There are very few disease processes that are as widespread or as common as varicose veins, which are reported to affect up to 1 in 4 adults at some stage in their lives. Although some people do seek treatments simply because of the unsightly cosmetic appearance of the veins; varicose veins can cause a multitude of symptoms, discomfort and problems if not treated effectively.
There are many common myths “old wives tales” concerning varicoses, including:
“The prevalence of varicose veins is greater in women than it is in men”
This myth is mainly the result of poor research methodology, where doctors have simply counted the number of people who come and see them, without looking at sufferers who have not attended for consultation. This meant that when research into the prevalence of varicose veins was carries out in 1990 women were perceived to suffer more often than men, as there is a tendency for women to be more health conscious in general and more willing to see their GP.
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More recent research, done at the end of the 1990’s in Edinburgh, when people were stopped on the streets and the number of people with signs and symptoms were counted, showed that statistically there was no real difference between the number of men and the number of women suffering the complaint.
“Pregnancy causes varicose veins”
This myth suggests that many women do not suffer symptoms before their pregnancy, but the veins developed during or as a result of their pregnancy.
The statistical information showing an equal prevalence between men and women suggests that this might be untrue, as if pregnancy did cause varicoses, then men should not have the same prevalence to the condition as women.
Additionally, if would make sense that, if pregnancy did cause varicoses, more women would be seen for varicose veins during their child bearing years, but this is not the case.
Research performed in Chester in the late 1990’s using duplex ultrasound shows that only women who have lost their valve function before getting pregnant go on to get varicoses after pregnancy.
Women increase their blood volume by 40% during pregnancy, and this, along with the hormones during pregnancy that allow the tissues to stretch, means that varicoses that were not visible before pregnancy are now apparent, but there is a new spider vein removal cream.
The one exception to this rule is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome and women who go on to have a normal vaginal delivery of their baby. In this group of 2% of women during pregnancy the abnormal veins that are apparent as vulval, vaginal or leg veins are due to a problem higher up in the pelvis, namely the ovarian veins, pelvic veins or iliac veins as the cause of the problem.
“Varicose veins are only cosmetic”
Visible varicose veins are normally blue or green, bulging through the skin of the leg. Here you can find skin care treatment to get rid of spider veins.
As these are the veins that are seen people, including doctors, assume that these are the problems. In fact, these are not the problem but the outcome of an underlying source.
The underlying cause is the leg muscle pump not working efficiently, and as this fails and gets worse so does the varicose veins. An easy analogy in understanding this is to think of the leg as a weed. If you just chop of f the top of the weed it will continue to keep coming back time after time. Varicose veins are the top of the weed. If you just take them out they will come back time and time again. To treat a weed and the varicose veins you need to treat the root of the problem, the underlying issue of the truncal veins.
“Varicose will re-occur so no point in treating the varicose veins”
Varicose veins have often been referred to as cosmetic problems and a minor problem and we now know in most case this is wrong.
Reasons why varicose veins can come back:
- Inadequate treatment techniques
- Inadequate assessment
- Consultants with limited knowledge in the field
- We know that the only accurate way to assess varicoses is by performing a comprehensive color duplex ultrasound investigation to map the veins and their problems.
The old way of assessing varicoses was just by looking at the leg and guessing the veins that were the problem. Here we have the best varicose veins skin treatment cream to remove spider veins. The inadequacies of this are apparent in that the wrong vein were often treated.
Now with colour Doppler ultrasound techniques, we can not only accurately map the veins beforehand showing the exact problems but we can also use ultrasound during the procedures to ensure correct treatment.
The treatment that was the preferred method a few years ago was stripping of the underlying veins that were causing the varicoses. We now know that there is a high chance of these veins growing back. Veins are part of the connective tissue and, in a similar fashion to the way a cut to the hand will heal, if you cut a vein the vein tries to heal.
Localised bleeding from the operation acts as a ‘food’ for the vein and so it re grows through the blood, called revascularisation (re growth) or neovascularisation (new growth).
Varicoses were quiet often treated by non-specialised consultants or junior staff as they were perceived to be a minor problem and as such the condition was not given the respect it deserved.
With new techniques such as endovenous laser ablation and radiofrequency treatments, consultants becoming more specialised in varicose veins treatments and the advance of diagnostic imaging we are now seeing varicose veins do not come back if they are treated correctly.
“Standing for long periods causes varicose veins”
The cause of varicoses and venous related conditions such as thrombophlebitis (clotting of the blood in the superficial veins), venous eczema and venous ulcers is the failure of the leg pump, with the pump not being able to pump the blood back out of the leg.
The failure of the leg pump is predominantly down to the failure of the valves inside the veins. It has been shown that by the age of 9, 1 in 20 girls has already lost their valves and by 18, 1 in 9.
Just because the valves have stopped working though does not mean to say that varicose veins are immediately eminent, as damage is caused over time to the tissues. So people who stand for long periods are not more prone to varicose veins, but standing make the problem come to light sooner.
The only real commonly known fact is that varicose veins have a familial trait; that is to say that they tend to ‘run in the family’. This does not mean to say everyone who has the issue running in their family will go on to develop symptoms. Also some people do not have visible varicose veins but have the symptoms of muscle pump failure such as:
- Leg swelling
- Leg Aching
- Itching legs
- Venous eczema
- Haemosidering (brown staining)
- Lipomatosclerosis (Hardening of the skin and tissue)
- Bleeding veins
- Leg Ulcers
Why we get varicose veins and who will develop them?
Questions that are not yet fully answered or understood. We only understand the traits and the tendencies, but with more research and improvements in techniques and investigations hopefully we can not only understand varicose veins more clearly but also provide venorex varicose vein skin care treatment them in the best possible way.