Varicose Veins

Serious—or just seriously annoying?

Women are more likely to have varicose and spider veins (why is this not a surprise?). Some people don’t experience any related symptoms—but for others, the appearance of these veins can be associated with tired, heavy, achy or itchy legs. WHA offers in-office assessment and treatment of varicose and spider veins.

  • The basics

  • What, who and why
  • What are the options for treating varicose veins?
  • What to expect at your visit
  • What, who and why

    What are varicose veins? Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are often raised above the skin and look like twisted, bulging cords. They may be associated with pain, aches, heaviness, restless legs or burning and itching of the skin.

    Who gets them? Varicose veins are twice as common in women as men—and are even more common in older women. Things that increase your risk of having varicose veins include family history, older age, pregnancy, being overweight or obese and standing or sitting in one position for long periods of time.

    What causes them? Varicose veins happen when veins aren’t functioning properly. Healthy veins have one-way valves that open and close to help get blood back to the heart. Sometimes those valves become weakened, diseased or damaged and are no longer able to maintain the healthy flow of blood back to the heart. When this happens, blood can pool in the veins, leading to varicose veins and other symptoms. This happens most often in the legs because the veins there are furthest from the heart and are working against gravity to return blood to it.

  • What are the options for treating varicose veins?

    If left untreated, symptoms associated with varicose veins may worsen and can lead to increase your risk of complications, including blood clots, skin discoloration and venous statis ulcers. But the good news is, depending on the size and nature of your varicose veins and what’s causing them, treatment can be done in our office. Our treatment options include:

    • Vein ablation
    • Sclerotherapy
    • Phlebectomy
  • What to expect at your visit

    Assessment and treatment of varicose veins is offered at WHA’s Northwest Gynecology Center Lloyd District office. At your first visit, you’ll likely have an ultrasound of your legs to see how blood is flowing and whether there are problems with the valves in your deep leg veins. At the same visit, you’ll likely meet with our vein clinician, Dr. Hamilton, to review the results of your ultrasound and discuss your treatment options. If you decide to go forward and want to seek approval from your insurance company to pay for the treatment, you may be required to try compression stockings (called ‘conservative therapy’) for a period of time to see if that improves your symptoms before they will approve treatment.

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