When to seek treatment for your varicose veins

What to look out for

Very small varicose veins on the surface of your skin tend to be a mostly cosmetic issue. They are known as spider veins, and other than their appearance, are unlikely to cause you any problems in life.

Treatment options do exist – especially sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a solution into the vein that leads to its collapse and conversion into scar tissue, which will then fade from view. If you’re concerned about the appearance of spider veins, please contact us for more information on this minimally invasive procedure.

Aesthetic issues

Varicose veins are quite different in appearance. They tend to show up as thick, knotted, purplish veins, often on the lower legs. Many people understandably find these unsightly, and it is often due to cosmetic reasons that people first seek treatment. Modern, non-surgical techniques such as EVRF – our specialty at the Vein Doctor practice – can very significantly improve the appearance of varicose veins, leading to renewed confidence and greater body positivity..

In more serious cases…

Of course, varicose veins can cause more serious issues than simply making you unhappy with how you look (although we recognise that this is in itself can be a cause of deep and genuine distress).

Varicose veins can cause feelings of heaviness in the legs, as well as uncomfortable swelling, restless legs or muscle cramping at night. This can make it difficult to carry out tasks, fall asleep, or exercise – which in turn can exacerbate the problem.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you’ll be relieved to hear that we can also help with more serious cases of varicose veins – not just in reducing how visible they are, but also in restoring your quality of life through treatments that can reduce or even eliminate the pain and discomfort caused by varicose veins.

While this level of pain or discomfort may eventually come to feel ‘normal’, you should know that you don’t have to put up with them when convenient, almost entirely pain-free treatment options are available.

When it’s urgent

Any bleeding from a varicose vein definitely requires medical attention. In the case of injuries or accidents, these veins can bleed more heavily than regular veins, and will most likely require a visit to hospital.

In rare cases, varicose veins may be the most obvious outward sign of a blood clot, also known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT. This is a potentially life-threatening condition – if the blood clot makes it way to your lungs, the results can be fatal.

If you have varicose veins and notice any of these symptoms, you should seek medical treatment without delay:
• Dark patches of skin on your lower legs or ankles (hyperpigmentation)
• Thicker, red or scaly skin in the area where you have varicose veins
• A skin ulcer
• Swelling in one calf
• If your leg feels warm to the touch

While DVT is a relatively rare condition, you should never ignore the warning signs.

Help is available

If you’ve started developing spider veins or varicose veins, and you don’t like how they look or feel, the most important piece of advice we can give you is: don’t despair! Contact Dr Francois Steyn on 012 993 4161 or 012 993 0911, or at francois@surgeon.co.za to arrange a consultation and learn about modern treatment options that can reduce the impact that varicose veins are having on your life.