Are you concerned about varicose veins? Have you heard conflicting advice? There is a lot of different information available and understandably, it can all get a bit confusing. Considering that varicose veins will affect an estimated 20% of all adults at some point in their lives, its time to put some of the misconceptions to rest. Let’s try to debunk 7 of the most common myths about varicose veins.
Myth 1: Pregnancy Causes Varicose Veins
Pregnancy can aggravate varicose veins that are already there but it doesn’t cause them. Varicose veins are not always visible, and often when you get pregnant, the growing uterus and baby place extra stress on the veins in the pelvic area, and then down into the thighs and lower legs. This pressure can exacerbate existing varicose veins, make them more visible and worsen their symptoms. After pregnancy, a lot of these varicose veins will become smaller due to hormonal changes but in some cases, treatment may still be needed.
Myth 2: You Can Cure Varicose Veins with Massage
While massage can reduce discomfort and swelling from varicose veins, it will not cure them or make their symptoms disappear completely.
Myth 3: A Family History of Varicose Veins Means You Will Have Them Too
Whilst a family history of varicose veins means you’re more likely to develop them, many other factors also affect your risk. Studies have shown that if your mother has them, the risk of you developing them is 40% whilst if your father has them the risk is 30%. Unfortunately you can still develop them even if you have no family history. Using the oral contraceptive pill, prolonged standing and work, and previous trauma to your leg is like to predispose to developing these veins.
Myth 4: Crossing Your Legs Leads to Varicose Veins
There is no evidence crossing your legs will cause varicose veins. The pressure that causes varicose veins comes from inside the body, not from anything external. It is not fully known why the faulty inflamed valves develop or how the backward pressure begins. This means that tight clothing won’t cause varicose veins either.
Myth 5: Varicose Veins are Only a Women’s Issue
While varicose veins are known to affect women more than men, it is not something that men should ignore. A study from the University of Michigan has shown that up to 56% of men could develop varicose veins in their lifetime, depending on their lifestyle factors and family history.
Myth 6: Tattoos Cause Varicose Veins
There is no reason to believe that tattoos cause varicose veins or that they aggravate existing varicose veins. Some people look to hide their varicose veins with tattoos but patients should know that varicose veins can worsen over time, and should be assessed by a vein doctor.
Myth 7: Women Should Wait Until Menopause, or Until After They’ve had Children, to Treat Varicose Veins
Varicose vein treatment can be beneficial at almost any age, even before having children. The treatment reduces the risk of later medical problems and eliminates unpleasant symptoms relatively quickly. Ultimately, there is no guaranteed way to prevent varicose veins but maintaining a healthy weight and undertaking regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing or aggravating them.
At The Vein Institute, we offer the latest treatment including sclerotherapy, endovenous laser ablation and medical superglue. Take a look at our positive outcomes to see the results of the different treatment plans.
If you do develop varicose veins, an assessment by a professional vein specialist is recommended. Give us a call at (1300) 535-017, and we’ll be happy to answer all of your questions.