What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are bulging veins in the legs or ankles that are often associated with pain, itching and the feeling of heaviness or fatigue. Varicose veins also cause skin irritation or the presence of non-healing wounds. Some people seek treatment for the above symptoms or because they are unsightly. At the Allegany Vein Clinic, varicose veins can be treated regardless of the reason.
Varicose Vein Facts
Varicose veins are very common and approximately 40% of the population is currently affected by them in some way. At the Allegany Vein Clinic, we are dedicated to addressing your concerns about your varicose veins or spider veins. We treat varicose veins of all sizes and provide a full spectrum of care including Sclerotherapy and Laser Spider Vein Treatment. Call us today for your consultation!
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Some people with varicose veins have no symptoms, however, common symptoms include the following:
- Burning, throbbing pain
- Swelling in the lower legs
- Discoloration of the skin-either purple or brown
- Skin ulcers around the calf or ankle
- Possible bleeding from the veins
Risk Factors for Varicose Veins
There are many theories about what causes varicose veins to develop, however, an important factor is genetics. If someone in your family has varicose veins, you have an increased risk of developing them as well.
Another common cause or risk factor for the development of varicose veins is gender. Women have an increased risk of developing varicose veins. This is attributed to the effect that female hormones have on the vein walls and the valves in the veins. When the valves weaken and or fail, blood no longer circulates properly and veins become more distended and result in varicose veins.
Pregnancy can have a role in the formation of varicose or spider veins, as the weight of the baby interferes with venous circulation, in addition to the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy. Some of the effects of pregnancy are temporary while some may require treatment.
Many people attribute their varicose veins to working long hours on “hard floors”. This has more to do with the time spent in one position rather than the type of floor surface. Prolonged periods of standing or sitting causes increased pooling of blood in the leg veins and without the leg muscles contracting to push the blood back to the heart, these veins become distended leading to the formation of varicose veins.
Obesity plays a role in the development of varicose veins, as the more weight you carry, the increased blood and blood vessels required increases the pressure on the venous system.
Varicose Vein Treatment at Allegany Vein Clinic
In the past Varicose Vein treatment meant painful surgery and a lengthy stay in the hospital. At Allegany Vein Clinic we use the most advanced methods for treatment of varicose and spider veins using minimally invasive or non-invasive therapies that are well tolerated, successful and performed in our office by our friendly professional staff.
Below are the available treatments for varicose and spider veins:
- Sclerotherapy – This is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the injection of a medicine into the varicose vein or spider vein that causes the vein to dissolve. After the vein is injected the leg is wrapped with bandages for several days followed by use of compression stockings for a period of 1-2 weeks. Stockings are used to support the vein while it closes. Sclerotherapy is performed in the office and only takes about 20-30 minutes depending on the number of veins being treated.
- Ambulatory Phlebectomy – This procedure involves the removal of the varicose vein through a series of small incisions, and are often small enough as to not require sutures.
More Information About Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy has been performed with many different compounds. The traditional form being saline that causes damage to the lining of the vein causing the vein to close. Advances in technology have allowed the development of new compounds for Sclerotherapy. These compounds have been tested largely in the European countries and have been accepted for their benefits here in the States. Compounds such as Stradecol and Polidocanol are very effective and have the added benefit of causing less pain with their injection. In addition to less pain, they can be formed into a foam when mixed with air. When injected, the foam allows the blood in the vein to be displaced more effectively coating the inside of the vein with the medication. Foam Sclerotherapy is rapidly becoming the preferred form of Sclerotherapy and is utilized at Allegany Vein Clinic. Give us a call today to learn more!
More Information on Varicose Veins
Superficial venous insufficiency is also known as varicose veins. These are dilated, snake-like veins that lie just below the skin. They are more common in women, and half of all patients being treated will have a family history of vein problems. In the absence of a blood clot, there is most likely a structural abnormality of the vein wall or valve, allowing backflow or “reflux” of blood that causes an increase in pressure within the vessel. Valves, which prevent backflow of blood, may become damaged, resulting in pooling of blood within the veins. Obesity, pregnancy, prolonged standing, and a sedentary lifestyle may exacerbate dilation of the veins.
Although most patients see a physician for the poor cosmetic appearance of varicose veins, they can also experience symptoms of burning, aching, or itchiness. Symptoms tend to be less severe in the morning after a night of leg elevation in bed and worsen through the day with standing. Occasionally, without proper care, varicose veins may progress and cause skin ulcers, skin infections, blood clots, and spontaneous bleeding.
Standard therapies for varicose veins are exercise, weight loss, blood pressure control, and compression stockings. Compression stockings are specially fit and apply pressure to prevent the veins from being engorged with blood and thus from worsening over time. The stockings should be applied in the morning when the veins are empty. Leg elevation is also helpful; in a reclining position, one should elevate the ankles to the level of the heart or higher. Sitting with legs elevated on a stool or ottoman is not sufficient to drain blood from the veins in the legs. Elevating the foot of the bed is also beneficial. Use of compression stockings and elevation of the legs may provide relief for a time, however, it is not necessary to put up with painful varicosities as there are ways to permanently eliminate them.
Treatment of varicose veins should start with a comprehensive consultation from a trained practitioner who can determine what the problem is and determine which treatment modality is appropriate and suits your goals. Please call today to schedule your consultation with Allegany Vein Clinic!