Myths About Varicose Veins You Thought Were True

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myths about varicose veins

When it comes to varicose veins, there can be a lot of confusion. For instance, some people think that varicose veins are only a cosmetic issue, while others believe that varicose veins will go away on their own. At USA Vein Clinics, our knowledgeable experts can discuss both myths and facts about varicose veins symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Below, we address common myths about varicose veins, along with providing relevant varicose veins facts. We also discuss minimally invasive, office-based vein treatment. If you have additional questions, we recommend consulting a vein specialist.

Topics Covered in this Blog:

Myth #1: Varicose veins are a cosmetic issue

When people think of varicose veins, they usually envision twisted, visible veins that rise above the surface of the skin. This has led to a common myth about varicose veins –– that they are only a cosmetic issue. The fact about varicose veins is that there is more to it than that.

While varicose veins can have an undesirable appearance, they are also a sign of underlying vein disease, also known as venous insufficiency. Vein disease occurs when tiny, one-way valves are placed under strain and begin to malfunction. This can lead to blood pooling, most often in the legs, ankles, and feet. Vein disease can place you at risk for a number of dangerous health conditions, including blood clots and venous ulcers. It can also lead to significant pain and discomfort.

Myth #2: Varicose veins do not cause symptoms

Another myth about varicose veins is that they do not cause symptoms. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Varicose veins may cause various venous symptoms, including leg swelling, cramping, heaviness, numbness, itching, and burning.

If you experience any of these issues, we encourage you to get the facts about varicose veins from an experienced vein specialist.

Myth #3: Varicose veins will go away on their own

Some people with varicose veins ignore them, believing that they will eventually disappear without treatment. Unfortunately, this varicose vein myth can lead to unnecessary suffering as symptoms worsen and underlying vein disease progresses. While following a healthy lifestyle may help improve symptoms and prevent additional venous issues, only varicose vein treatment can make them go away.

One possible exception to this myth about varicose veins involves pregnancy: In some cases, varicose veins improve naturally after childbirth.

Myth #4: Spider veins and varicose veins are the same thing

Some patients with vein disease experience varicose veins and spider veins. Visible veins on the skin’s surface can be easy to mix up. While both are examples of diseased blood vessels, they are not the same thing.

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that rise above the skin’s surface, most commonly affecting the legs, ankles, and feet. Symptoms include swelling, cramping, itching, and fatigue.

Spider veins are dilated capillaries located close to the skin’s surface. They tend to grow in a web-like pattern, appearing as red, purple, or blue. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are not typically raised or bulging above the skin’s surface. They are also less likely to cause symptoms.

Myth #5: Creams and ointments can cure varicose veins

There are many products on the market claiming to cure varicose veins, including creams, ointments, essential oils, and even apple cider vinegar. We classify these products as myths about varicose veins treatment. While some may hold healing properties for other ailments, there is no evidence that topical products for varicose veins cure or prevent them.

Instead, research the facts about varicose veins treatment by contacting an expert. You may be surprised to learn how easy and convenient vein treatment can be. At USA Vein Clinics, most treatments are performed in less than an hour, from start to finish. Afterward, our patients can leave immediately and return to most normal activities.

Myth #6: Only older women get varicose veins

Varicose veins affect 22 million women and 11 million men between the ages of 40 and 80, despite being more prevalent in women and older persons. So while older women may be at greater risk for varicose veins, the reality is that anyone, at any age, can get them. Additional risk factors include genetics, obesity, prolonged standing or sitting, smoking, and inactivity.

If you are at risk for varicose veins, we recommend close monitoring by a vein specialist. Early treatment can prevent painful symptoms, along with leading to the best health outcomes.

Myth #7: Massage therapy can cure varicose veins

Although you may have heard that massage therapy can cure varicose veins, this is another varicose veins myth. While getting massage therapy can help relieve leg pain and other venous symptoms, it is not an effective treatment for varicose veins.

Remember that varicose veins are caused by vein disease, which results from damaged vein valves. Massage therapy can not repair these damaged vein valves.

Myth #8: You should not exercise if you have varicose veins

This dangerous myth about varicose veins could not be farther from the truth. The reality is that inactivity can make your varicose veins even worse. It can also contribute to additional venous issues.

Exercise, on the other hand, can boost circulation, improve symptoms, and prevent additional varicose veins. Although your doctor may recommend avoiding strenuous activities such as heavy weight lifting or running marathons, most patients can benefit from moderately exercising at least 30 minutes a day, five days per week. Before starting any new exercise program, be sure to consult your doctor.

Myth #9: Women should wait until they’re done having children to treat vein issues

Pregnancy is a known risk factor for varicose veins. However, that doesn’t mean women of child-bearing age should necessarily wait for vein treatment. While treatment is rarely performed during pregnancy, it can be performed before or between pregnancies.

If varicose veins do not resolve on their own after pregnancy, vein treatment may be recommended to alleviate painful symptoms. There is no need to wait until your family is complete to seek treatment for varicose veins.

Myth #10: Venous ulcers will heal on their own without vein treatment

Venous ulcers are open, non-healing sores that develop in areas near varicose veins. Many people choose the “wait and see” method for venous ulcers, which can be extremely harmful to your health. Not only do venous ulcers place you at risk for serious infection, but they are also unable to heal on their own.

If you have a slow-healing or non-healing wound on your leg or ankle, see a vein specialist as soon as possible. In the meantime, keep venous ulcers clean, dry, and covered in an antibiotic ointment.

Myth #11: If you don’t see visible veins, you don’t have vein disease

The effects of vein disease can occur beneath the skin’s surface, so you may not be able to see visible signs like varicose veins or spider veins. If you experience leg pain, swelling, and other symptoms, it is important to seek a medical diagnosis.

Your provider can review your medical history, perform a physical evaluation, and order diagnostic tests and imaging to determine what is going on. If vein disease is behind your symptoms, treatment options can be discussed.

Myth #12: Treatment is unnecessary for varicose veins

Another varicose vein myth is that treatment is unnecessary. However, the varicose veins facts are abundantly clear: Patients with vein disease often experience painful symptoms that impact their quality of life. They are also at increased risk for developing dangerous health issues, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (a type of blood clot in the deep venous system). When left untreated, DVT can travel to the lungs and cause pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening medical emergency.

To alleviate vein symptoms, as well as reduce health risks, we recommend vein treatment.

Myth #13: Surgery is the only available varicose vein treatment

Perhaps this particular varicose veins myth arose because vein stripping surgery used to be the only available treatment for varicose veins. This outdated procedure removed the affected vein through an incision in the leg. These days, a welcome fact about varicose veins is that surgical treatment is rarely necessary.

At USA Vein Clinics, our vein specialists offer a range of minimally invasive, office-based treatments for varicose veins, spider veins, and other venous issues. While we use a variety of techniques, all of them aim to seal off malfunctioning veins and reroute blood flow to healthy, surrounding ones.

Consult a Vein Specialist USA Vein Clinics

To better understand myths vs facts about varicose veins, it is important to turn to the experts. At USA Vein Clinics, our vein specialists can dispel any remaining varicose veins myths that you may have heard, along with offering personalized treatment recommendations.

With over 100 locations, our nationwide clinics make treatment easy and convenient. To get started, simply schedule an initial consultation online or give us a call at 888.768.3467.

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