What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins can negatively impact quality of life for men and women of any age. When a vein becomes varicosed, it is enlarged and twisted. This most commonly occurs in the legs because standing and walking increases the pressure in the veins of the lower body. For many, varicose veins are merely a cosmetic concern, but for others they can be painful. Since sometimes varicose veins can lead to more serious problems, it is important to have them examined by a healthcare professional.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins can be a natural result of aging or a result of weak or damaged veins. The cause of these veins that are enlarged, twisted and often appearing to be blue or dark red under the skin is primarily due to a malfunction of the vein. This malfunction relates to the failure of the one-way valve inside the vein that prevents blood from flowing backward. When one of these valves fails, blood can collect in the veins rather than continuing to flow toward the heart. This causes the vein to enlarge and become varicosed.
Signs and Symptoms of Varicose Veins
The most obvious sign of varicose veins are highly visible, misshapen veins usually seen on the legs. You may experience pain, swelling, heaviness and achiness on or around these veins. Even if you do not experience discomfort associated with these veins, varicose veins will be dark blue or purple in color and appear to be twisted or bulging. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, although they are smaller.
Varicose veins are most commonly seen on the legs and feet, but they can also appear on the arms, pelvis, genitals and rectum. Pregnant women and people who are overweight have an increased risk for developing varicose veins.
Treatment Options for Varicose Veins
If varicose veins are negatively impacting your quality of life due to cosmetic reasons or discomfort, there are treatment options available. Keep in mind that although treatment for varicose veins is not always necessary, it can definitely play a significant role in your wellness. To keep varicose veins from becoming worse, you should avoid standing for long periods of time, exercise regularly to improve circulation, maintain a healthy weight and use compression socks or stockings. You should also elevate your legs whenever you are resting or sleeping.
Sclerotherapy for Treating Varicose Veins
For patients who are ideal candidates, Harmony Healing offers sclerotherapy for the treatment of superficial varicose veins. This non-surgical treatment encourages blood flow to reroute through healthier veins, leading the varicose or spider veins to eventually fade. Sclerotherapy is a proven effective treatment, and studies have shown that 50-80 percent of injected veins may be eliminated with each sclerotherapy session. Additionally, less than ten percent of those who receive sclerotherapy do not respond to treatment, meaning it is a commonly successful procedure.
What to Expect During Your Treatment
Sclerotherapy is an in-office procedure that offers results with minimal discomfort. The procedure works by injecting a specialized solution into the affected veins. The solution, which is usually a liquid, works to stimulate the lining of the vein, leading it to swell shut and block blood flow. In turn, this encourages your body to naturally reroute the blood flow to healthier veins. The treated vein will then become scar tissue and be reabsorbed naturally, and the dark blue or red coloration from varicose or spider veins will gradually fade.
Most patients begin to notice results in a matter of weeks, especially if treatment mainly targeted smaller varicose veins or spider veins. In general, spider veins respond and fade in three to six weeks and larger veins respond in three to four months. Once veins have responded to treatment, they will not reappear. While new veins may appear at the same rate as before your treatment, your provider can discuss healthy habits and changes to reduce the development of these veins or discuss additional treatment of veins.
If you are concerned that your varicose veins may need treatment, contact us today to learn more about sclerotherapy.