When you look down at your legs, do you see bulging, blue or ropy veins under the surface of your skin? Those are varicose veins, and they’re caused by leaky valves and weakened walls of the veins. A common varicose vein myth is they’re just a cosmetic issue, and though it may be the case sometimes, they can lead to more serious health issues like blood clots and bleeding if left untreated.
More than 40 million people in the United States have varicose veins. They can affect people with and without a family history of the condition. And contrary to the common belief that varicose veins are a women’s health issue, both women and men can develop them. The prevalence of varicose veins in women is 55% as compared to 45% in men.
Five varicose veins myths you need to know
Here are five myths you need to know about varicose veins to protect your health:
- Myth 1—Varicose veins can only affect elderly people
Fact—The risk of varicose veins does increase with age, however even young adults can develop them. In fact, women on hormone medication, people with a strong family history, those who are overweight, pregnant women and people with jobs that require prolonged periods of standing (e.g., teachers, machine operators, restaurant servers, flight attendants, etc.) or sitting (e.g., desk jobs, traveling jobs, truck drivers, etc.) are all susceptible to varicose veins.
- Myth 2—Surgery is the only treatment option for varicose veins
Fact—While surgery is still an option, today there are a number of minimally invasive treatment options like endovenous laser ablation (EVLT/EVLA), microphlebectomy (ambulatory phlebectomy), endovenous chemical ablation, endovenous radiofrequency ablation, MOCA (ClariVein®) and VenaSeal™. Each of these treatments is used to close off the pressure to the varicose vein. You and your vein care specialist will determine which option is right for you. All of these procedures are performed at the offices of Carolina Vein Specialists, which means you can get back to your daily activities (e.g. going to work or exercising) very quickly.
- Myth 3—Treatment for varicose veins is painful
Fact—While traditional surgery for varicose veins can involve a painful recovery and a hospital stay, minimally invasive treatments help you heal faster and with less pain from the comfort of home. In most cases, people can go directly back to work with minimal limitations.
- Myth 4—Treatment is for cosmetic purposes only
Fact—While varicose vein treatment will improve the appearance of your legs, it will also improve the health of your veins as well as eliminate uncomfortable symptoms, nighttime cramps and, in some cases, restless leg syndrome. Symptoms of varicose veins may include heaviness, aching, swelling, throbbing and itching.
- Myth 5—Women need to wait until they are finished having children to seek treatment
Fact—Minimally invasive varicose vein treatments can be safe and effective for women who are in between pregnancies. While pregnancy does put you at a higher risk for developing these bulging veins, treatment helps prevent issues from getting worse during subsequent pregnancies.
If you’d like to learn more facts about varicose veins or which varicose vein treatment option is right for you, call Carolina Vein Specialists at 336-536-6739 to schedule a consultation. With more than 20 years of experience, we are the leader in leg vein treatment in the North Carolina Triad.