Leg vein treatment is not only for women. Both men and women get varicose veins and spider veins, but they tend to be more common in women.
Varicose veins occur because the walls in the veins become weakened and enlarged. They usually appear in the legs or around the pelvis, but can also occur in different locations in the body. Since the affected veins are close to the surface of the skin, in addition to being visible, they may appear lumpy and contorted. Factors that add to the development of varicose veins include: age, family history, long periods of sitting or standing, pregnancy, and weight.
Veins return the blood to the heart so it can be recirculated. In the legs, there are three types of veins that are affected by varicosity:
- Superficial veins – located closest to the skin. They include the greater and lesser saphenous veins.
- Perforating veins – the junction between superficial and deep veins.
- Deep veins – located in the muscles and connect to the vein that runs directly to the heart. They include the femoral popliteal, tibial, and iliac.
While many varicose veins are painless and unpleasant from a cosmetics stance, some ache and cause great discomfort. Treatments range from self-care to medical procedures that close or remove veins.
Symptoms generally occur in the legs around the ankles. They are usually worse after standing or sitting and may include: burning, itching, throbbing or tingling, skin discoloration, swelling, and ulcers
When to see a Doctor
Ask your doctor’s advice if your varicose veins are painful when you walk or stand. Contact your doctor if:
- An ulcer or painful lump develops on or near a varicose vein
- Your legs, feet, or ankles suddenly become swollen
- The skin over your varicose veins bleeds
WVU Medicine interventional radiologists offer several minimally invasive outpatient options for treating varicose veins. The procedure used depends on your physical health and the size and location of the affected veins.
Treatment options include:
- Sclerotherapy and foam sclerotherapy
- Two types of thermal ablation procedures
- Ambulatory Phlebectomy
There is no guaranteed way to prevent varicose veins, but exercise, elevating your legs, or wearing compression stockings can ease the pain and may stop them from getting worse.
Do’s and don’ts of varicose veins
- Do wear compression stockings
- Do exercise regularly
- Do lose weight
- Do elevate your legs twice a day for 30 minutes
- Don’t wear tight fitting clothes
- Don’t cross your legs while sitting down
- Don’t sit or stand in one position for long periods of time