ZocdocAnswersWhat is the best treatment for varicose veins?

Question

What is the best treatment for varicose veins?

I've heard so many contradictory things about varicose veins that I have no idea where to start. What is the best treatment for getting rid of varicose veins, safely, cheaply, and permanently? If I have varicose veins, does that mean I made poor lifestyle choices>

Answer

Varicose veins, although not life threatening, can be a very annoying problem to have. Briefly, varicose veins are essentially stretched out veins that occur from many years of holding blood. Often the valves within the veins fail, causing higher pressure within the veins making them visibly bulge out. The most common complication is superficial ulcer formation. Treatment strategies vary depending on their severity and the patient's desire to get rid of them. Conservative treatments include avoiding activities that require standing, to the use of compression stockings. Compression stockings (also known as TED hose) can prevent the back flow of blood and reduce the risk of developing ulcers if worn consistently. More aggressive treatments include surgical stripping, sclerotherapy, and radio frequency ablation. Stripping is what it sounds like, the veins are removed. Sclerotherapy and radio frequency ablation are a little less invasive. Sclerotherapy involves the injection of agents which cause the veins to shrivel. Radio frequency ablation thermally removes the veins. I suggest you present you issue to your primary care physician. He or she can examine your legs, determine if there are any ulcers or lesions that need treated, determine their severity, and recommend more aggressive vs. conservative treatment. Good luck.

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