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Varicose Vein Information

Updated on October 22, 2014

Varicose Veins Treatments and Varicose Vein Treatment Options

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged and often gnarled veins that are close to the surface of your skin, with many making the skin bulge outward.

When someone has many varicose veins their legs will appear to have a blue tinge from a distance. This is caused by the veins being so close to the surface of the skin.

These veins are not only ugly to look at but they can also be very painful and cause medical complications. About 25% of the female population and 15% of the male population have this painful issue and when you look at those over 50, nearly 50% are affected. 

Many women develop varicose veins while they are pregnant and although most will go away after giving birth a good portion of women will have their leg problems for life.

A vein becomes varicose when it can no longer pump the blood back to the heart properly. The valves that help move the blood up towards the heart get weak and blood pools instead of being pushed along quickly. As the valves weaken they swell and become varicose and can no longer function as they should.

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins but they are much smaller and often do not hurt as much.

Hemorrhoids are also veins that have become varicose although we won't be covering hemorrhoids today.

So what can you do about varicose veins?

What are the treatment options ?What are the alternate treatments?What can you do to help alleviate this painful health issue?These are some of the questions that we will be asking and answering on this page.

What Types Of Treatment Options Are There For Varicose Veins?

This really depends on the progression and condition of your varicose veins.

Vein Stripping

Most vein "stripping" now is done with 2 small incisions, one near the calf muscle and one in the groin area and the vein can be easily removed, by pulling the vein out from either incision.

The large saphenous vein is almost never removed since it can be later used for heart bypass surgery.

If the veins are gnarled or twisted, often incisions are made every 2-3 inches and the vein is pulled out in small pieces. The incisions are then other stitched or stapled closed. If staples are used the are usually removed one week later.

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a solution, often a saline solution, directly into the varicose vein or spider vein. The veins become irritated and swollen. They then will stick together, clot and then turn into scar tissue.

The vein then will dissolve naturally over time.

Sclerotherapy is done right in the doctors office and the visit is only 60 minutes or so. Depending on the amount and the size of the varicose veins, several visits may be necessary.

There isn't much pain involved with sclerotherapy, just a feeling of heat, almost a burning sensation and sometimes there is itchiness for a few days afterwards and some people experience a cramping feeling.

Most varicose veins will leave a brown colored line under the skin for up to two years later. Most may not disappear at all but you have a good chance that they will.

Except for a few days of not being able to apply skin lotion or do a lot of walking or cardio where you would be pounding the legs on to the ground, you can usually resume normal daily function the same day.

Unfortunately not everyone is a good candidate for sclerotherapy.

Thermal Ablation

Thermal ablation is similar to sclerotherapy except an electrical current is used instead of liquid solution and the heat seals the veins causing them to dissolve over time.

Laser Ablation

Again similar to sclerotherapy, with the exception that a laser is used to shoot beams of light onto the veins causing them seal, and then dissolve over time.

Photo of Legs After Vein Stripping

Above is a photo of my legs after I had vein stripping done on them in 1986.

Each one of the vertical lines on where the skin was cut is a staple. The vein stripping was done on both the back and front of my legs, from ankles to the top of each leg, and the staples numbered more than 170.

They do tell you that the veins can and usually will grow back and will more-than-likely become varicose again.

Luckily there are newer not so invasive procedures.

Varicose Veins or Spider Veins?

Are you bothered more by varicose veins or spider veins? Maybe both?

See results

Which Treatment Is Best For Varicose Veins?

That's a decision that only you and your doctor can arrive at.

Each case is different, and each treatment method has to be assessed.

Your doctor will look at your current and past health history, along with the health history of family members and will then take a very good look at your veins, touch them, see how they react, and after looking at the veins from your groin down to your feet, your doctor will either discuss options with you that they will complete or refer you to a specialist.

What Can Be Done To Help Prevent Varicose Veins?

Unfortunately you can't totally prevent varicose veins.

However, by keeping your circulation optimized and good muscle tone you may be able to reduce the appearance of varicose & spider veins.

Elevate your legs when ever possible. When your watching TV rest them on a pillow.

Exercise Get your circulation going by regular exercise like walking.

Don't sit or stand too long at one time. Get up an move around. When you sit or stand for a long time the blood will start to pool in your legs making your veins work harder. If you move your muscles will help the veins circulate your blood.

Lose Weight if you are over weight. Extra weight can cause unnecessary pressure on your veins.

Watch your diet and try to reduce salt intake. Salt can make your body retain water which will again put unnecessary pressure on your veins. Also try to eat more high fiber foods. Constipation can not only cause hemorrhoids but will put pressure on your circulatory system.

Try to wear loose of clothing or under garments that might stop or hinder circulation. This is especially true of clothing around the waist and legs.

Wear elastic socks, stockings or pantyhose. This will help compress the veins and aid in circulation. You can find these in the hosiery section of larger department stores.

