Understanding Varicose Veins
Many women wear longer shorts or avoid bathing suits because of the unflattering appearance of various features of their thighs. For one person it maybe cellulite, for another it might be unwanted hair, while for others, it may be protruding blue-ish veins. The dark colour of varicose veins ensures that they stand out and draw attention to themselves, and that leads to lowered self-confidence for many people during warmer seasons of the year.
Varicose veins can also be uncomfortable, and in some cases, cause significant pain. They are often thought of as an older person’s problem, but you don’t have to be elderly to suffer.
This guide will help you understand what varicose veins are so that you can identify problems they may create for your own health. If you currently suffer from this problem, reading this guide will also be useful in describing the various treatment options for varicose veins.
What are Varicose Veins?
Think of your veins and arteries as your internal highway network. They run throughout the body and allow blood to flow between your heart and other organs and cells that need the nourishment and support found within that blood. Arteries carry the blood from your heart, and veins bring the blood back to your heart. Once it returns to the heart, it is refreshed once again in the lungs and circulates back out through your arteries. You can’t live without adequate blood circulation, so healthy veins are critical to your health.
When veins become enlarged and push outward on the skin covering the surface of your body, they are known as varicose veins. If you have ever seen someone with swollen, dark veins that protrude out of their skin, you have seen this type of vein. If you have some of them on your body, you may have noticed that they started standing out in a subtle manner and progress over time. What starts out as a darker-than-usual vein may end up a swollen, protruding varicose vein.
In most cases, this problem occurs in the thighs, legs and ankles, but it is possible for other areas of the body to be affected. Most people seek treatment for these veins because they are unattractive and force sufferers to stop wearing short pants, bathing suits and other revealing pieces of clothing.
If you suffer pain or discomfort from your varicose veins, then you are even more likely to seek out treatment. Luckily, treatment options are growing with modern technological developments, so you do not have to continue suffering from these oversized veins.
Why Do Veins Become Enlarged?
Typically, varicose veins are caused by the weakening of tiny valves that open and shut to allow blood to flow through toward your heart. When the valves stop functioning efficiently, blood starts to flow backward through the veins rather than forward. This creates a backup, and the excess blood causes the vein to become engorged.
There are a variety of reasons for which this could occur, but age is one of the most important factors. With time, the veins lose elasticity and the valves grow weaker. This is similar to your facial skin developing lines and wrinkles or you’re the skin on your neck losing elasticity and starting to sag. It is a common process as the body is ages, and the problem can get worse as the years pass if you do not intervene medically.
Many women develop varicose veins during pregnancy because the amount of blood flowing through the veins increases substantially. The extra blood is needed to sustain the life of the growing fetus, but it can create negative side effects for the veins. Anytime that you experience a shift in your hormonal balance you may also experience changes in blood circulation. This increases your chances of developing circulatory problems, and another explanation for the reason swollen veins are so common for pregnant women.
The Most Common Symptoms of Varicose Veins
In most cases, you will know that you have varicose veins because you see the dark blue, swollen veins poking out of your skin. You may also notice that the veins simply appear darker or more prominent before they actually start to bulge out of the skin. Many people notice that their veins appear twisted in addition to looking swollen and darker in colour.
Not everyone experiences pain or discomfort from this problem, but you may experience one or more of the following symptoms in addition to the cosmetic changes:
- Aching legs
- Heaviness in legs
- Muscle cramps
- Throbbing or burning sensation
- Skin itching (close to the vein)
If you notice ulcers developing around your ankles, this is not a normal symptom of harmless varicose veins. It is a symptom of vascular disease, so you should seek medical treatment immediately.
Preventing and Treating Your Veins Naturally
Whether you already suffer from varicose veins or not, an active lifestyle with routine exercise will support the health of your veins and maximize the efficiency of blood circulation. Your body is made for movement, so you need to move around as often as possible to keep the blood flowing steadily through your arteries and veins. When you sit for long periods of time, you allow the blood to pool in the veins of your lower body, and that puts you at greater risk of developing varicose veins.
If you do have to sit for long periods of time, try to elevate your legs and change positions in your chair frequently to keep some movement going in your lower body. Take frequent breaks so that you can get up and move around, encouraging the blood to continue circulating through your veins efficiently.
Living with Varicose Veins
If you have already developed varicose veins or are seeing initial signs that you will one day suffer from this problem, right now is the time to start improving the health of your veins. Many sufferers find that graduated compression garments help alleviate pain and discomfort and improve circulation.
Treatment for Varicose Veins
You can choose to treat your varicose veins so that they are less prominent. Not only will this alleviate any pain or discomfort that you feel, but it will get rid of the unattractive dark veins protruding from your skin.
At Advanced Dermatology, we treat varicose veins with effective, state-of-the-art laser vein removal. It is the only treatment of its kind approved by the FDA that is approved for removal of not only spider veins – the little surface capillaries – and varicose veins.
Surgical removal is the only other effective option, but is a solution that is associated with pain, risk and significant recovery time.
If you are not currently experiencing pain or significant discomfort from your protruding veins, you may still want to explore your treatment options just to improve your self-confidence. Your mental health is just as important to a healthy, well-balanced life as health problems that cause pain. If you struggle with accepting your body and wearing the clothing that you want to wear because of your unattractive veins, there are simple, safe and effective treatments that can give you back your confidence.