What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are painful, dilated and twisted veins that appear as bulges underneath the skin. They are the result of chronically dilated and inflamed small veins that have slowly stretched out under years of pressure. They usually become an issue for cosmetic reasons, but many people complain about pain and discomfort related to them as well.
Varicose veins are inherited genetically and they are more common in women. Things that increase the pressure in the veins of the legs tend to increase your risk of having varicose veins. Pregnancy and obesity are two very common factors that can herald the arrival of varicose veins. The increased intra-abdominal pressure makes it harder for blood to get back up from the legs and increases the pressure in the leg veins. Veins are relatively thin walled and not suited to handle higher pressure, so they accommodate increased pressure by dilating and stretching out.
Because the progression of varicose veins is slow at early stages, people usually don’t complain much about them until they have reached a more advanced stage. Varicose veins cause pain and itching. They are usually associated with an underlying chronic venous insufficiency, and it is often the presence of varicose veins that leads people to get their venous reflux treated.
How do they affect you?
The presence of varicose veins can cause many different problems. They can spontaneously bleed and ulcerate, lead to chronic wounds and scars, and can cause skin pigmentation and discoloration. They can even increase your risk of having a deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. Sometimes the varicose veins themselves can become infected, inflamed and thrombosed.
What are your treatment options
The good news is that they are easily treated with modern minimally invasive techniques in the hands of a skilled surgeon. The treatment no longer requires incisions and is usually done through a needle or an IV. The new techniques have low risk and no downside. It may require a few treatments, but they usually last less than an hour and there is almost no recovery time required.