Videos To Help You Learn More About Varicose Veins

Have You Seen a Medical Professional About Your Veins Yet?

Have you had a consultation with a doctor yet about your varicose or spider veins?

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Tips For Preventing Varicose Veins

While most varicose veins do not have any symptoms, some affected with them usually experience pain. Other symptoms include itching around one or more affected veins. There is also that achy or heavy feeling in the legs, burning and throbbing in the legs, muscle cramping, and swelling of the lower legs. The most severe cases usually develop skin ulcers near the ankle.

There are several factors that contribute to the development of varicose veins. Women, for example, are more likely to experience varicose veins than men. Hormonal changes such as pregnancy, pre-menstruation, or menopause, are some of the possible causes. Genes could hand down varicose veins too. Aging also contributes to the wear and tear of the veins, causing the valves within those veins to malfunction. Moreover, excessive weight as well as standing and sitting for long periods of time could give one varicose veins too.

Usually, self-help measures are effective in easing the pain in varicose veins and may prevent the condition from worsening. Listed below are a few of them.

Wearing Compression Stockings

Self-care measures start by wearing compression stockings. When worn all day, compression stockings squeeze the legs and help the veins and leg muscles to move blood. The amount of compression usually varies b type and brand. Fortunately, there are many types and brands of stockings to choose from. Patients can now choose the most comfortable ones. Before buying compression stockings, keep in mind that they should fit properly. Determining the right fit is easy. Using a tape measure, you or a companion can measure your legs to get the right size and fit.

Regular Exercise

Of course, there are also traditional common-sense approaches to preventing varicose veins. One is regular exercise. Exercise, such as walking, promotes proper blood circulation. Thus, walking regularly improves blood flow and prevents overtaxing of the veins.

Proper Diet

Because excessive weight puts unnecessary pressure on the veins, losing weight may also help prevent varicose veins. A low-salt, high fiber diet prevents swelling of the veins resulting from water retention and constipation.

Low-heeled Shoes

You may also consider switching your high heels for low-heeled shoes. Low-heeled shoes work calf muscles, which in turn is good for the veins because blood circulation is improved. Tight clothing and undergarments are not advisable because they impede blood circulation.

Elevate Your Legs

Elevating your legs daily above the level of the heart improves venous circulation. Do this by lying down with your legs resting on three or four pillows.

Proper Posture for Good Circulation

Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. Change positions frequently to encourage good circulation. Change your position at least every 30 minutes. When sitting down, avoid crossing your legs. The position only worsens circulation problems.

Pretty much of the measures to prevent varicose veins are easy to perform and are common activities done daily. Practicing these good habits not only help prevent varicose veins, they contribute to your general well being as well. So put on your low-heeled shoes and start walking.

Varicose Vein Staple Scars

Varicose Vein Staple Scars
Varicose Vein Staple Scars

Health Concerns or Looks?

Are you more concerend about your varicose & spider veins for health concerns or for looks?

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Compression Socks

Compression socks are in the same grouping as support socks.

While most compression socks give you added support from your arch to the top of the sock you will find that those labeled "gradual support" give more support higher up on the sock.

Gradual compression socks usually give more support than standard support socks and runners, walkers and people involved in high intensity cardio workouts find that they may help in their recovery time and are becoming extremely popular as a sport sock.

You will often see them listed as running compression socks or compression socks running and they come in sizes and styles for both men and women.

The products on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

If you have any questions or concerns about your varicose veins or spider veins we suggest that you discuss this with your physician as we are not a substitute for their care.

Do you have any helpful hints to help avoid Varicose Veins?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Remember the story of peptic ulcer? It was considered a "lifestyle" disease, treated with acid-suppressants, diet and all other kinds of b-s-t treatments.Until 2 Australian MDs (Barry Marshall was one of them) showed that at the root of all there is a bacteria HELICOBACTER PYLORI. Nobel Prize in 2005 is a just reward for their discovery!

      Now about varicose veins. Chance is that this plague also is of bacterial origin. We might discover that people who never have varicose veins just have a high immunity level. Nobody knows the name of this bacteria living in the veins and eating them from inside, but on the other hand, NOBODY WAS EVEN LOOKING FOR IT!

      My suggestion is very simple - boost your immune system by all means possible! I don't recommend this as a panacea, but please logon to and decide if applying the PCSL to your varicose veins might help you.

      It did help me big way!

    • profile image

      dandor 8 years ago

      Was really nice to read your lens, learnt a lot.

      Good work, keep it up.

