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Some women hide bulging, discolored veins on their legs by wearing pants. But they aren’t able to hide from the pain, swelling and intense itching these veins can cause.

Varicose veins affect one out of two people over age 50.* Luckily for them, advanced, minimally invasive treatments to reduce pain and eliminate unsightly veins have replaced old techniques of stripping or removing varicose veins through large incisions. The Methodist Hospital offers same-day procedures that use the newest generation lasers and tiny incisions or pinholes to help erase unhealthy veins.

What Causes Varicose Veins?
Healthy veins in your legs carry blood back to your heart. But sometimes valves inside a vein don’t work properly, and blood pools in the vein, causing it to bulge. “Valve problems may also cause spider veins, which look like red or blue short, jagged lines,” says Joseph Naoum, M.D., a vascular surgeon at The Methodist Hospital. “Vein problems may indicate venous insufficiency, a medical condition that, if left untreated, can progress to worsening of symptoms.

The risk of developing venous insufficiency increases with age – especially for women – but younger woman can also develop the condition. “Thirty percent of women ages 20 to 40 will have some form of varicose veins,” Naoum says. “Also, risk rises with each pregnancy, especially in the left leg.”

Other risk factors include:

  • Being overweight
  • Sitting or standing for prolonged periods
  • Genetics

Untreated varicose veins typically enlarge and worsen. If varicose veins or venous insufficiency become severe, health problems may include pain in the legs, swelling and even skin sores. This may increase the risk of skin infection or cellulitis.

Naoum says varicose veins are typically not a life-threatening condition, but they can threaten the quality of daily life. “On top of a stressful day, varicose veins increase discomfort, burning and heaviness in the legs. We may not be able to prevent varicose veins, but we have found effective ways of taking care of symptoms,” he says.

“You can control some of your risk by not sitting for long periods. Remaining in the same position for an extended period increases hydrostatic pressure and can cause a vein to stretch,” Naoum says. “However, some risk factors are unavoidable, such as genetics.”

Treating Varicose Veins

Conservative treatment begins with compression therapy or wearing medically approved support stockings. Naoum says horse chestnut cream has also proven to decrease swelling around blood vessels. Conservative treatment may help reduce discomfort; however, patients should also be tested for venous insufficiency.

Naoum will obtain a venous duplex ultrasound test to detect veins that have faulty valves. If diagnosed, Methodist offers a full range of comprehensive treatments including the most advanced version of combination laser therapy.

“The CynosureTM laser combines two technologies – the pulse-dye laser and Nd:YaG – to use less energy and get the same effect on the tissue with a decreased risk of side effects,” Naoum says.

Other treatments include:

  • Sclerotherapy: A traditional method of treating spider and varicose veins with injection
  • Venous ablation: A minimally invasive treatment that provides faster recovery with less discomfort over vein stripping
  • Microphlebectomy: Small incisions used to remove bulging varicose veins

“When patients return for follow-up, they are often extremely happy not just to be relieved of symptoms, but also that there was a relatively easy solution,” Naoum says.

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Some women hide bulging, discolored veins on their legs by wearing pants. But they aren’t able to hide from the pain, swelling and intense itching these veins can cause.

Varicose veins affect one out of two people over age 50.* Luckily for them, advanced, minimally invasive treatments to reduce pain and eliminate unsightly veins have replaced old techniques of stripping or removing varicose veins through large incisions. The Methodist Hospital offers same-day procedures that use the newest generation lasers and tiny incisions or pinholes to help erase unhealthy veins.

What Causes Varicose Veins?
Healthy veins in your legs carry blood back to your heart. But sometimes valves inside a vein don’t work properly, and blood pools in the vein, causing it to bulge. “Valve problems may also cause spider veins, which look like red or blue short, jagged lines,” says Joseph Naoum, M.D., a vascular surgeon at The Methodist Hospital. “Vein problems may indicate venous insufficiency, a medical condition that, if left untreated, can progress to worsening of symptoms.

The risk of developing venous insufficiency increases with age – especially for women – but younger woman can also develop the condition. “Thirty percent of women ages 20 to 40 will have some form of varicose veins,” Naoum says. “Also, risk rises with each pregnancy, especially in the left leg.”

Other risk factors include:

  • Being overweight
  • Sitting or standing for prolonged periods
  • Genetics

“You can control some of your risk by not sitting for long periods. Remaining in the same position for an extended period increases hydrostatic pressure and can cause a vein to stretch,” Naoum says. “However, some risk factors are unavoidable, such as genetics.”

Treating Varicose Veins
Untreated varicose veins typically enlarge and worsen. If varicose veins or venous insufficiency become severe, health problems may include pain in the legs, swelling and even skin sores. This may increase the risk of skin infection or cellulitis.

Naoum says varicose veins are typically not a life-threatening condition, but they can threaten the quality of daily life. “On top of a stressful day, varicose veins increase discomfort, burning and heaviness in the legs. We may not be able to prevent varicose veins, but we have found effective ways of taking care of symptoms,” he says.

Conservative treatment begins with compression therapy or wearing medically approved support stockings. Naoum says horse chestnut cream has also proven to decrease swelling around blood vessels. Conservative treatment may help reduce discomfort; however, patients should also be tested for venous insufficiency.

Naoum will obtain a venous duplex ultrasound test to detect veins that have faulty valves. If diagnosed, Methodist offers a full range of comprehensive treatments including the most advanced version of combination laser therapy.

“The CynosureTM laser combines two technologies – the pulse-dye laser and Nd:YaG – to use less energy and get the same effect on the tissue with a decreased risk of side effects,” Naoum says.

Other treatments include:

  • Sclerotherapy: A traditional method of treating spider and varicose veins with injection
  • Venous ablation: A minimally invasive treatment that provides faster recovery with less discomfort over vein stripping
  • Microphlebectomy: Small incisions used to remove bulging varicose veins

“When patients return for follow-up, they are often extremely happy not just to be relieved of symptoms, but also that there was a relatively easy solution,” Naoum says.

Read original article

 

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