What Every Woman Should Know About Varicose Vein Disease

Posted: January 16, 2014 | Revised: June 28, 2018

Do you have aching, painful or restless legs, heaviness, swollen ankles or muscle cramping? If so, you may have varicose veins. More than half of all women will suffer from varicose vein disease in their lifetime. For many women, varicose veins are a source of pain and discomfort. For others, varicose veins or its milder form, spider veins, are a cosmetic concern. Surprising to some is that 45 percent of men will also experience varicose vein disease. Your husband or partner who complains of leg pain, restless leg syndrome or other symptoms may need varicose vein treatment.

Vein disorders are not always visible to the naked eye so the first step is to have diagnostic ultrasound vein mapping to determine the cause and severity of your vein problems. The treatments to eliminate varicose veins and all vein abnormalities have improved dramatically in recent years. No longer do most patients need to endure painful surgical vein stripping. State-of-the-art corrective treatments include endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), sclerotherapy, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy and microphlebectomy. With these procedures there is minimal downtime. No sedation is required therefore patients are able to return back to their daily activities immediately.

EVLT eliminates the abnormal saphenous vein, which is the source of most varicose vein issues. Using ultrasound technology, a thin laser fiber is guided into the vein through a very small opening to deliver energy to the diseased vein wall, causing the vein to close and eliminating backward blood flow.

Sclerotherapy is a treatment in which a tiny needle is used to inject veins with a medication that irritates the inner lining of the vein and causes it to close. Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy uses an ultrasound to locate the veins below the surface of the skin while the medication is injected. This procedure is often used in addition to EVLT.

Microphlebectomy is a method of removal of varicose veins at the surface of the skin. Small micro-incisions are made next to the vein and sections of the vein are removed through these tiny nicks. This is performed in the doctor’s office using a local anesthetic. Results are immediate.

There is no way to completely prevent varicose veins but improving your circulation and muscle tone can reduce your risk. For healthier veins watch your weight, exercise regularly, eat a diet high in fiber and low in salt and wear compression stockings.