Effective Treatment Options for Varicose Veins: What You Need to Know

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Varicose veins affect many people globally, causing pain and cosmetic issues in the legs. At HayatMed Clinic, we understand these concerns and provide assessment, treatment, and management options to improve well-being. 

Visit our website to improve your leg health and quality of life. We offer specialized care to help you have comfortable, worry-free legs.

What are Varicose veins?

Varicose veins are swollen, twisted ones you can see just under the skin. 

They usually occur in the legs and feet but can form in other body parts. A hemorrhoid is a type of varicose vein.

What causes varicose veins?

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The veins have valves that keep blood flowing in one direction toward the heart. If these valves sustain damage or become weak, they allow some blood to flow backward and collect in the vein.

Extra blood in the vein puts pressure on the vein walls. With constant pressure, the walls weaken and swell, resulting in varicose or spider veins.

For some people, varicose veins are just a cosmetic concern. This issue can cause pain and discomfort for other people, sometimes leading to more severe problems.

What are the symptoms?

Sometimes, varicose veins cause no pain, but there are some signs that you have the condition including:

  • Veins that appear with a dark purple color or blue color
  • Veins that appear twisted and swollen are like ropes on the legs

At other times, they may cause some pain and other symptoms, Include:

  • Aching and heaviness in the legs
  • Swollen feet and legs
  • Burning or throbbing
  • Muscular spasms, especially at night
  • Itchy skin around the affected area
  • Skin discoloration

Symptoms get worse in warm weather, at night, or when standing or sitting for a long time. Furthermore, you may notice spider veins similar to varicose veins but smaller. Spider veins usually occur on the legs and feet, are closer to the skin’s surface, and are often red or blue. They differ in size and often resemble a spider’s web.

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What are the factors that increase the risk of having varicose veins?

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Some factors that may increase the risks of developing the issue include:

  • Age: Varicose veins risk increases because weakening vein valves impair blood flow to the heart.
  • Sex: Women: More prone because of hormonal influence that relaxes vein walls. Hormonal changes during pre-menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause can heighten risk. Hormone medications like birth control pills may also increase susceptibility.
  • Family history increases your risk of varicose veins if relatives have them.
  • Obesity: Excess weight places added pressure on veins, increasing the likelihood of varicose.
  • Prolonged sitting or standing hinders blood flow during extended periods in the same position.

Varicose veins stages

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Varicose veins progress through several stages, each with distinct symptoms:

  • Spider Veins (Telangiectasia):

Small, surface-level veins, often red, blue, or purple lines, are mainly cosmetic issues with minor discomfort.

  • Varicose Veins:

Larger, twisted, bulging veins. It can cause leg aches, swelling, and mild skin changes.

  • Edema (Swelling):

Increasing swelling in the legs, especially during daily activities. Can become uncomfortable and worsen over time.

  • Skin Changes:

Prolonged varicose veins lead to skin changes. Discoloration (brown or red) and thin, itchy skin. Increased risk of injury and ulceration.

  • Venous Ulcers:

Severe cases may result in painful open sores. Commonly occur around ankles, posing serious medical concerns.

  • Superficial Thrombophlebitis:

Inflammation and clotting in superficial veins. Causes localized pain, redness, and swelling. Without treatment, it can progress to deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

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What are the expected complications for varicose veins? 

Although they are rare, they can include:

  1. Blood clots: Sometimes, veins in the legs enlarge, and the affected leg may become painful and swell. Any permanent leg pain or swelling needs medical attention because it may indicate a blood clot.
  2. Bleeding: Rarely veins dangerously close to the skin may blow up, which causes minor bleeding. However, any bleeding needs medical attention.

How do you prevent it?

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No way to avoid varicose veins entirely. However, improving circulation and muscle tone may decrease the risk of developing the issue.

Some of these tips include:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid overweight
  • Follow a healthy diet like a high-fiber, low-salt diet.
  • Avoid high heels and tight socks.
  • Elevate your legs
  • Change your sitting or standing position regularly.

How are varicose veins diagnosed?

To diagnose the problem, you need to meet your doctor, who will do a physical examination,

including looking at your legs while standing to check for swelling. 

  • Ask you to explain any pain and aching in your legs.
  • Asking about your medical history.
  • Ask for an ultrasound test.

At the end of the consultation, your doctor can determine your condition and whether you need treatment. If so, you will discuss the appropriate remedy with your doctor. When getting any treatment, you must feel safe with experienced specialists. 

What is the best treatment for varicose veins? 

Not all of them need treatment. If this problem does not cause you discomfort, you may not need treatment.

