What Causes Varicose Veins?
Numerous factors contribute to the development of varicose veins.
- Genetics: varicose veins often run in families
- Age: time can weaken the valves in your leg veins
- Gender: women are at higher risk than men
- Lifestyle: being on your feet or sitting for long periods increases your risk
- Obesity: more weight increases stress on the leg veins
- Pregnancy: increased stress on the pelvic veins affects circulation
Even if you have several risk factors, you can take steps to keep leg circulation healthy. Maintaining healthy activity levels and managing weight can lower your risk, but you can still develop varicose veins.
Why Do Varicose Veins Hurt?
Varicose veins can have a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Cramping, especially at night
- Ulcers or sores around the ankles
Varicose veins can cause pain because they indicate that the deep circulation in your legs is not working properly. If your varicose veins hurt, you should schedule an appointment with a vein specialist like Dr. Craig Schwartz. Treatment can relieve your symptoms and correct the underlying venous insufficiency.
How are Varicose Veins Treated?
Varicose vein treatment is a customized process that often involves a combination of treatments. Dr. Schwartz will use Venous Duplex Ultrasound to assess the condition of your deep leg veins. This in-depth scan allows him to plan the best treatment for you.
Conservative Vein Treatment
Many insurance companies will require that you begin your vein treatment with conservative methods. This can include compression stockings, leg elevation, and other strategies. Since these will not address the underlying problem, most people will proceed to more effective treatments.
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA)
Dr. Schwartz uses a laser system specially designed for vein treatment. It uses a laser fiber the size of a few human hairs inserted into the problem vein. Laser energy damages the walls of the vein, causing it to seal closed. This treatment is effective and involves little to no discomfort. Blood flow will redirect into healthier veins.
This procedure uses openings the size of a freckle to “hook” and remove superficial varicose veins. It causes an immediate disappearance of the treated veins. Your treatment plan may use ambulatory phlebectomy to improve your circulation and the appearance of visible veins.
Dr. Schwartz often uses ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy if you have varicose veins under the skin too deep to see. This treatment uses ultrasound to visualize the varicose veins so a sclerotherapy solution can be injected. This solution seals the varicose vein, causing blood to reroute to healthier veins.