Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic issue. There are a lot of symptoms that can develop. But of all the things that make them hard to live with it, varicose vein pain may affect quality of life the most.
It’s important to understand the dangers of varicose veins. Left untreated, varicose veins can lead to conditions like:
These are just several more reasons to stop living with your varicose vein pain, talk to your doctor, and find a treatment that will work for you.
To help you make your decision, we asked North Ohio Heart/Ohio Medical Group vein specialist Dr. Ram Ravi about the different treatment options available for varicose vein pain.
Your doctor will most likely want to initially try conservative methods to treat your varicose vein pain. These include:
Graduated compression stockings are typically used as first line treatment for varicose veins. Compression stockings work by compressing the superficial veins to collapse and empty them of blood; thereby pushing more blood into the deep venous system. There are many different makes and types of graduated compression hosiery available over the counter and by prescription. They come in different lengths (knee or thigh length) and different compressive strengths
Elevate your legs above your heart. You can place your feet up on a table, stretch them up a wall, or lie down in bed with your legs on a few pillows. This will help make it easier for blood flow in your lower body to circulate toward the heart.
Sometimes if you avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time, exercise, or change your diet; it can help. A University of Maryland Medical Center found flavonoids that come from rutin relieve swelling, aching, and pain from varicose veins. Rutin is found in black tea, buckwheat bran, many citrus fruits and even apple skins
Weight can put more pressure on the veins, impacting circulation. In fact, a Scottish study found being overweight or obese increases your chances of developing varicose veins by as much as 58%. Other studies found similar results.
If conservative methods do not get your varicose vein pain under control, Dr. Ravi says your vein specialist will most likely recommend one of several treatments, including:
A sclerosing solution will be injected into the unwanted vein, which shrinks and dissolves over time. For larger veins a foam sclerosant may be used.
Laser therapy is a good option if you have a fear of needles. It takes about 45 minutes and requires only local anesthesia. Your physician inserts a thin laser fiber into the vein through a sheath and the laser light is emitted through the fiber. This closes the vein and reroutes blood to other healthy veins. It’s painless and you should be back to your usual activities in one to two days.
This minimally invasive procedure uses local anesthesia and very small incisions to remove large, bulging varicose veins.
Dr. Ravi says the outpatient procedures are well tolerated. They cause minimal pain and side effects. You may see some bruising, swelling, or discoloration after your procedure. Dr. Ravi adds that most insurances will cover your treatment if conservative methods fail.
For more serious cases the varicose veins may need to be surgically removed, but this typically applies to larger veins.
If you’re still not sure what treatment may be right for you, this video may also help you with your decision. Three people describe their own varicose vein pain and what they did to get rid of it.
Or if you want to learn more about the causes of varicose veins and the threats they can pose to your health, download our free eBook “A Patient’s Guide to Varicose Veins.”