The common misconception that only the elderly get varicose veins makes a lot of sense, because as we get older, our veins and valves get older, too, which means they can become weaker. But the truth is, even a woman in her 20s can have varicose veins. Varicose veins are a common medical condition affecting about 30% of adults.
Some people who develop varicose veins become self-conscious, thinking the varicose veins are unattractive or unsightly. Unfortunately, there actually are complications beyond just the cosmetics of varicose veins that you should be aware of. Understanding varicose veins is the first step towards healing.
What are Varicose Veins?
Any vein in the body can become varicose, but they most commonly develop in the legs and feet, particularly in the calves. Leaky valves and weak walls make it harder to keep the blood moving up, against gravity, towards the heart. If the valves weaken or are damaged, the blood can flow backwards and collect in the vein, eventually causing it to be swollen and enlarged. Varicose veins are usually blue or dark purple and they may also be lumpy, bulging or twisted in appearance.
Though some varicose veins may have a hereditary link, increased pressure in the veins may also cause varicose veins. Factors that may increase pressure include:
- Being overweight, or obesity
- Older age
- Being female
- Being inactive
- A leg injury
- Taking oral contraceptive pills or hormone replacement
In a consultation at the Vein & Fibroid Treatment Center, you will first undergo a thorough physical examination. Depending on the case, you may need a more thorough diagnostic ultrasound of your veins to look for incompetent veins, deep venous thrombosis, and/or venous reflux.
For most people, varicose veins are benign, posing no serious health problem, and though they may have an unpleasant appearance, they will not affect circulation or cause long-term health problems. Therefore, most varicose veins don’t require any treatment. For patients with mild symptoms, we might recommend the first step in treatment be simple at-home steps like wearing compression stockings, taking regular exercise and elevating the affected area when resting.
At the Vein & Fibroid Treatment Center, we typically see patients with venous disease who may have symptoms of visible veins bothering them, leg swelling and ulcers. Hyperpigmentation and thickened skin often present, as well as severe pain and itchiness or a dull aching feeling.
Sometimes our patients require additional treatment of their incompetent superficial veins with vein ablation such as radiofrequency, laser or glue therapy. We may also treat patients with foam sclerotherapy/sclerotherapy injections for spider veins and reticular veins that can cause pain, itchiness and aching dull pain.
In more serious conditions, a patient may suffer from deep venous thrombosis and may suffer from post thrombotic syndrome and venous ulcers. These have a huge impact on the patient’s life, their family and their social interactions. At the Vein & Fibroid Treatment Center, we have helped many people with chronic venous ulcers and venous hypertension, lymphedema with a venous component with venogram and angioplasty, with some patients needing a stent. We use fluoroscopic guidance as well as Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) to treat these patients.
Whether you are suffering from symptoms of irregular veins, or you’d simply like to have a thorough exam, contact our experts at the Vein & Fibroid Treatment Center for a free screening. What sets us apart from other outpatient and vein centers is that we have Comprehensive X-ray and Intravascular US technology at all of our centers. This means we can diagnose and treat deep veins, which too often go untreated. From spider veins to deep venous thrombosis, we offer expert treatment at all of our locations; book an appointment here now.