What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are extremely common. In fact, recent estimates suggest that about 20 percent of the adult population either has them or will develop varicose veins at some point in their lives.
Varicose veins are symptoms of a vein disorder known as venous insufficiency. If you have this condition, you’ll notice bluish, enlarged, twisted veins forming on the legs; however, they can occur in other areas of the body, including arms, rectum or pelvic area.
When your veins are healthy and functioning properly, they pump blood back to the heart with the help of one way valves. The valves open and close, allowing blood to flow in one direction only. Venous insufficiency occurs when the veins become damaged, causing the blood to reflux (flow in the wrong direction) and start pooling in the vein.
Varicose Veins Can Be Recognised by the Following Symptoms:
- Painful legs at the end of the day, exacerbated by prolonged inactivity
- Raised, gnarled, enlarged veins that are purplish-blue in colour
- Brownish discolouration of the skin surrounding faulty veins
- Burning or itching sensations in the lower extremities
- Heaviness and swelling in the legs
What Causes Varicose Veins?
- Genetics – there is good evidence that varicose veins have a genetic predisposition, particularly if you’re a female. If your parents or siblings have them, your chance of developing varicose veins goes up significantly.
- Obesity – lifestyle factors such as being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase the odds of varicose veins.
- Female hormones – a spike in estrogen levels during pregnancy or while taking birth control pills can weaken the vein walls, making them more susceptible to vein disease.
- Ageing – wear and tear on the circulatory system as you get older increases your risk of developing the condition.
- Prolonged inactivity – standing/sitting for extended periods of time can promote venous insufficiency.
- Injury – trauma to the circulatory system can impair vein function and lead to the formation of varicose veins.
How to Prevent Varicose Veins
As with any health condition, a prophylactic approach is the best. The following lifestyle factors can promote strong, healthy veins, preventing varicosities from developing or getting worse:
- Optimum nutrition – consuming foods rich in flavonoids (phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables) and Vitamin-C (a powerful antioxidant) can keep your circulatory system and membranes strong and flexible. These foods also reduce inflammation and improve blood pressure.
- Regular exercise – research shows that even moderate daily exercise such as walking your dog, swimming, hiking or yoga have a relaxing effect on your veins. It’s especially important if your profession requires you to stand or sit for prolonged periods of time. Make sure to stretch or walk around to throughout the day to boost circulation.
- Healthy weight – there’s a well-established connection between obesity and varicose veins. Maintaining a healthy weight keeps the pressure off your veins and promotes a well-functioning venous network.
- Avoid restrictive clothing – high heels may look good but they’re not so great for your circulatory system. The same principle applies to tight-fitting socks or other items of clothing. These can restrict the blood supply to your legs, potentially aggravating an underlying venous condition.
Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins
If you’re dealing with unsightly varicose veins, the good news is you can have them treated without surgery.
Sclerotherapy treatment is a popular minimally-invasive procedure that permanently closes off varicose veins by injecting them with a sclerosing solution.
The sclerosing medication, once administered into the vein using ultrasound-guided imagery, irritates the lining of the vein walls, causing them to collapse and stop the blood from flowing. The body then reroutes blood flow through other healthy vessels and the treated vein fades after a few weeks.
Why Use Ultrasound During Sclerotherapy Treatment?
Ultrasound is an important device that’s used in conjunction with sclerotherapy treatment. The technology works by bouncing high frequency sound waves off internal structures such as veins and arteries, forming a map of inside the body on a computer screen.
The image is then used by the doctor to see the veins as they are being injected. Ultrasound is a useful diagnostic tool that can also help locate potentially dangerous deeply-seated varicose veins or DVT (deep vein thrombosis) that are not visible to the human eye.
Benefits of Sclerotherapy Treatment at Restoration Clinic
If you choose to have sclerotherapy treatment, you can expect considerable improvement in the vein’s appearance and reduction of symptoms such as pain, swelling, itching and burning.
Below are the top five reasons why you should consider sclerotherapy treatment:
- Sclerotherapy has been used successfully since the 1920s. It has an excellent safety and efficacy history; particularly over the last several decades since milder sclerosing agents have become available.
- General anaesthetic is not required to perform sclerotherapy. A small amount of anaesthetic administered locally helps to keep any discomfort to a minimum.
- The treatment provides complete and permanent resolution to small and medium varicose veins located closer to the skin’s surface.
- Cutting-edge ultrasound imagery is used to guide the sclerotherapy needle for utmost precision and treatment success.
- It’s a quick walk in, walk out procedure with minimal downtimes. The patient can resume their normal activities almost immediately.
What are The Side-Effects of Sclerotherapy Treatment?
Although complications are rare, it’s possible to experience some minor and temporary side-effects during the healing process:
- Allergic reaction – mild itching or swelling due to sclerosing agent.
- Revascularisation – temporary formation of tiny blood vessels at the treatment site.
- Discolouration – brown spots, red patches or bruising may appear at the injection site.
- Hardening of veins – larger veins may become hard or bumpy for several months.
- Extremely rare – ulcers, wounds or acute inflammation or swelling in the groin area.
We invite you to book a consultation at Restoration Clinic in Mt. Hawthorn or call us on (08) 9025 3218 to determine if sclerotherapy for varicose veins is right for you.