It’s estimated that one-third of Australian adults have varicose veins. Whether it’s managing the pain and discomfort, concerns about any potential complications or just being self-conscious about their appearance, plenty of people would like to see their varicose veins gone.
While treatment is easier than ever before, it doesn’t mean it’s for you right now. In some cases, the symptoms associated with smaller veins can be managed through a number of changes to lifestyle and diet however other veins will require medical attention, learn the difference between both and whether it is worth having varicose veins treated.
Varicose veins symptoms and severity
Varicose veins in themselves are symptomatic of venous insufficiency, the result of weakened vein walls and non-functioning valves. While each person will have their own experience of symptoms, each one can be cause for concern or nothing to worry about. Here’s some of the main symptoms that occur with varicose veins, and how to tell if you should see someone about them.
- Usually fine: Occasional swelling that occurs at the end of the day, mild and painless, clearing up after you’ve sat down.
- Speak to your doctor: If the swelling is happening most days, covering more than just the ankles or causing pain.
- Usually fine: Occasional twinges of discomfort or mild warm sensations.
- Speak to your doctor: Cramping or burning sensations in the legs, pain that occurs regularly or bouts of higher pain.
- Usually fine: Small spider veins or mild bulges smaller than a thumbnail.
- Speak to your doctor: Discoloration of the skin, thick bulging veins, twisted vessels that wobble with each step.
While these tips are general guidelines, it’s important to remember that each patient will have a different experience, and what might be a warning sign for one person could be normal for another. If you’re ever unsure what to make of it, speak to your GP or a vein doctor.
Treatment from a varicose vein specialist
Doctors who specialise in the venous system can help with diagnosing and treating all sorts of venous disorders, like varicose veins, ulcers and more. If you visit a vein clinic to speak to one of these doctors, chances are they’ll have a lot of experience dealing with varicose veins. By speaking with them, they can ask the right questions and assess your legs to see if you need to have them treated clinically or not. If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not to get your veins treated, speak to a vein specialist to know for sure.
Taking care of yourself
In many cases, people with varicose veins won’t need treatment and can take care of them at home. As varicose veins often don’t pose too much of a risk, and a few lifestyle changes can help to take care of them. Here are a few tips:
- Cut down on fatty and sugary foods and eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Wear compression stockings for work and while travelling.
- Quit smoking.
- Exercise regularly, at least a 20-minute walk a day.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Treatment versus relieving symptoms
While many people with varicose veins can treat the symptoms while they take the time to decide about treatment, there are still cases where intervention with medical treatment is necessary.
Think of your vein symptoms as a traffic light. Those with mild veins and no noticeable symptoms are green, they can keep on going as they are and not worry too much, though they should take care of the veins to prevent it getting worse.
Orange are those people who have symptoms that are bothering them like swelling or pain and itchiness with their veins, and while management with lifestyle changes can help, choosing treatment often is better for the long-term.
However, there are people who are a red light, with symptoms or issues that require treatment as soon as possible. People with ulcers (Learn more: How ulcers form), chronic swelling or bad pain all need medical intervention with vein treatment.
If you have varicose veins, while it might be easy to manage now, you may hit an orange or red light down the track, so keep an eye on your symptoms and speak to your doctor if you’re ever unsure.
Read more: 5 Mistakes to avoid when treating your veins.
Seek expert advice
The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive program using non-surgical laser treatment techniques. You can learn more in our Definitive Guide to Varicose Vein Treatment.
The benefits of non-surgical varicose vein treatment are:
- Walk-in walk-out treatment
- 98% success rate
- Extremely effective
- Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
- No general anaesthetic
- Medicare rebates apply
- No downtime or time away from work
To book a consultation and discuss our treatment program, call 1300 981 402. Or, make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.