Guest Blog: Varicose Veins - How to Clear Them Up

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Image courtesy of Steven Zimmet, M.D.
Raised, swollen, red veins that begin in the legs and move throughout the body are known as varicose veins. Varicose veins are large swollen, enlarged blood vessels on the surface of your legs.  They are different from spider veins in that it comes in various colors such as purple and blue and it is larger in size. Spider veins are generally more localized to the legs, chest, and face. There are several factors that can lead to varicose veins: these include genetic tendency, occupations that require one to stand for long periods of time, those who are overweight, and individuals with a history of blood clots. In addition, there are risk factors that affect only women. These include hormone changes due to puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Furthermore, both birth control and post-menopausal hormone replacement all lead to increased incidents of varicose veins. Because of these additional risk factors, women have much higher chances of developing varicose veins than men. Menopause especially can lead to lots of varicose veins because both age and hormonal levels are changing.

Besides being a cosmetic concern varicose veins can cause pain, cramping and aching in the veins. Others reported burning, tiredness, tingling, heaviness and restlessness in the legs. Unfortunately for women the pain normally increases during hormonal changes. Varicose veins can also lead to swelling, ulcers (large open sores), and darkening of the skin most often found around the ankles. Sometimes varicose veins can lead to blood clots, which can be especially painful and is known as a condition called thrombophlebitis.

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for veins.  One of the easiest ways to help relieve varicose veins is to spend less time standing in one spot, instead increase the amount of time you spend walking and elevating feet while sitting.  Since symptoms vary from person to person, treatment may not be necessary unless you are uncomfortable with the sight of your veins. Stockings are another way of treating varicose veins. Wearing stockings helps to subdue pain and any discomfort. Special supportive stockings are found at surgical supply stores and are available in many different styles, including below-the-knee, above-the knee and pantyhose. Other treatments include sclerotherapy, a saline solution is injected into the vein and causes the swollen vain to disappear over a three to six week period. This type of treatment is the most simple and patients are able to return home the same day. Another therapy is endovenous laser treatment; a laser is inserted into the vein and eventually causes it to collapse.

Radiofrequency is also used to treat veins, and like laser treatment it leads to the collapse of the veins. Other surgical techniques include tying veins off, removing a segment of the vein, and removing surface veins. These surgeries are generally noninvasive and patients can return home the same day. If you are uncomfortable with your varicose veins then speak to a doctor to determine which type of treatment is best for you.

Disclaimer: This article is contributed by a Guest Blogger. Ping of Health does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this article. Ping of Health disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.