How to Get Rid of Varicose Veins
If you’re wondering how to get rid of varicose veins, you’re not alone, seeing as 23% of US adults have the same problem. True, these enlarged, swollen veins don’t discriminate based on gender. However, they affect twice as many women — about 22 million — than men (11 million) aged 40 to 80 years old.
On top of that are spider veins, also called “telangiectasias”, which affects up to 55% of women and another 43% of men. Again, more women than men.
Varicose veins can sometimes cause irritating symptoms including leg swelling, itching, cramping, and fatigue. While these conditions may be mild in some, they may be debilitating to others.
Varicose veins can also threaten your health by leaving you at a higher risk of blood clots including Deep Vein Thrombosis and venous ulcers.
If you do suffer from varicose veins or spider veins, know that you don’t have to just “live with it”. Neither do you have to bear the symptoms and pain alone. There are several minimally-invasive varicose veins treatment options that you can choose from.
What’s important is to see a vein specialist as soon as possible. That’s because these swollen veins can be an indication of a much more serious health problem.
Ready to learn all about spider and varicose veins as well as your top choices in treatments? Then let’s get this list started!
A Quick Vein Anatomy Lesson
If you were to line up all the blood vessels in the adult human body, it would stretch to over 60,000 miles long. That’s how impressive the human circulatory system is.
That said, the veins, like the arteries, are blood vessels. However, veins carry deoxygenated blood from the organs back to the heart. Arteries, on the other hand, are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-filled blood to all the parts of the body.
There are three different layers that make up the walls of the veins. These include the “tunica externa”, which is the outermost layer of the wall. The “tunica media” is the center-most layer, while the “tunica intima” is the innermost layer.
The tunica intima is also where you’ll find one-way valves that open to allow blood to pass through. These valves then close to prevent the blood from flowing backward.
How Spider and Varicose Veins Occur
If the vein valves fail to do their job of “closing”, blood starts to leak and flow backward. This then forces the blood to pool up in the veins.
As a result, the weakened or damaged valves cause the veins to become all stretched or twisted. The veins also get filled with blood to point of swelling and enlargement.
This is how varicose and spider veins occur. Varicose veins, however, are bigger and deeper than spider veins. They are also often red or flesh in color, whereas spider veins can be a mix of red, blue, and purple.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Age is one of, if not the biggest risk factor for varicose veins. For instance, researchers found that people in their 70s are six to 10 times more at risk than those in their 30s.
Genes also appear to play a role in the development of spider and varicose veins. Studies found that in people whose parents have either, the risk rate is 90%. Even if only one parent has any of these vein conditions, the risk rate in the offspring is 45%.
Aside from these, any condition that places too much pressure on the veins can cause them to bulge and twist. That’s why pregnancy can also increase one’s risk for varicose veins. Spider and varicose veins in men and women can also be due to obesity.
Moreover, a sedentary lifestyle can interfere with your veins’ blood-pumping activity. Sitting for extended periods of time, for instance, causes the blood to pool in the legs. Over time, this can weaken or even damage the vein walls.
It’s also worth noting that varicose veins have shown to augment the symptoms of heart failure. Moreover, patients who have heart disease and varicose veins may be at more risk of swelling in the legs. In addition, varicose veins may make you more susceptible to deep-vein thrombosis.
Besides, the discomfort or pain alone from your bulged, twisted veins can be tiring enough. You may also feel embarrassed due to their gnarled, unsightly appearance on your legs. Over time, this may have a severe impact on your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Don’t let your spider or varicose veins get on your nerves. You have every right to live a pain-free life, and getting your veins treated may just be the first step to that.
Getting Rid of Varicose Veins: Home Remedies
While treatments with a vascular specialist have the best chance of eliminating your varicose veins, certain changes to your daily routine may help to manage or improve the symptoms of varicose veins.
- Compression stockings apply pressure to the legs, helping the muscles and veins to move blood toward your heart.
- Regular exercise encourages blood movement in the legs before it has a chance to collect in the veins while also helping to lower your overall blood pressure.
- Reducing your sodium intake can help prevent your body from retaining water. Opt instead for foods high in potassium such as almonds, lentils, leafy vegetables, and certain fish such as salmon and tuna.
- Foods high in flavonoids such as garlic, cocoa, citrus fruits, and vegetables including onions, bell peppers, and spinach can work to shrink varicose veins and improve circulation.