      Dan

      Hemroids

    • profile image

      TheWicker 8 years ago

      Interesting lens and nice layout! Thanks for sharing this info. Urban, lensmaster of Anxiety Disorder Treatment

    • cannedguds lm profile image

      cannedguds lm 8 years ago

      One of the spider vein treatment recommended by doctors is stripping or surgery. Thank goodness there are lenses like these that tells of a natural method! Thanks for sharing this lens! I'm sure a lot of people with varicose veins will be more than grateful to read this 5-star lens of yours!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      im angry bcuz im only 17 and i already have vericose veins.............HELP!!!!!!!!!!

    • nebby profile image
      Author

      nebby 8 years ago from USA

      [in reply to bnice] Unfortunately some of us were hard wired to get varicose veins but there are a few things that you can do that can help them from getting worse - or in some cases they can even appear less noticeable.

      1. If you are currently over weight, try to get back down to a weight that fits your body frame and height. Don't do this through any dangerous or fad diets but try to only eat when you are hungry and only eat enough until you no longer feel hungry.

      2. Try to add more fiber into your diet. Foods that are good in fiber are oatmeal, fruits, veggies, salad greens and whole wheat breads.

      3. When ever you have a chance try to elevate your legs. I know that this is almost impossible if you are at school or work for most of the day so just try it at home while you are watching tv.

      4. Talk with your parents. Especially if you have a Mom who has problem veins. They can help you research more information and even have you talk with a doctor for more tips.

      Good Luck!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      i,m so happy and thankful for sharing this info for everyone.i really learned a lot. this will help us to know more about varicose vein...thanks again...

    • StacyWhiting LM profile image

      StacyWhiting LM 8 years ago

      I remember my mom complaining about varicose veins when I was growing up. This lens is very informative particularly the information about maintaining a healthy diet and exercising to minimize weight.

    • nebby profile image
      Author

      nebby 8 years ago from USA

      [in reply to xyresics]

      If you have any medical questions at all you should discuss it with your doctor. They know your health history and can give you the information that you need.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Excellent Lens. 5*

      If you get a chance check out my Instant Stress Management lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      am startin to get my varicose vains come out am only 19 yrs of age am nt too sure of wat to do about it thery hut really bad if anyone could help me out or tell me wat theyv done thanks

    • Eklectik1 profile image

      Eklectik1 7 years ago

      Thank you for putting this together. My wife is considering treatment so this was very helpful.

    • profile image

      WellnessDiva 7 years ago

      Excellent information! I learned quite a bit about varicose veins from this lens. Nice to see more evidence of bioflavonoids beneficial effects on the circulatory system.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Wonderful info. I'm only 26 and I have this small veins above my heel and it's really painful. I hope your remedy helps :)

      5*

    • nebby profile image
      Author

      nebby 7 years ago from USA

      [in reply to jaja23]

      When ever veins are painful, you should see doctor so that he/she can determine what might be causing the pain. There are several reasons why you are feeling pain and it's always best to see what's going on instead of doing any self-diagnosis or therapy.

      If your doctor determines that home remedies is the way to go - then fine - but let a professional decide.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Great information on an important subject. Top marks and thanks for sharing.

      Norma

    • profile image

      marcell23 7 years ago

      they are some very interesting ideas and concepts at play here nice

      check out my lens on the subject hemorrhoid miracle

    • profile image

      totalhealth 6 years ago

      thnak you for the tips on how to prevent varicose veins, really helpful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      i need to find out what kind of doctor to see regarding my painful, buldging vericose veins.

      my D.O. has not suggested any help.. and i've been in pain for sev years...more veins keep popping up.

    • nebby profile image
      Author

      nebby 6 years ago from USA

      @anonymous: Doris,

      I am quite surprised that you have not been given any info from your Doctors office since they are usually the ones to refer patients. Have you asked specifically about your veins or just mentioned them in passing? If you have not made an appointment specifically for your veins do so and explain about the pain. Sometimes veins can look ugly but they won't hurt. Stress the hurting.

      Usually a surgeon is the one who removes varicose veins but with so many new types of treatments now it had basically become its own specialty.

      Check with your insurance company to see who they cover under your insurance plan if you have one.

      Then once you have that information check out their page in the yellow pages phone book and also a web site if they have one. See if they list a multitude of options for their patients.

      Contact one of two that give you a feeling of confidence and let them know that you are looking at options and they will often give you a free consultation and many time will give you a few referrals of their past patients that you can check.

      Your insurance company should be the first step since you want to be sure that the doctor or facility that you do decide to go with is covered by your insurance plan. Otherwise you may get stuck with a very large bill.

      If there are more than 1 doctor in your doctor's office and you insurance will cover a visit with them, make an appointment with them and see what they say. I know that you may feel as though you are going behind your doctor's back but varicose veins should be treated if they are painful and bulging.

      I'm not a doctor or a nurse of anything like that, so please don't take my information as medical advice., just as someone who has gone through the pain and suffering of varicose veins so I know how you feel.

      Good luck & let us know how things go for you.

    • profile image

      SueJerdak 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I recommend that you see a phlebologist. Phlebologists are the experts of varicose vein treatment.

