What Are the Treatments for Varicose Veins?
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:
Compression stockings, which you can buy in most pharmacies and medical supply stores. Over-the-counter stockings include the support panty hose offering the least amount of pressure and the compression hose offering more pressure. Higher-pressure compression stockings provide the most pressure and require a prescription. Compression stockings are designed to help your leg muscles push blood upward by providing graduated compression with the strongest support starting at the ankles and gradually decreasing upward. 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.
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 in which light energy from a laser is directed at the vein causing it to gradually fade or disappear; multiple treatments are required and the procedure is used to treat small varicose veins.
- Sclerotherapy, in which a chemical is injected into the vein to collapse its walls so it can no longer transport blood
- ablation with catheter-assisted methods that use heat with radiofrequency waves or lasers 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.