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Understanding Varicose Veins -- Treatment

What Are the Treatments for Varicose Veins?

A mild case of varicose veins does not usually require a doctor's care. You can find relief from the discomfort of varicose veins with basic at-home treatment and various alternative remedies.

Superficial varicose veins normally do not require medical attention, but they should not be ignored. To relieve the discomfort, your doctor may recommend the following:

Elastic support stockings, which you can buy in most pharmacies and medical supply stores. Support stockings help your leg muscles push blood upward by concentrating pressure near the ankles. Put them on before you get out of bed in the morning. Raise your legs in the air and pull the stockings on evenly; they should not feel tight in the calf or groin. You should wear them all day and also elevate your legs for 10-15 minutes several times throughout the day.

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug such as aspirin or ibuprofen to alleviate occasional swelling and pain. 

If you notice skin around a varicose vein becoming ulcerated or discolored, or if you have continuing pain with no obvious outward signs, contact a doctor at once about the possibility of deep vein involvement.

Most varicose veins do not need to be removed. If particularly bothersome, varicose veins can be eliminated by one of several methods: 

  • Laser treatment
  • Sclerotherapy, in which a chemical is injected into the vein to collapse its walls so it can no longer transport blood 
  • Catheter-assisted methods that use heat or radiofrequency waves to destroy and ultimately close the vein
  • Surgical removal, or stripping

Unfortunately, no treatment can prevent new veins from becoming varicose. Before pursuing a particular treatment, discuss all options with a dermatologist or vascular surgeon.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on April 10, 2014

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