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Woman examining leg for varicose veins and considering treatment options
By In-house Team, Circle Health Group

Varicose vein treatment options: getting started

Get help for varicose veins

What are varicose veins?

Woman examining legs for varicose vein treatmentVaricose veins are a common condition, affecting many adults. It is estimated that around 20% of all adults get varicose veins at some point in their lives.

These enlarged, twisted veins most often appear on the back of your calf or the inside of your leg. They can cause discomfort and lead to more serious health issues if left untreated. While many people find varicose veins unsightly, they can also cause throbbing pain and swelling that stops you from moving freely. Fortunately, with advancements in medical treatments, managing varicose veins has become more effective and less invasive than ever before. You can even have varicose veins removed completely.

Read about the exceptional benefits of varicose vein treatment.

This blog will guide you through the process of understanding and treating your varicose veins, ensuring you feel informed and empowered every step of the way.

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins develop when your veins become enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood. Varicose veins mostly affect your legs, but they can also appear across other parts of your body, such as your ankles and feet. They are blue or dark purple and often raised above your skin's surface. Symptoms of varicose veins can range from aching, heavy legs, to swelling, burning, and skin discoloration around your veins. These symptoms can become extremely uncomfortable and frustrating over prolonged periods of time, which is one of the main reasons why people get treatment for the condition.

Varicose veins are primarily caused by weak or damaged vein walls and valves. In a healthy vein, blood flows smoothly to your heart, supported by valves that open as blood flows toward your heart and close to stop it from flowing backward. When these valves fail or are weak, blood can flow backward and pool in your veins, causing them to enlarge and become varicose.

Several factors can increase your risk of developing varicose veins, including age, genetics, obesity, standing or sitting for long periods, pregnancy, and hormonal changes.

Varicose veins can affect more than just your legs; they can impact your mental health by influencing how you see yourself, how you interact with others, and how you feel physically.

Living with low self-esteem from varicose veins

Having varicose veins isn't just about dealing with the physical discomfort; it can really take a toll on how you feel about yourself and your day-to-day mood. It might make you think twice about wearing your favourite clothes, especially in warmer weather or social occasions. This self-consciousness can lead to avoiding certain activities you used to enjoy, impacting your social life, and possibly leading to feelings of isolation.

Then there's the physical discomfort, which can range from a dull ache to intense pain after standing for a long time. This discomfort can make you less active, affecting your overall wellbeing. When you're not able to move around freely or engage in exercise, it can lead to frustration and even affect your sleep, which, as we all know, can make everything feel ten times worse.

All these factors can contribute to stress and anxiety. Worrying about your health, how to manage or treat varicose veins, and dealing with any pain or discomfort can be mentally exhausting. In some cases, if varicose veins are particularly severe, they can lead to complications like skin ulcers. This could lead to more serious anxiety or depression, worrying about the impact on your health and future.

In short, varicose veins can affect more than just your legs; they can impact your mental health by influencing how you see yourself, how you interact with others, and how you feel physically.

Starting your treatment journey

The journey to treating your varicose veins and improving your physical and mental wellbeing begins with understanding your options – and there are so many!

Non-surgical options

For some, non-surgical options may be the first step in managing varicose veins. These include:

Compression stockings: Wearing specially designed stockings that help improve your blood flow can alleviate symptoms and slow the progression of varicose veins, but they can’t eliminate the varicose veins.

Lifestyle changes: Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, elevating your legs when resting, and avoiding long periods of standing or sitting can also help manage your symptoms.

Minimally invasive treatments

Advancements in treatment mean that many varicose veins can now be treated with minimally invasive procedures, offering quicker recovery times and less discomfort. These treatments include:

  • Endovenous laser therapy (EVLT): A laser is used to heat and close off varicose veins from the inside
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA): Similar to EVLT but uses radiofrequency energy to seal the veins
  • Sclerotherapy: A solution is injected into your vein, causing it to scar and reroute blood to healthier veins
  • Microsclerotherapy: Used for smaller spider veins, involving the injection of a liquid or foam sclerosant

Surgical options

In cases where varicose veins are particularly large or cause significant discomfort, surgery might be the best option. Techniques such as ligation and stripping, or phlebectomy, remove or tie off the affected veins. These procedures are generally reserved for the most severe cases.

In cases where varicose veins are particularly large or cause significant discomfort, surgery might be the best option.

Recovering from surgery

Recovery varies depending on the treatment chosen. The less invasive the treatment chosen, the quicker you will be able to return to daily activities, with most patients resuming normal routines within a few days. After surgery, it is essential that you follow your specialist's aftercare instructions so that you recover quickly and completely.

Taking the first step to being varicose-free

If varicose veins are affecting your quality of life, it's time to take the first step towards recovery. We hope this blog empowers you to do just that.


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How do I book an appointment?

If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on this subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Circle Hospital.