Varicose Veins

Varicose vein stripping is a surgical procedure that removes varicose veins from the legs or thighs. Varicose veins are the puffy and twisted veins that you can see under the skin.

Varicose veins form in the legs when the valves in the veins aren’t functioning correctly. Veins normally have one-way valves that prevent your blood from flowing back up toward the heart

Varicose vein stripping treats varicose veins and helps prevent them from coming back. The procedure is also known as vein stripping with ligation, avulsion, or ablation.

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What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that lie just under the skin and usually occur in the legs. Varicose veins are a common condition caused by weak or damaged vein walls and valves.

For some people, varicose veins and spider veins (which is a milder form of varicose veins) may be a simple cosmetic problem, but for others, varicose veins may cause aches and pains in the legs and may also lead to more serious conditions if left untreated.

What are the causes of Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are formed when the valves in a vein malfunction or are weak. Your veins help return the blood back to your heart for purification. 

The blood in your legs has to move up against gravity to reach the heart. Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. 

Your veins also have valves that prevent the back-flow of blood. If these valves are weak or damaged, blood can flow backward and pool in the vein, causing the veins to stretch or twist.

There are many reasons or a combination of reasons why your valves malfunction. They are:

  • Age: Ageing can cause wear and tear on the valves that prevent the back-flow of blood in your veins. Aging increases the risk of varicose veins.
  • Gender: Varicose veins are more common among women especially during pregnancy and menopause. This is because of hormonal changes in their body which can cause vein walls to relax thus leading to the pooling of blood in their veins.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnancy causes the amount of blood flowing through your body to increase substantially to support your fetus. This may also lead to enlargement of veins. Hormonal changes can also play a role.
  • Standing for long periods of time: This exerts extra pressure on your leg muscles and valves causing wear and tear quickly.
  • Family history: There is a chance that you may be prone to varicose veins if other members of your family have it.

What are the symptoms of Varicose Veins?

Symptoms can be divided into those that you can see and those that you can see and feel.

Symptoms that you can see:

  • Veins that appear twisted, bulged, and worm-like
  • Change in color of the affected area.  You may notice a dark purple or blue color in that area

Symptoms that you can feel:
  • Dull aching pain in your legs​
  • Muscle cramping, swelling, and tightness in your lower legs
  • Itching around the affected vein
  • Pain in your legs after sitting or standing for long periods of time

What happens if Varicose Veins are left untreated?

If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to multiple complications such as ulcers, bleeding, or even blood clots. 

Ulcers can form near the varicose veins and are characterized by severe discoloration and pain. Some varicose veins that are close to the skin can burst to lead to blood loss.

How can one prevent varicose veins?

There are no real methods to completely prevent varicose veins from occurring. However, improving circulation and the muscle tone in the area will help reduce chances. Other lifestyle changes that one can adopt to reduce chances are by:

  • ​Not wearing high heels
  • Not sitting or standing continuously for long periods of time
  • Watching your weight
  • Eating a healthy, high-fiber diet

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