Treatment is necessary for the following cases:

  • to reduce symptoms in case you experience pain or discomfort
  • to treat complications like leg ulcers or skin discoloration
  • for cosmetic concerns

Treatment options range from self-care to surgery. Depending on your condition, your vascular specialist may use one or more of these remedies.

1- Self-treatment for varicose veins

Self-care may reduce the pain and prevent the problem from getting worse. However, self-treatment cannot remove existing varicose veins or spider veins.

Self-care tips include:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Get rid of excess weight
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes
  • Elevate your legs
  • Avoid long sitting or standing; move around every 30 minutes if necessary.

2- Compression stockings for varicose veins 

These stockings put fixed pressure to help move the blood back to your heart more efficiently. The static pressure also reduces swelling in the lower legs and decreases the risk of getting a blood clot.

Compression stockings can prevent the problem from worsening but will not remove the current leg veins. If you need compression stockings, your dermatologist can check your leg and recommend the proper size and pressure.

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3- Other leg vein treatment

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If natural remedies don’t work or your condition is severe, your doctor may suggest one of these treatments:

  • A- Sclerotherapy:

This involves injecting foam or solution into varicose to close them. Safe, effective, and done in your doctor’s clinic without anesthesia.

  • B- Foam sclerotherapy for large veins:

Similar to regular sclerotherapy, but for larger veins.

  • C- Varicose veins laser treatment:

Uses intense bursts of light to fade and eliminate small varicose and spider veins.

  • D- Catheter-assisted radiofrequency ablation:

Involves heating the vein wall with radiofrequency energy to close it. The procedure redirects blood flow to healthy veins and may require wearing compression stockings afterward.

  • E- laser treatment for varicose veins:

Involves inserting a catheter into the vein and using a laser to seal it shut. Ultrasound guides it, and doctors can perform it under local or general anesthesia.

4- Varicose veins surgery

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When all other treatments fail, surgery may be the final option. The surgical procedure involves ligation and stripping to remove the affected veins.

Surgeons perform this surgery under general anesthesia, so you will be asleep and won’t feel any pain. The surgeon removes a vein in the leg by making two small cuts. One cut is near the groin, and the other is near the knee.

First, the surgeon ties off and seals the vein at the top. After that, the surgeon passes a wire through the bottom of the vein. The person then pulls the wire out and takes it out through a small cut in the leg.

Like any surgery, there may be some complications. Your doctor may recommend wearing compression stockings for about a week after surgery.

medicine for varicose veins

Here are options for treating veins:

  • Compression stockings: Improve circulation and reduce symptoms.
  • Endovenous ablation: Use methods like laser or radiofrequency to close veins from within.
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy: Remove smaller varicose veins through tiny cuts.
  • High ligation and vein stripping: Surgically tie off and remove veins.
  • Endoscopic vein surgery: Use a small camera to close varicose veins

varicose vein treatment cost

Treating leg varicose veins can cost as little as $400. The total cost can change depending on the number of veins needing treatment and the method used for removal. Costs also differ by country and doctor.

Here are some estimated price ranges:

  • Sclerotherapy: Around $413 on average.
  • Varicose vein removal surgery: $1,500 to $3,000.
  • Laser treatment: $600 to $3,000.

Varicose Veins FAQs

Varicose veins can cause discomfort, pain, swelling, aching, and a heavy feeling in the legs. They may also lead to skin changes, such as discoloration, dryness, and thinning.

Treatment options include minimally invasive procedures like endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), radiofrequency ablation (RFA), and sclerotherapy, which close or remove affected veins.

Varicose veins do not typically go away on their own. Treatment is often needed to alleviate symptoms and improve appearance.

Exercise can improve circulation but may not make varicose veins disappear. Consult a healthcare professional for tailored advice.

Varicose veins can cause pain, especially after prolonged standing or sitting.

Varicose veins may rupture if left untreated, leading to bleeding. Seek medical attention if this occurs.

While varicose veins increase the risk of superficial blood clots (thrombophlebitis), they are not a major cause of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Yes, genetics play a role in varicose vein development. A family history of the condition increases the likelihood of developing them.

About the author

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Binsy George

Binsy brings over 13 years of expertise to the HayatMed Clinic Blog. With a passion for healthcare communication, she has crafted insightful articles that demystify complex medical topics, empowering readers to make informed decisions about their well-being.
Her wealth of experience ensures that each blog post is a reliable source of knowledge, fostering a deeper understanding of health and medical advancements.

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This article was Medically reviewed by Dr. Duran Çekiç

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