Nearly all leg vein problems are caused by reflux. Let me explain – whenever any fluid travels in the wrong direction in the body, the term reflux is used. So for example, if acid comes up from the stomach in the wrong direction, the person is said to have acid indigestion reflux. Acid should go down to digest the food.
Well, blood flow in veins should go up the legs, from the foot towards the heart. If the one-way valves inside the veins are not working properly, gravity can pull the blood down towards the foot and the term vein reflux is used. This down flow of blood in the wrong direction is the root cause of varicose veins and thread veins as well as complications such as varicose eczema phlebitis and leg ulcers. Reflux is also a risk factor for DVT.
Often the reflux is in the veins a little distance from the surface so you can’t see reflux in these veins by just looking at the leg. However, the refluxing back flow can reveal itself as either lumpy side branches, visible varicose veins or as thread veins. Even, if the reflux remains hidden, it can cause ache, pain, throbbing, varicose eczema, leg ulcers and deep vein thrombosis.
There are 3 main methods of treating superficial vein reflux: the first is by injecting unhealthy vein with prescription medicines called a sclerosant– and this treatment is called ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy. The second treatment is by using heat energy inside the vein, called endothermal ablation, either by laser or radiofrequency and the third method is with medical superglue.
Each method has pros and cons and some people and their vein condition may be more suited to one of these treatments rather than the other. To correctly diagnose venous reflux, where it is coming from in the leg, which veins are affected and which treatment might be best, a duplex ultrasound scan is needed.
Now, if you’re worried about your veins and would like a confidential chat please do get in touch. Our advisors are very happy to offer simple advice by telephone or email for free and without obligation. You can call and book an appointment direct without a referral from your GP on 01935 873951.
The VeinCare Centre also offers a screening assessment with our vascular technologist. For £25 you can have a scan with Wendy Parsons. She is not a doctor and so she cannot give you medical advice but she can check your deep veins and your varicose veins and give you an idea of how bad they are. If you would like to have an appointment with Wendy please call 01935 873 951