Some people consider varicose veins a cosmetic flaw they’d rather live without. For others, they’re a painful reminder that something isn’t right with their circulatory health. Eliza Codd, ARNP, FNP-BC, AG-ACNP-BC, CLS, is a double board-certified nurse practitioner at Woodlands Vein Center & Preventative Medicine Clinic in Shenandoah, Texas. Also serving Woodlands, Conroe, Spring and North Houston, Texas. Regardless of how you categorize those problematic veins, the practice provides highly effective and minimally invasive vein treatments that can eliminate your symptoms and restore confidence in your skin’s appearance. Schedule a visit today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.

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Should I worry about varicose veins?

Occurring most frequently in the legs, varicose veins are often related to a condition known as venous insufficiency. That causes vein walls and one-way valves within the vein to weaken and stretch, which allows blood to leak backward into the vein.

According to the Society for Vascular Surgery, varicose veins are a very common issue, experienced by about 35% of people in the United States. They’re not usually considered life-threatening, and most people seek treatment due to their cosmetic effects.

However, varicose veins can cause a variety of painful symptoms that may include:

  • Swelling in the lower legs
  • Skin changes, such as excessive dryness
  • Aching or throbbing pain that may worsen with prolonged standing or sitting
  • Open sores or ulcerations (venous ulcers) that often appear near the ankles
  • Sense of heaviness or fatigue in the legs
  • Excessive bleeding with even mild trauma

Sometimes a painful condition called phlebitis causes clots to form in varicose veins close to the skin’s surface.

Phlebitis is not the same as the more dangerous clots that develop in deeper leg veins (deep venous thrombosis or DVT), which can travel to the heart or lungs. However, it does cause veins to become painful, hot, hard, and discolored. These symptoms may last for two to three months.

How do you diagnose varicose veins?

Varicose veins are often visible and easily identified on a physical exam. However, it’s important to evaluate the extent of damage to your leg veins, some of which may be occurring in deeper vessels.

Thus, a vein evaluation at Woodlands Vein Center & Preventative Medical Clinic often includes an ultrasound. During this painless in-office study, your provider uses advanced ultrasound technology to measure the time it takes blood to flow upward from your toes to your hips.

The results help inform your provider’s decision to design a personalized treatment strategy that addresses both your cosmetic concerns and the physical symptoms of varicose veins.

How do you treat varicose veins?

Depending on the number, size, and location, your Woodlands Vein Center & Preventative Medicine Clinic provider may suggest conservative therapy. This might include weight loss, routine exercise, over-the-counter pain medication, and the use of compression stockings.

If these measures fail or the disease has advanced, your therapy may include an ablation procedure designed to seal off the damaged vein. That causes the targeted vein to die and fade away over several weeks as your body redirects blood flow to deeper, healthier veins.

At Woodlands Vein Center & Preventative Medicine Clinic, in-office ablation procedures include endovenous (within the vein) laser ablation, sclerotherapy, and medical adhesive introduced via a catheter into the vein.

Schedule your vein evaluation today by calling the office or booking an appointment online.