Treatment Options For Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are large, purplish, or blue bulges that occur most often in the legs. These bulges are frequently, but not always, painful. They are caused when the blood leaving the heart doesn't get circulated as efficiently as it should, causing a buildup of that blood in the legs (where gravity causes it to collect.) Symptoms of varicose veins, according to the Mayo Clinic, can include burning, throbbing and muscle cramps in the legs; aches or a heavy feeling in the legs; bleeding and itching in the vein area; and color changes and inflammation around the veins.

Treatments for varicose veins

Treatment options for varicose veins range from self-care to surgical intervention. The type of treatment that's right for you depends on your symptoms, the severity of your varicose veins and/or your general, overall health.

1. Self care. The first line of defense against varicose veins includes things that the patient can do at home. These include losing weight (to reduce the pressure and stress on the veins), wearing compression stockings (tight stockings that help to promote good circulation), exercising, and avoiding standing for long periods of time.

2. Sclerotherapy. This is an outpatient therapy where the physician injects the affected veins with a solution that closes the veins and encourages the blood flow to be redirected. This procedure is done in a doctor's office without anesthesia. In most cases, the varicose veins will fade in one to two weeks.

3. Laser surgery. Laser technology can also be used to close off the varicose veins and redirect blood flow, without injections or needles. Like sclerotherapy, results are usually apparent after about two weeks.

4. High ligation and vein stripping. For large varicose veins that aren't well-suited to laser surgery and sclerotherapy, a physician can remove small sections of the affected veins and tie them off, again redirecting the blood flow. This can be done as out-patient surgery for most people.

5. Endoscopic vein surgery. Used for advance cases of varicose veins, where ulcers are present, endoscopic vein surgery involves using a tiny camera in the veins to locate the source of the circulation issue and then removing that part of the vein. This, too, is an out-patient surgery.

You don't have to suffer in silence with varicose veins. Talk with your physician about the various options available to both alleviate your symptoms and treat the underlying circulation issue. You may be surprised that a small change in your lifestyle (such as elevating your legs at night) can make a big difference in your quality of life.