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Varicose Vein Treatment
Varicose veins are treated with lifestyle changes and medical procedures. The goals of treatment are to relieve symptoms, prevent complications, and improve appearance.
If varicose veins cause few symptoms, your doctor may simply suggest making lifestyle changes. If your symptoms are more severe, your doctor may recommend one or more medical procedures. For example, you may need a medical procedure if you have a lot of pain, blood clots, or skin disorders caused by your varicose veins.
Some people who have varicose veins choose to have procedures to improve how their veins look.
Although treatment can help existing varicose veins, it can’t keep new varicose veins from forming.
Lifestyle changes often are the first treatment for varicose veins. These changes can prevent varicose veins from getting worse, reduce pain, and delay other varicose veins from forming. Lifestyle changes include the following:
- Avoid standing or sitting for long periods without taking a break. When sitting, avoid crossing your legs. Keep your legs raised when sitting, resting, or sleeping. When you can, raise your legs above the level of your heart.
- Do physical activities to get your legs moving and improve muscle tone. This helps blood move through your veins.
- If you’re overweight or obese, try to lose weight. This will improve blood flow and ease the pressure on your veins.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes, especially those that are tight around your waist, groin (upper thighs), and legs. Tight clothes can make varicose veins worse.
- Avoid wearing high heels for long periods. Lower heeled shoes can help tone your calf muscles. Toned muscles help blood move through the veins.
Your doctor may recommend compression stockings. These stockings create gentle pressure up the leg. This pressure keeps blood from pooling and decreases swelling in the legs.
There are three types of compression stockings. One type is support pantyhose. These offer the least amount of pressure. A second type is over-the-counter compression hose. These stockings give a little more pressure than support pantyhose. Over-the-counter compression hose are sold in medical supply stores and pharmacies.
Prescription-strength compression hose are the third type of compression stockings. These stockings offer the greatest amount of pressure. They also are sold in medical supply stores and pharmacies. However, you need to be fitted for them in the store by a specially trained person. (Source: National Institutes of Health)
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