When you think of varicose veins you probably picture bulging, twisted veins accompanied by discolored skin. Because varicose veins are usually thought of as a cosmetic issue, not much thought gets put into anything beyond how they look. This causes people to have some misconceptions about varicose veins. Our hope is to dispel some of these myths and provide helpful information about varicose veins and their treatment options.
- Varicose veins are painless
Some people with varicose veins may not experience painful symptoms, but there are a lot of people who do experience pain or discomfort. Common symptoms include:
- Itching or burning
- Heavy feeling
- Tingling and numbness
According to the Society of Vascular Medicine, more than 40 million people suffer from vein disease in the U.S.; however, less than 10 percent actually seek treatment. Many people with varicose veins attribute their uncomfortable symptoms to aging or just something they live with every day, which can be debilitating.
- Creams and ointments are effective treatments
Despite what you may have read on the internet or heard from friends and relatives, varicose veins cannot be cured by creams or ointments. Vein disease is an internal problem that occurs when your veins do not function properly and do not circulate blood efficiently. Rubbing cream on the bulging vein will not fix a circulation issue. There are many treatment options available to heal the cause of vein disease.
- Surgery is the only solution
Vein stripping used to be the only treatment available for varicose veins. This outdated procedure involves removing the affected vein through an incision in your leg. Now there is a much less invasive procedure, endovenous laser therapy or EVLT, that is used to treat vein disease. An ultrasound is used to guide a laser fiber into the diseased vein to close off the vein and reroute the blood supply to neighboring healthy veins.
- You can only get varicose veins on your legs
The most common place for varicose veins to occur is on your legs and feet because the most pressure is put on the lower body. People can get bulging, enlarged veins in the hands, face, neck, and genitalia; any vein can become a varicose vein if its valves fail to work properly. At USA Vein Clinics, we only treat veins on the peripheral limbs.
- Exercise should be avoided
Varicose veins are a vein disease that happens when there is a problem with blood circulation; therefore, exercising can promote better circulation. Increasing the blood circulation in your legs will help prevent blood from pooling and causing painful symptoms. Exercise can temporarily reduce swelling, fatigue, and heaviness. Low-impact exercise like pilates, yoga, walking, and light aerobics are recommended for comfort.
- Blocking off veins is counterproductive
Many treatment options offered, like EVLT, use techniques to block the blood flow to the vein so that it closes and eventually collapses. While it may seem counterproductive to close off unhealthy veins, the blood flow will be rerouted to new, healthy veins.
- Long recovery after treatment
With the many advances in medical procedures, anyone who undergoes EVLT will be able to return to their daily activities almost immediately. Many people are unaware that you can return to work immediately following your treatment.
- Vein treatments can be risky
When procedures like vein stripping were performed, there were lots of risks associated with the surgery. EVLT is non-surgical; therefore there are no surgical risks and there are no large incisions needed so the risk of infection is decreased.
- Insurance won’t cover vein treatments
Vein treatment to relieve symptoms is not a cosmetic procedure and is usually covered by Medicare, most major insurance, and some Medicaid plans. Outpatient centers like USA Vein Clinics will help find a clinic that works with your insurance.
- Finding a treatment center is difficult
USA Vein Clinics has locations across the country with experienced doctors to perform EVLT treatments. To find out more about treatment options and a location near you, please contact us at 888.768.3467.