Varicose veins affect many people as they age or become pregnant. Inefficient blood flow may cause blood to pool in the legs and may lead to varicose veins. Treatment will depend on whether patients are suffering from large, bulging varicose veins, or spider veins, which are usually considered only a cosmetic concern.
Understanding varicose veins is important in successfully treating the condition. Part of this is sifting through the various myths and facts about varicose veins. The best resource for varicose veins information is a vein specialist, although going into a consultation with some understanding of the disease is encouraged.
Myth: Only Women are Affected
In fact, about 15% of men and 25% of women are affected by varicose veins. Other studies have shown that a higher percentage of men will be affected by varicose veins than women, although it is generally accepted that while both sexes are affected, women are affected more often.
Fact: Pregnancy May Cause Varicose Veins
Perhaps this is why more women are affected by varicose veins than men. During pregnancy, with a larger volume of blood present and with blood flow between the pelvis and legs disrupted, women may experience varicose veins. This is especially true during the latter months of pregnancy as the uterus puts more pressure on the legs.
Myth: Varicose Veins are Strictly a Cosmetic Concern
While spider veins may be considered only a cosmetic concern by many, varicose veins may point to circulatory problems and may cause pain and heaviness in the legs. When veins lose elasticity, valves that open to let blood through and close to prevent blood from flowing backwards may not work properly. This may cause blood to pool, causing the vein to become enlarged.
Patients who are affected by varicose veins should seek treatment to improve circulation and to prevent future varicose veins from forming.
Fact: Minimally- or Non-Invasive Treatments are Available
In the past, the only way to remove varicose veins was through surgical means. Some still believe this to be true. However, thanks in large part to advancements made with lasers and in various aspects of the medical field, many physicians are able to provide relief from varicose veins without breaking the skin.
Some treatments, such as ambulatory phlebectomy or endovenous laser ablation, require small punctures or incisions, but no excessive downtime or recovery period is required. Instead of using a general anesthetic, a local anesthetic or light sedative may be used during treatment.
Patients are encouraged to further sort through the myths and facts surrounding varicose veins. Again, the best way to do this is to speak with a trained and qualified vein specialist.