- Keeping your legs elevated at least to the same level as your heart while working or resting also works to improve circulation and reduces pressure on the leg veins.
- Massages are a good way to keep the blood moving through your veins while avoiding direct pressure to the veins themselves which can damage the fragile tissue.
How to Get Rid of Varicose Veins
See a Vascular Specialist First
Vascular surgeons are specialists with extensive training and experience treating the vascular system. That includes your veins, arteries, and capillaries — all the blood vessels basically. While they are surgeons, they don’t always rely on surgery — in fact, they rather use surgery as a last resort.
While leg surgery was once used to remove varicose veins through proceudres known as ligation and vein stripping, surgery for varicose veins has become obsolete.
That’s why vascular specialists are also experts in minimally-invasive vein treatments. They carefully review each patient’s condition first before deciding on the best approach of the many minimal treatment options available.
You should, however, see a vascular specialist as soon as your varicose veins start to hurt though. The sooner you do, the sooner a vascular doctor can determine the cause. This will help ensure that your varicose veins aren’t related to more serious health issues.
If you live in or near D.C., consider getting in touch with Virginia Vein Care, where Dr. Lawrence Markovitz, a cardiovascular surgeon, is one of the two primary physicians.
Dr. Markovitz has successfully performed over 10,000 minimally-invasive vein procedures. He specializes in radiofrequency and laser ablative vein procedures, as well as sclerotherapy. His use of such minimally-invasive procedures has earned him a success rate of over 98%.
On top of that is Dr. Markovitz’s experience of performing more than 5,000 open heart operations. Overall, the good doctor has 28+ years of experience in vascular procedures under his belt.
Minimally-Invasive Vein Treatment Options
Treatment for varicose veins used to rely on open surgery methods requiring multiple small incisions. Today, however, technological advancements allow vein specialists to avoid their use and treat venous disease with no incisions. This, in turn, benefits you since no “cuts” equates to rapid recovery and immediate return to normal activities.
In short, you can recover faster, spend less time within a procedure, and enjoy a simple and painless recovery.
That said, here’s a list of the top minimally-invasive treatments for varicose veins.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
This procedure involves the use of radiofrequency energy, or “radio waves”. The doctor applies this energy from within the vein wall through the use of a painlessly placed wire catheter.
The heat transmitted to the vein will then make it contract and seal shut. Eventually, this contraction will make the vein small enough for the body to reabsorb it. Radiofrequency ablation Iis a brief outpatient procedure, performed uneventfully with the use of local anesthesia. This technology allows the patient to feel little to no pain at all.
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA)
This is a similar alternative to radiofrequency ablation utilizing laser as the energy source. As with radiofrequency ablation, endovenous laser ablation offers not only the advantage of being minimally-invasive — it also takes well under one hour.
A small laser works through the catheter near the top of the target vein and delivers shorts bursts of energy to heat and seal the vein.
As with radiofrequency ablation, most patients feel little to no discomfort and can go back to work right after treatment!
Ultrasound-Guided foam Sclerotherapy
Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy is a combination of duplex ultrasound and sclerotherapy. It’s a valuable adjunctive treatment for residual veins.
The ultrasound technology allows the doctor to detect residual veins after the primary veins have been ablated. Injection of these residual veins with a foamed ‘sclerosant’, of which there are several varieties, dramatically improves both cosmetic and long-term results.
While most often used cosmetically to get rid of spider veins, sclerotherapy can also effectively treat certain specific types and formations of varicose veins. It does so through the use of a solution called “sclerosant”. The affected veins receive this solution via an injection through a very tiny needle, which causes them to shut down right away.
Explore Your Spider or Varicose Vein Treatment Options with Virginia Vein Care
Now that you know more about how to get rid of varicose veins, you’re likely wondering which one, or combination, is best for you. In this case, we here at Virginia Vein Care can help without even requiring you to get out of the safety of your home!
Simply take advantage of our highly-secure online vein screening form. This will only take a few minutes — you only need to spend a few moments to upload photos of your legs. Then, kindly give us some details about your condition, especially of your symptoms.
One of the clinic’s directors will then call you for a consultation. It’s absolutely free of charge, and you’ll know of the available best options for treating your vein issues!
You can also contact our office if you would like to arrange a more detailed in-person consultation.