Myths About Varicose Veins

The truth is out there

Like all medical conditions, there is a lot of information swirling around about varicose veins – especially on the internet. However, not all of it is correct or even helpful, so in this latest blog we’re going to do some myth-busting and look at some of the most common misconceptions around this condition.

Knowing the facts about varicose veins is important – it can help you delay their onset, make the symptoms less severe, and also help you decide when to seek treatment. On the other hand, misinformation could lead to less-than-ideal lifestyle decisions, and delaying seeking help until it’s urgent.

“Varicose veins look ugly, but they’re no big deal”

This may be true in the case of spider veins – the very fine surface veins that may be visible, especially on your legs. However, varicose veins can have significant health consequences. They can cause uncomfortable or painful swelling and skin discoloration. This can interfere with many aspects of your life, including affecting social confidence and willingness to do certain activities. More seriously, if you have varicose veins, you’re more at risk of blood clots or of serious bleeding if you’re hurt in an accident. If you have varicose veins, don’t ignore them – talk to us about treatment options.

“Only mature ladies get varicose veins”

While it’s true that women are more likely to get varicose veins, and that both age and pregnancy increase the risk of developing them, you can get varicose veins at almost any stage in your life. Also, men do get varicose veins – there are a lot of other causes, such as a poor diet or lack of exercise, that can contribute to developing varicose veins. The good news is that there are many useful tips you can follow to avoid getting them, too.

“The only way to treat varicose veins is surgery”

While surgery is certainly an option, especially if you have more severe varicose veins, we’re here to let you know that treatments have advanced a lot in recent years. We specialise in sclerotherapy for spider veins and endovenous radiofrequency ablation (EVRF) for varicose veins.
Both of these procedures are minimally invasive and you can return home the same day. With sclerotherapy (which basically involves an injection), no anaesthetic is needed. EVRF uses a local anaesthetic, but again, it is a procedure that we offer on an out-patient basis, with no need to stay over in hospital.

“Varicose veins are inevitable as you get older”

Not true! There are a lot of lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your risk of developing varicose veins. These include following a reduced-sodium, high-fibre diet; getting more exercise; avoiding gaining too much weight; avoiding sitting down for too long at a time; sitting with your legs elevated; and using compression stockings.

While these good habits may not completely eliminate your risk of getting varicose veins, they will help to reduce the severity of them and to minimise their impact on your life.

“Women cannot have varicose vein treatment until after their last child is born”

While its true that most varicose vein treatments are not recommended for women who are pregnant, the minimally invasive procedures that we offer are suitable for women who have not yet had a baby, or who are between pregnancies if they are planning to have more than one child.

For accurate, up to date information about reducing your risk of varicose veins, and the treatment options available if you do have them, contact Dr Francois Steyn on 012 993 4161 or 012 993 0911, or at francois@surgeon.co.za to arrange a consultation.