Varicose veins are a common problem that women experience more often than men, but men are certainly not immune. These enlarged veins may wreck your plans to bare your legs at the next summertime festival. They can also cause aching, cramping, and throbbing pain in your legs that tends to worsen over time.
Whether you’d like them gone because of how they look or how they make your legs feel, there are many treatments available that can rid you of varicose veins and leave behind the smooth skin that pairs well with shorts and other leg-baring fashions.
Dr. Bokhari is a highly-skilled varicose vein specialist who is happy to share his insight regarding varicose veins, what causes them, and the most effective ways to get rid of them.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen, and looping veins that are often visible and palpable on the surface of your skin. They may be blue, purple, or skin-colored and can occur anywhere, but are most often found in the legs and feet.
Symptoms of varicose veins
Other than frustration over their appearance, you may not have any symptoms with varicose veins. However, they’re often an indication of venous insufficiency, that when left untreated, may advance to chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
This progression may cause worsening symptoms, which can include:
- Sensation of heaviness in the legs
- Worsening pain with cramping and achiness
- Tingling, burning, and itching in the legs
- Swelling (edema) in the legs, ankles, and feet
- Slow-to-heal skin ulcers
- Changes in skin color and skin texture
Why varicose veins develop
Varicose veins are caused by dysfunction in tiny inner valves that are spaced throughout your veins. These valves help manage and direct the flow of blood that’s moving toward your heart, where its processed through the heart into the lungs and refueled with oxygen before being returned to your body through your arteries.
When these tiny valves don’t perform adequately, blood begins to pool in the vein, which causes it to develop the twists, turns, and bulges associated with varicose veins.
Varicose veins do tend run in families and hereditary factors are thought to play a role in whether you’ll develop varicose veins. But you can’t blame it all on your parents.
Other common links to developing varicose veins, which place additional stress and strain on your veins, include:
- Excess weight
- Changes associated with aging
- Work or other activities that require long periods of standing
- Lack of physical activity
Treatments for getting rid of varicose veins
There are many effective and minimally invasive treatments available that successfully remove varicose veins, including surgical options, such as vein stripping.
However, when you choose to undergo treatment before the condition progresses to an advanced stage, you often have the option of nonsurgical therapy. This generally means a faster recovery and quicker return to everyday activities.
The only way to determine which treatment option is best for you is with a thorough evaluation. Depending on those results, Dr. Bokhari may suggest several innovative and minimally invasive treatment options for your varicose veins, including:
- Endovenous ablation therapy, using radiofrequency or laser energy to cauterize and close the varicose veins
- VenaSeal™, which utilizes an injectable adhesive to seal varicose veins
- Covidien ClosureFast™, another innovative, nonsurgical treatment that closes varicose veins
- Laser and intense pulsed light therapy (IPL), most often used to address smaller spider veins
Dr. Bokhari might also recommend sclerotherapy, during which he injects a substance (FDA-approved Sotradecol®) into the affected vein. This eventually causes the vein to die and fade away and is typically used to treat spider veins and smaller varicose veins.
If you’d like to learn more about your treatment options for varicose veins, schedule your visit at Advanced Cardiovascular Care today.