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Varicose Veins Treatments – 5 Top Myths

There is a lot of nonsense talked about varicose veins and I would like to bust  the commonest 5 myths about varicose veins that I hear nearly every week in my vein clinic.

The first myth is that pregnancy causes varicose veins. This is simply wrong. Varicose veins may appear in pregnancy for the first time but only if there is a pre-disposition to a condition called superficial venous reflux in which the valves are unhealthy. Many men as well as women who have not had children are affected by varicose veins. The latest research suggests that almost as many men as women have varicose veins and this would not be the case if pregnancy is a major cause of varicose veins.

The second myth is that life style can cause varicose veins: activities such as wearing high heels, crossing your legs, being overweight or not taking exercise. In fact, it’s not your fault if you have varicose veins. There is very little you can do either to cause varicose veins or prevent them.

The 3rd myth is that varicose veins are simply cosmetic. In fact, varicose veins are caused by superficial venous reflux which is also the major cause of varicose eczema and leg ulcers. Varicose veins are also a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis or DVT.

The 4th myth is that varicose veins should be treated in a hospital under a general anaesthetic. In fact, modern treatments which are endovenous (keyhole) give much better results, with fewer risks and a much quicker recovery.

Lastly, a common myth is “don’t bother to have your veins removed as they always come back”. Treatments such as ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy, endovenous laser -EVLT or EVL- VNUS Closure or VenaSeal (medical superglue for varicose veins) do not stimulate vein regrowth – neovascularisation. The risks of veins coming back after these types of treatment are lower than with surgical stripping and the majority of people who have their veins treated nowadays do not have any further problems.

Please let me know if you have a myth to share.