    • profile image

      SueJerdak 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I suggest you see a phlebologist.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What's working for me is exercise, healthier diet, drinking the recommended amount of water a day and massaging the area everyday. Also I have been improving my posture when I sit or stand. And definitely keep moving and stretching.

    • profile image

      SueJerdak 6 years ago

      Don't cross your legs while sitting.

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      don't sit for long periods with your legs curled up under you

    • Lisa-Marie-Mary profile image

      Lisa-Marie-Mary 6 years ago

      This lens is so helpful - thank you!

    • spunkyduckling profile image

      spunkyduckling 6 years ago

      I got a spider vein or two but never knew that both spider and varicose veins don't function in pumping blood to the heart. Thanks for educating me and I can only imagine the task to live with such veins. :(

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 6 years ago

      I've wondered about the options for getting rid of varicose veins. I see them here now and have learned something. My mom has varicose veins and when I was little, I thought she called them "very close veins" so that is what I called them too!

    • nebby profile image
      Author

      nebby 6 years ago from USA

      @puzzlerpaige: "Very close veins" - that's what I thought they were called also. It does sound very much like it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I am waiting to get in to see a specialist about my veins, but meanwhile I am in excruciating pain. If I drive the car, I can't walk for 3 or 4 hours after and the pain leaves me in tears. Can anyone suggest what pain relief works best, as paracetamol seems to make no difference. I cannot sleep because of the pain, and need to take something to cope.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: If you sleep on your side, try putting a pillow between your knees and another behind your back if necessary.

      If you sleep on your back, place a pillow just below your bottom, at the top of your legs and either place the two pillows uder your feet, or rise the feet end of your be on bricks or telephone books. I prefer the former but my mother prefers the later.

      If you can get a comfortable position to sleep in, the pain during the day is not so bad.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      Really interesting. I've spent the last 20 years standing on concrete floors and I have some early stages for varicose veins. Thanks for the info. :)

    • profile image

      termit_bronx 6 years ago

      Very informative lens, nicely done! One of my friends have this.

    • profile image

      doubleside lm 6 years ago

      Wow, Thank you for the information!

    • michelleart profile image

      Michelle Collins 6 years ago from Florida

      @puzzlerpaige: "very close veins" that's too funny!

    • michelleart profile image

      Michelle Collins 6 years ago from Florida

      This is great info. I have had these since I was 16. I was a hairdresser for 12 years always in high heels and worked while I was pregnant with my 3 daughters so they have gotten worse over the years. Thanks for all of this info!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 6 years ago

      I had one varicose vein taken care of via sclerotherapy about 20 years ago. I've had no others but I do avoid wearing anything too tight, standing for too long, etc.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      I have some great ideas.. and I have a completely pain free operation free method to cure them :) I am going to make a lens about it :)

    • profile image

      euneakme 6 years ago

      This is a great lens. I love the alternative methods you posted to prevent them.

    • profile image

      SueJerdak 6 years ago

      Straining, caused by constipation or heavy cough, are also known to cause varicose veins. Accordingly, try to avoid these conditions.

    • profile image

      momsfunny 5 years ago

      You had given us great information. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I don't have varicose cause i know how to prevent it by elevate your legs, when lying you put some pillows under your legs to make the blood circulate well, since we are all standing from morning til the end of the work..

      ~zimmer knee replacement recall~

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 5 years ago

      Great lens and very helpful information. Just echoing good circulation through dieting and proper exercise.

    • profile image

      SquidJigger 5 years ago

      No helpful hints, just praise for your lens. I have varicose veins and was considering surgery, but after seeing this, I changed my mind, since I have no health concerns. Thanks!

    • JillY88 profile image

      JillY88 5 years ago

      Great lens. I started to have varicose veins show up in my 30's. I was devastated. My mum had really bad veins and had hers operated on, I remember how much pain she was in afterwards, that is why I will never have it done. Just have to put up with the ugliness.

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 5 years ago

      Great lens, very informative. Thank you for sharing

    • profile image

      herculeafitness1 5 years ago

      Super information. I have often wondered about options for varicose vein treatment.

    • profile image

      bellagio 5 years ago

      Thanks for share such a important topic that is very serious disease and that increased very fast.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was also suffer from veins disease but after the surgery i am completely fine.

    • thezenofjen profile image

      thezenofjen 5 years ago

      Very thorough article about varicose veins!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      use stockings

    • profile image

      Bobski606 4 years ago

      Great lens. I noticed my first varicose vein today and I'm only in my 20s :-( I have a large solidified blood clot in my leg that I'm on blood thinners for and I also wear compression stockings which I was hoping would prevent varicose veins from cropping up. However, that is not the case and I have one on the top of my leg above the clot. I'll be seeing the doctor on Monday about this! Great information though, thanks.

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