Varicose veins are a common vascular problem surrounded by many myths that can cause fear and delay or prevent treatment. Dr. Rashmi Sharma, a board-certified vascular surgeon at Hamptons Vein & Vascular, can help you distinguish between the facts and fiction that surround varicose veins and help you decide which treatment is right for you.
Myth 1: Varicose veins are only a cosmetic problem
The gnarled, bulging look of varicose veins is a cosmetic concern for many people, but varicose veins also are a health problem that causes pain and discomfort. They can be a sign of circulatory problems. Untreated varicose veins can lead to more serious conditions, such as blood clots or deep vein thrombosis.
Varicose veins develop when blood pools in your veins instead of being efficiently pumped back to your heart. Weakened valves in the veins allow blood to flow backward, most often in your legs, where blood must fight gravity to return to your heart. When your veins are weak, blood collects and the veins bulge outward. These are the blueish-purple knotted cords under your skin’s surface.
Varicose vein symptoms vary from uncomfortable to extremely painful. Your legs may feel achy and heavy. You may experience burning, throbbing, and muscle cramping. Sometimes people with varicose veins feel irritation and itchiness around the enlarged veins.
Treating varicose veins can relieve symptoms, improve your appearance, and prevent more serious health problems down the line.
Myth 2: Varicose veins are a female problem
Yes, varicose veins are more common in women than men, but anyone can get them. Women often develop varicose veins during pregnancy or from hormonal changes during menopause.
Whether you’re male or female, you’re at risk of developing varicose veins if you have a family history of the condition, you’re obese, or you’re getting older.
Myth 3: You just have to live with varicose veins
Not true. Several options exist to help relieve the pain and discomfort from varicose veins:
- Elevate your legs when sitting to relieve pressure on your veins
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods
- Wear compression stockings for extra calf support
- Maintain a healthy weight, as excess pounds put more pressure on legs
- Eat low-carb, low-salt foods
You can also try walking more. Exercise improves circulation so veins don’t have to work as hard to pump blood back to your heart.
When home remedies and self-care don’t relieve your discomfort or you want a more permanent solution, talk to Dr. Sharma, who can educate you about surgical options.
Myth 4: Varicose vein surgeries have long recoveries
Technology to treat varicose veins has come a long way, and you don’t have to endure painful, invasive surgery and long recovery periods to achieve your desired results. We offer cutting-edge vein therapies performed as in-office procedures and designed to minimize discomfort and recovery time so you can get back to work the same day.
These include the VenaSeal™ system that seals varicose veins with a medical adhesive, Venefit™ endovenous therapy that uses radiofrequency energy to close varicose veins, and ClariVein®IC, a Medicare-approved, minimally invasive device that delivers medical “glue” inside your veins through a tiny, rotating catheter.
We also provide two types of sclerotherapy, one using a liquid and the other using an ultrasound-guided foam. In both treatments, the medication shrinks and closes affected veins. Your body gradually absorbs the scar tissue and blood flow is rerouted to nearby healthy veins.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Sharma, call Hamptons Vein & Vascular at 201-933-0333 or book online.