your legs.
Sclerotherapy works in a similar way to laser treatments, except a solution or foam is used instead of a laser. The end result is scarring that closes off the vein, which causes it to shrivel and fade after a few weeks. This treatment can be done on small and medium varicose veins, although larger veins may need to be treated more than once. Sclerotherapy and laser treatments are done in your doctor's office. You'll be awake and alert, so your doctor may apply a topical anesthetic so you won't have any discomfort.
If you have large or deep varicose veins, your doctor may opt to remove them. This involves tying off the vein and then cutting it out. This requires an incision, and your doctor may even use a camera to visualize the vein during the surgery. This is usually done as an outpatient procedure, but if you have other medical problems such as leg ulcers or diabetes, your doctor may keep you in the hospital overnight to monitor your recovery.
The varicose veins that are treated won't come back, but it is possible you'll develop new ones in the future. That's why it is important to avoid being overweight and inactive when you know you're prone to developing varicose veins. For more information, talk to doctors like those at Alaska Vein Care.