Varicose veins symptoms can be difficult to manage. Although technology has come a long way in treating veins that are in need of surgical repair, conservative measures have also gotten better.
Varicose veins are more than a cosmetic problem. They can cause pain, achiness, swelling and redness that can worsen with prolonged standing, sitting and heat. If left untreated, varicose veins can cause skin changes and ulcerations.
An estimated 30% of American women and 20% of American men will suffer from Venous Disease. So, let’s look at how they start and how to control varicose veins symptoms.
All veins have valves that direct blood flow towards your heart. The deep venous system is embedded in your leg muscles. When the muscles contract, they squeeze the blood toward your heart and the blood is emptied into your heart. Aided by gravity, when blood flow is blocked, the blood pools in the leg causing pressure in your veins.
Your leg veins are divided into two systems: deep and superficial. The superficial system drains into the deep venous system by a direct connection and other connections known as perforating veins.
At the first sign of varicose veins, your doctor will schedule an ultrasound of your leg. This will be taken for venous mapping to see where the problem is and how to correct it.
The first way you can try to control your symptoms is with regular exercise. Exercising will help your veins empty blood into your heart. We recommend 30 minutes of exercise daily, incorporating lower extremity exercises. The benefits of exercise include:
In between workouts, you can also keep legs elevated when sitting. Your doctor may also advise you to keep your legs at heart level for 10 minutes twice a day.
Other ways to control varicose vein symptoms include not wearing high heels and controlling weight.
One of the most important measures we have patients take is to wear compression stockings. Compression stockings are often used to get better blood flow to your heart and manage varicose veins symptoms. When you’re wearing them, you’ll feel more pressure in your lower leg. The pressure gradually decreases towards the top of your leg. This is so blood can be squeezed up towards your heart. It also aids the emptying of the blood in the vein. Your doctor will advise you to wear compression stockings when you’re sitting or standing.
If you’re going to invest in a pair, be sure to talk to your doctor about getting stockings that use this criterion:
You can also take over-the-counter pain medications, which are also known to help decrease pain and swelling.
If these simple measures don’t help, you can discuss with your physician about office procedures. Phlebology is where we assess and treat patients with venous disease. These procedures are done under local anesthesia and patients can walk immediately after the procedure.
Watch our video to learn how these types of procedures are helping people just like you.