Varicose veins are an unsightly nuisance for many women and some men. In some cases, they can cause pain, itching, burning and other discomfort. Rarely they may hide a more serious health issue.
What are your options for treating varicose veins?
First, you should take steps to prevent the problem from worsening. If varicose veins or spider veins, the tangles of small red or blue veins near the surface of your skin, run in your family, there are some practices to incorporate in your daily life to keep them at bay. Promote good circulation by treating your legs with tender loving care. Keep your weight under control, avoid pants and other clothing that's too tight and don't sit with your legs crossed at the knee for long periods. Don't let blood pool in your lower legs where it's hardest for your system to pump it back to your heart and lungs--take a break from standing or sitting positions frequently. If you already have varicose veins, consider elevating your legs above your heart regularly and compression stockings to assist your circulatory system in doing its job.
Seeking medical attention is an option whether you're concerned about aesthetics or discomfort or both. For smaller veins and spider veins (known medically as telangiectasias), your physician will conduct an examination then most likely present treatment options. If your varicose veins are large, bulging and uncomfortable, your doctor may want to use painless ultrasound to get a better look. According to the Mayo Clinic, your physician will want to verify two things: that the tiny valves in your veins are working properly and that there's no evidence of blood clots.
Assuming all is well, you may have one or more options for getting rid of varicose veins, such as:
Laser treatment—Lasers are the newest tools for treating small varicose veins and spider veins. Energy is focused on particular vein segments, causing the portion in the middle to close off. Treatment is painless or nearly so, and you can go back to your day immediately. Most people require a few sessions.