Written By: Emma Squillace
For years the experts at West Medical have been educating people about varicose veins: their causes, symptoms, and treatment options. Yet every day we see misinformation in various sources from online articles to people telling us what they heard from a friend. Today we’d like to clear up 5 varicose vein myths that you may have heard.
Myth 1: Varicose Veins are a Cosmetic Condition
While it’s true that varicose veins are often bulging, twisted, veins that can make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious, there is much more to the condition. Instead of being simply a cosmetic concern, varicose veins can be a true medical issue. This is why many insurance companies cover varicose vein treatment. How are varicose veins a medical concern? Because they can lead to skin ulcers, wounds that will not heal, interference with daily activities like walking or working, and are even correlated with an increased chance of developing potentially deadly blood clots, or DVT.
Myth 2: Varicose Veins are Limited to Women
Yes, it is true that women are more likely to get varicose veins when compared to men, but there are thousands and thousands of men who get varicose veins each year. Similarly, although people think of varicose veins as a condition for older adults, we have treated plenty of younger people as well. Women are prone to varicose veins and also have certain risk factors. For example, pregnancy and hormonal changes can bring on varicose veins. Men have risk factors too though: being overweight, standing or sitting for long periods of time, and genetics are risks that affect people regardless of their sex.
Myth 3: Only Surgery Can Get Rid of Varicose Veins
In the ‘old’ days, it was true that your only treatment option for varicose veins was surgery. However, recent advances in medical treatment have allowed us to offer a range of options including non-invasive and minimally invasive varicose vein solutions. The surgical option that used to be popular – stripping and ligation – is now only offered to a small percentage of patients with the most severe varicose veins.
Myth 4: Compression Stockings Can Cure Varicose Veins
Using compression stockings to treat varicose veins is one of the more common at-home remedies. This myth is actually based in some truth because compression stockings can be a successful method of temporarily reducing the discomfort and swelling of a varicose vein. The reason we list this as a myth, though, is that compression stockings cannot treat or cure a varicose vein. The symptom relief they bring is temporary, and any true treatment will need to be performed by a doctor. However, if you find that compression stockings alleviate the discomfort of your varicose veins, they can be a positive part of your routine.
Myth 5: Getting Rid of a Vein is Dangerous
It is fair to think that it sounds dangerous for a medical professional to ‘get rid of’ a vein that was part of your circulatory system. Even though we often do not physically remove that vein from your body, our treatments are taking the vein out of your blood flow path. However, remember that a varicose vein is already a vein that is not functioning properly. When we stop this vein from being part of your circulatory system, the many other veins near it will take over. This is actually a positive move in your circulatory health – not something to be afraid of.
If you have varicose veins, you may find that the heaviness, swelling, or itchiness in your legs becomes too much to ignore. On the other hand, you may not be having symptoms yet, but would like to get rid of your varicose veins before they get worse. Our vein experts would be happy to speak with you and help you understand your options. We have minimally invasive treatments such as laser vein removal or sclerotherapy, that have helped thousands of patients with varicose veins. If you would like to ask any questions about vein issues, please reach out to our expert vein team at (855) 690-0565.