The treatment of varicose veins is aimed at preventing them from getting worse and avoiding any complications. It’s also very important to improve their aspect and alleviate the annoying symptoms that accompany them. On the other hand, this problem can be caused by a lack of physical activity in certain workplaces, especially office settings.
Why do varicose veins appear?
This problem occurs more frequently in older women, with 50% of cases. Varicose veins might pop up anywhere, but they appear most frequently on the legs.
It is a disease of the cardiovascular system. More specifically, varicose veins are abnormally enlarged veins that look bumpy, twisted, and bulging.
Veins have a thin, weak layer of muscle. For this reason, they are easily deformed, acquiring a larger caliber than normal, and it is then when they become visible for two main reasons. The first is the venous valves, which slow down the return of blood to the organs. When they become dilated, a vicious cycle is established; as the valve becomes more and more insufficient, it fails to prevent retrograde flow. The more blood accumulates, the more they become dilated and more damage is done to the valves.
Standing for extended periods of time is the other relevant cause, as it generates a column of blood, which reaches maximum pressure in the foot and calves, while there is none in the right atrium. With this posture, the spine reaches its maximum length, exerting greater pressure, which injures the venous walls.
Other risk factors are hereditary, since there is a family tendency to suffer from varicose veins. Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are also things that increase the risk of suffering from varicose veins. Exercise is fundamental in sedentary lifestyles and to combat overweight, and if we combine exercise with electrostimulation, not only will we help varicose veins disappear, but we will also prevent them from popping back up. This is thanks to the electrodes located in the electrostimulation suit. The electrical impulses transmitted by these electrodes generate a natural muscle contraction, reaching the deeper muscle layers that are more difficult to activate through conventional training.
How can we prevent them from appearing?
You can eliminate or alleviate the discomfort caused by varicose veins in the legs with a few precautions. This way, you’ll also prevent the problem from getting worse, which can bring certain complications. The most common symptoms are heaviness in the legs, cramps, tingling, itching, and swelling. Complications include hemosiderin staining (blood pools in your lower legs causing discoloration) and varicose ulcers. There are a few steps you can take, including the following:
- Improve bowel movement.
- Don’t stand, sit, or cross your legs for long periods of time.
- Avoid wearing very high heels (no more than three centimeters).
- Increase your intake of flavonoids (found in berries) and fiber and reduce salt intake.
- Maintain an ideal weight.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes.
Types of varicose veins
This disease doesn’t only appear in the legs, and other organs may also present them, although the causes are different. Take for example the varicose veins in the anus,known as hemorrhoids, varicose veins in the esophagus, and those that appear in the testicles, which are called varicoceles.
Varicose veins in the legs
The classification of varicose veins is based on how severe they are. This is related to the symptoms, the aesthetic impact, and the most appropriate treatment in each case.
A lymphatic drainage treatment combined with electrostimulation is an effective weapon against varicose veins in the legs.
Grade I or varicose veins
They are very fine veins, purple and star-shaped, which is why they are called vascular spider veins.
The veins become more dilated and noticeable. They also begin to cause some symptoms.
In this case the veins become thicker and more twisted, and symptoms are aggravated. We start seeing edema and darkening of the skin.
These veins bring serious complications, like the ones we’ve already described.
How can we get rid of them? The treatment
The various treatments available for varicose veins seek to stimulate venous return and counteract the process of chronic dilatation. The choice of treatment will depend on how serious the condition is. These can be classified into: non-pharmacological, pharmacological, and surgical.
In addition to the general measures mentioned above, there are some more specific measures that have a better effect. They work well on all types of dilated veins.
Walking is particularly effective. The calf muscles work like a pump, and when they contract, they promote venous return. An electrostimulation vest can achieve even greater effectiveness.
Resting with legs raised
Resting with your legs raised helps gravity improve your circulation.
The application of cold showers produces a contraction of the veins and prevents the accumulation of blood.
Elastic compression stockings exert pressure on the entire surface of the legs and prevent edema.
This treatment uses equipment that delivers a small electrical shock to the skin, causing the calf muscles to contract. The reaction works like a second heart, driving the blood in an anterograde direction. This is also a very useful way to eliminate cellulite.
This type of treatment is reserved for patients with bothersome symptoms, although the effectiveness varies greatly from person to person. There are those who feel tremendous relief and others who report no improvement at all. For this reason, it’s important to assess whether it’s convenient or not to maintain the medication after a few months. The drugs used are generically known as venotonics or phlebotonics, and produce contraction of the muscular layer of the veins.
The most commonly used are the following plant extracts: Rutosides, flavonoids, ruscus, horse chestnut extract, and Ginkgo biloba. You should know that these won’t stop the condition from progressing and are not suitable for asymptomatic people.
This type of invasive treatment seeks to eliminate varicose veins or the circulation within them, so that they collapse and become less visible. With any of these, it’s important to note that there is a small percentage of recurrences, and they recur even after successful treatment.
There are two main surgical techniques. Phlebo extraction, saphenectomy, or stripping is based on the removal of the superficial saphenous vein, which receives blood from the venous system that is distributed under the skin. With the use of spinal anesthesia, two incisions are made, one in the ankle and one in the groin. A guidewire is inserted through the second one to remove the vein. The veins draining into it are tied off through other incisions.
The CHIVA method uses ultrasound to locate the veins with reflux, and has the advantage that it can be done with local anesthesia. Marks are made on the skin, which serve as a guide, and at these points, the veins are tied, effectively eliminating the overload of the superficial venous system. The dilated veins disappear after a short time.
There are several techniques in which the varicose vein is not removed, but obliterated. Different devices are used for this purpose and their application will depend on which one the doctor considers most appropriate.
It uses electromagnetic waves that are transformed into thermal energy when they come into contact with the tissues. This causes contraction of the collagen fibers, destruction of the inner layer of the vein, and obliteration.
This treatment also applies heat to the inside of the vein, causing it to atrophy and disappear. First, a hollow needle is inserted as a guide, through which a fiber is passed, which emits laser light. This heats up the walls, which triggers a healing process. The vein becomes blocked, and this forces the blood to circulate through wider veins.
To reach the entire length of the vein to be treated, a catheter with a needle is inserted into the vein up to the end point. It is slowly withdrawn, while a sclerosing agent is injected. This may be liquid, but foams are more effective, as they reach all internal surfaces more easily. When the probe is removed, the treated segment is compressed to ensure homogeneous distribution. A compressive bandage is then applied.
In this procedure, ultrasound is used and the objective is to collapse the superficial saphenous vein, that is, to produce its ablation. A catheter with an electrode is used, which runs along the entire length of the vein, generating heat. This technique causes it to transform into a cord of scar tissue, so that the varicose veins anatomically related to the superficial saphenous vein are eliminated.
Exercises for varicose veins
Some exercises, done systematically and routinely, can relieve your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. These include heel-toe push-ups, cycling, and pedaling.
Electrostimulation for varicose veins
Remember that, in any kind of exercise, you have an essential resource that will make it more effective: the electrostimulation vest. EMS activates the muscle tissue by means of electrical shocks, which generates additional gentle contractions that don’t damage the joints and promote circulation, thus relieving the pain of annoying varicose veins.In short, the best treatment for varicose veins as is often the case, is prevention. Maintaining healthy habits to prevent them from appearing can help you more than any therapy. If you found this article interesting, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to stay up to date on this and other related topics.