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Varicose: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Mar 15, 2022

What is the treatment?

Varicose veins are an extremely common condition. In this condition, your veins tend to become gnarled and enlarged, and stick out very prominently on your hands and feet. The reason why the veins become like this is unknown and these veins are generally quite harmless. They pose no threat to your health and are, more often than not, just a cosmetic concern for most patients who have them. However, in some cases, they can also cause pain and discomfort. This indicates that there is a problem with the circulatory system that needs to be looked at.

As varicose veins are mostly a cosmetic concern, people do not often seek out treatment for it. However, if they begin to cause pain or discomfort, difficulty in walking, and a throbbing sensation, then it means that there might be an underlying problem with the circulatory system, in which case there are certain treatment methods that must be called to use.

One of the most common ways to treat varicose ways is wearing compression socks. These help bring down the enlargement or swelling in the veins and reduce the overall discomfort and pain. Regular exercises to stimulate blood flow are also often recommended. Finally, if the veins cause too much trouble, they can be blocked or removed surgically to bring out some relief from this condition.

How is the treatment done?

Varicose veins are usually diagnosed by sight and a physical exam. The gnarled appearance of the veins along with the way they protrude is often quite distinctive, making this an easy condition to diagnose almost instantly. The doctor may also take your blood pressure to see whether your circulation is affected and if so, how much, before administering the right treatment course for you.

One of the most common treatment options is compression socks or stockings along with elastic bands. Compression socks essentially help squeeze all the blood upwards so that there are no clots formed in the legs where the varicose veins are. They also help reduce the overall swelling. Elastic bands are exactly what they sound like. They are tied around the limb to help compress the veins and the swelling. These treatment methods are generally very effective.

Apart from this, exercising on a regular basis is also recommended. With aerobic exercises lasting 15-20 minutes, you can stimulate your heart function and circulation, thereby taking some of the pressure off your veins. Weight loss also goes a long way when it comes to preventing or controlling the discomfort that comes with varicose veins.

Can Varicose veins go away?

Varicose veins do not go away on their own. These are caused due to a condition known as venous reflux, the inability of the veins to push the blood back up to the heart. It arises as a result of an abnormality in the vein valves.

Some factors including genetics, age, pregnancy, prolonged sitting or standing may be responsible for such conditions. Venous reflux does not heal with time as it requires proper medical care and treatment for cure. Thus, Varicose veins do not resolve themselves and need on-time treatment.

Summary: Varicose veins are caused by abnormalities in the valves of the veins and are often precipitated due to genetic predisposition, advancing age, pregnancy, prolonged sitting or standing. They need medical care and on-time treatment.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Anyone with varicose veins can seek out the treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Many underlying conditions can cause your legs to pain or your veins to look prominent. If you have a condition that is different from varicose veins, then using the treatment options meant for this particular condition may not benefit you at all.

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Are there any side effects?

There are no side effects to this treatment.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

It is imperative to continue to exercise on a regular basis. Furthermore, controlling your diet so that you can lose weight can also go a long way.

How long does it take to recover?

It can take anywhere between 2 weeks to a month for your legs to stop aching completely.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Compression socks can cost anywhere between Rs. 1,000 – Rs. 2,000 depending on the brand you are purchasing.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Varicose veins are a lifelong ailment. Therefore, only continuing to use your treatment as directed can help you keep the results permanent.

What foods are bad for Varicose veins?

Varicose veins require on-time medical care and treatment. A healthy diet plays a supporting role and prevents the worsening of the condition. Some important dietary food items that need to be avoided in such conditions include the following:

  • Refined carbohydrates: These include white flour, white bread, white sugar, pasta, etc. These food items are the contributing factors in poor vein health, hence should be avoided. In place, complex carbohydrate sources such as brown rice, oats, etc. should be preferred.
  • Added sugar: Food items rich in high amounts of added sugar are also a contributing factor in poor vein health, hence should be avoided. Processed and packaged food items like chocolate, cakes, cookies, etc. should be avoided.
  • Alcohol: Consumption of alcohol on a regular basis must be avoided as it is a risk factor for developing Varicose-veins-like conditions.
  • Canned foods: These contain Bisphenol, a chemical ingredient that alters hormone levels in the body by acting like estrogen. They may cause or further worsen the condition of Varicose veins.
  • Salty foods: These include food items like canned soups, hot dogs, pizza, burgers, ham, etc. These contain high sodium content which increases the pressure in the veins. Increased venous pressure may lead to swelling and water retention in the legs.
Summary: Refined carbohydrates, processed and packaged food items, alcohol, canned foods, and salted foods may worsen Varicose veins and hence must be avoided.

Can drinking water help Varicose veins?

Drinking water helps to improve vein health. It promotes thinning of the blood, thus enhancing its overall circulation. Blood is also less likely to clot when it is thin.

Proper body hydration also promotes the strengthening of the muscles of the veins. Thus, incidences of Varicose veins are reduced with the intake of adequate water.

Summary: Proper hydration strengthens veins, decreases the viscosity of blood, and hence decreases the incidence of Varicose veins.

What vitamin is good for Varicose veins?

Vitamins are essential for preventing Varicose veins. Some important forms of vitamins which are important to be consumed in case of Varicose veins include:

  • Niacinamide: It is a form of vitamin B3 which plays an important role in overall blood circulation and decreasing cholesterol levels in the body. Due to such effects, it helps to minimize stress on the leg veins, thus minimizing the incidence of Varicose veins.
  • Vitamin C: This form of vitamin promotes collagen production and strengthens the muscles supporting blood vessels. These effects help to reduce the risks of Varicose veins.
  • Vitamin E: It enhances blood circulation in the body, thus ensuring the proper flow of blood in the legs. This reduces the chances of Varicose veins.
  • Vitamin K: It is an anticoagulant and prevents blood clots formation, thus ensuring smooth flow of blood through the veins. This helps to prevent the risks of Varicose veins formation.
Summary: Vitamins promote collagen formation, strengthen the muscles of veins, improve blood circulation and prevent the clotting of blood and hence are essential for the prevention of Varicose veins.

Is turmeric good for Varicose veins?

Turmeric is considered one of the most preferred home remedies for Varicose veins. It contains curcumin which enriches it with valuable medicinal properties. Following are the important properties of turmeric which makes it effective for treating Varicose veins:

  • Anti-inflammatory: Being anti-inflammatory, turmeric reduces swelling and inflammation in the legs, thus relieving burning sensation.
  • Blood cleanser: Turmeric, being a blood cleanser inhibits blood clotting by preventing platelet aggregation. It also helps in thinning of blood, ensuring smoother blood flow in blood vessels.
  • Digestive properties: Turmeric facilitates better digestion and resolves digestion-related issues, thus preventing chances of Varicose veins.
Summary: Turmeric contains curcumin which has anti-inflammatory and blood cleansing properties. Besides, it facilitates digestion and hence prevents Varicose veins.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There are many things you can do at home to manage the pain you are in. A hot compress soothes your muscles and a cold compress is also known for being effective for pain management. Soaking in a warm tub with lavender oil, which relaxes the body and reduces the blood pressure (since it is a vasodilator) can also help.

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Written ByDr. Ojas Potdar MBBS,DNB GENERAL SURGERYGeneral Surgery
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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