Are you afraid of hot weather? The heat, the sun, but most importantly, the shorts and skirts that might reveal your legs? Varicose veins can be unsightly and embarrassing, but luckily, they can also be treated (although not cured). Decreasing their appearance can greatly increase your confidence in showing off your legs.
Those squiggly lumps underneath your skin are actually pools of blood. The veins in your extremities, most often your legs and ankles, lose efficiency in delivering your blood throughout your body. The valves that control the blood flow weaken and allow pressure to build up in your veins, expanding them into snakelike gnarls characteristic of varicose veins, or venous insufficiency.
Developing varicose veins might make you want to pull your hair out and ask, why me?! There are a number of factors to take into consideration when determining why you have varicose veins. These can include:
- Standing for long amounts of time
- Being overweight or obese
Although the visible aspects of venous insufficiency are definitely a telling factor in diagnosing the disease, there are less obvious symptoms as well. These uncomfortable issues can actually lead to other ailments, such as eczema. Therefore, it is good to catch it early and get treatment. More symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Itchy, dry skin
- Mild to severe swelling
- A feeling of heaviness in your legs, along with dull aching pains and burning
- Changes in the color of your skin, such as turning reddish brown or purple
With all of these uncomfortable symptoms connected to weakened blood valves, it's no wonder that many different treatments have been developed, although there is no true cure. You can try some at-home methods such as wearing compression socks, working out, and elevating areas affected by varicose veins. These usually work best with slight vein problems, and exercising can actually help prevent them by keeping you at a healthy weight.
Severe varicose veins can require treatment from doctors. Ligation and stripping involves tying off your vein and removing it. Less invasive is sclerotherapy, where a chemical is inserted into your vein to cause its collapse. Laser treatment induces a vein to close as well. A new treatment option is radiofrequency energy is run down your vein to make it scar and close up.