Myths and Facts About Your Varicose Veins

Updated on: August 18, 2014
Varicose veins appear as bulging, purplish veins in most cases. They may even cause pain and heaviness in the legs for some patients. Treating this venous condition is often very important to those suffering from it, but patients should first do their research in separating myth from fact. There is a lot of information circulating regarding varicose veins and some of it is not always true. The best resource for further information is a licensed vein specialist, although there are a few myths that can be sorted out fairly simply.

Myth: Removing the saphenous vein is harmful

During many procedures to relieve varicose veins, the greater saphenous vein is removed. The greater saphenous vein runs from the ankle up to the groin and delivers oxygen-depleted blood to the femoral vein. A common myth is that this vein cannot be removed, even if it is thick and thrombosed. The truth is that in most cases removing a problematic greater saphenous vein is not a problem. Inefficient veins may actually inhibit blood flow, so removing these veins, even the greater saphenous vein, may actually improve circulation. Once the vein is removed, other veins will carry blood away from the leg. If the saphenous vein is healthy, however, it should not be removed. This vein may be used in future open heart surgeries and should be preserved if possible. Consult a medical professional for further information.

Myth: Women are affected more than men

Another myth is that varicose veins affect more women than men. Many reports indicate that more women are affected, although some believe this is because women are more likely to visit the doctor than men and this is how these statistics have been accumulated. A researcher in Scotland reportedly examined people at random and found that more men were affected, however. While there are conflicting reports of whether this condition affects women more often than men, there's one conclusion that everybody can agree with: varicose veins affect both sexes.

Myth: Varicose veins are not a medical problem

Some also have heard that varicose veins are strictly a cosmetic problem and are not a medical concern. While spider veins may be considered strictly cosmetic, varicose veins are a sign of circulatory problems. They are caused when blood pools in the veins because the valves that are supposed to block the backward flow of blood are inefficient. If you have varicose veins, seek medical consultation.

Myth: Surgery is the only treatment for varicose veins

Another myth surrounding varicose veins is that surgery is the only answer in terms of relief. This is no longer true. There are several treatments that are minimally-invasive and even non-invasive that provide effective relief from varicose veins. Some utilize laser energy, while others use injections to relieve varicose veins. Interested patients should consult a vein specialist to discuss non-surgical solutions. If you have heard other myths that you would like addressed, consult a licensed vein specialist in your area, as this is the best resource for further information.
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