When varicose treatment isn’t really an option

Complicating factors can sometimes limit your options

If you’re a regular reader of our blogs, you’ll know that while varicose veins can be unsightly and painful, a number of excellent treatment options exist. With modern medicine – including minimally invasive alternatives to surgery – suitable treatments can almost always be found.

However, there are certain circumstances in which we would not recommend medical treatment. In this blog we’ll take a look at the most common reasons for this, and assess your options.

Advanced age

One of the ironies surrounding varicose veins is that while they tend to worsen with age, there is a widespread belief that advanced age can limit your treatment options. (This is just one of many myths surrounding varicose veins – read our myth-busting blog here).
While it’s true that certain procedures can become riskier with age, it’s important to know that there is no defined ‘maximum age’ for varicose vein treatment. Every patient is different, and we’d always recommend booking a personal consultation to discuss your treatment options.

Existing conditions

Certain lifestyle or medical history factors may impact on your treatment options, even though they are not directly age-related. These include suffering from a blood clot or an active infection – in these circumstances, even minimally invasive procedures may not be advisable (these factors would probably preclude any routine medical procedure).
If you’re immobile or bedbound, your varicose treatment options could also be limited. That’s because of the impact on your blood pressure and blood flow that can result from prolonged periods in a horizontal position.

Pregnant or planning a family

Many women first experience varicose veins in their legs either during pregnancy or after giving birth. As this typically occurs at a relatively young age, aesthetic considerations may also play a part in decisions to seek treatment.
However, most vascular specialists (or vein doctors) will advise against any form of varicose vein surgery or even minimally invasive procedures during pregnancy – the risk to both the mother’s health and that of her unborn baby are considered to be too high.
Often, varicose veins linked to pregnancy or giving birth will begin to fade around three months after delivery. In combination with home remedies, dietary changes and regular moderate exercise, this natural process often minimises the cosmetic and medical impact of varicose veins.
If you are seeking varicose vein treatment and you are trying to start a family, or you suspect you may be pregnant, it’s important to share this information with your doctor so that appropriate recommendations can be made.

When your varicose veins are tiny…

Very small or barely visible, fine varicose veins are known as ‘spider veins’. It may be that there is no need to treat these, although if you do not like how they look (which is perfectly understandable) we can offer treatment options to eliminate them.

Alternatives to interventions

While there are several excellent, safe options for the treatment of varicose veins and spider veins, these cannot always be recommended. If you fall into one of the categories discussed in this blog, the good news is that you can make changes to your lifestyle that can mitigate both the appearance and pain or discomfort of varicose veins. We’ve written blogs about exercise, diet and home remedies – each of which contains a great deal of helpful information.

For a confidential discussion of your medical history in the context of which varicose vein treatments may be appropriate for you, contact Dr Francois Steyn on 012 993 4161 or 012 993 0911, or at francois@surgeon.co.za to arrange a consultation.