Varicose veins are a serious disease that significantly impairs a person's quality of life. To a greater extent, representatives of the fair sex are subject to this, but it does not ignore men either. Swelling and discomfort, the appearance of a characteristic blue mesh - these are just some of the symptoms of varicose veins on the legs. How to treat this disease, we will tell in today's article.
Description of the disease
Varicose veins are a chronic vascular disease. It occurs due to stagnation of blood. In the normal state, the vascular valves pass blood upward, that is, from the lower extremities to the heart. In case of failure, the biological fluid begins to stagnate, putting pressure on the vessel walls. As a result, the latter become thinner, lose their elasticity and deform, expanding significantly. At the same time, venous networks can be seen in the legs, which rise above the surface of the skin. Sometimes they form varicose veins.
There are several causes of varicose veins in the legs. Treatment is largely determined by the primary factor that triggered the pathological process.
The onset of the disease can lead to:
- hereditary predisposition. There have already been cases of varicose veins in the family, the probability of their occurrence is quite high.
- Increased venous pressure. A sedentary lifestyle, regular vertical loads and obesity can provoke a violation. This condition is also common among pregnant women.
- Take hormonal medications. For example, birth control pills that are high in the hormone estrogen contribute to blood thickening and, as a result, the development of varicose veins.
- Violation of blood circulation against the background of smoking, wearing shoes that are too narrow, chronic constipation.
- Hormonal disorders due to age-related changes in the body.
- Inflammatory diseases of Organs pelvic organs.
Taking into account the above reasons, we can conclude that all women are at risk of varicose veins in the legs.
The disease is characterized by gradual development. Pronounced clinical manifestations do not appear immediately. The first symptoms are as follows:
- Swelling of the legs. It is especially noticeable after a long stay in a sitting position. In the morning, as a rule, all symptoms disappear.
- Cramps and numbness of the legs.
- Heaviness, burning and pain in the legs.
- Blue-red spider veins, clearly visible on the skin.
If these symptoms appear, you should immediately consult a doctor. If ignored, the disease will continue to progress. The clinical picture will be complemented by:
- seals and darkening of the skin;
- pain in the veins during palpation;
- venous nodules protruding above the surface of the skin;
- severe muscle pain, the intensity of which usually increases with walking.
If the treatment of varicose veins in the legs is not prescribed, then the patient will inevitably face complications. They are discussed below in the article.
If you suspect varicose veins, you should consult a phlebologist or vascular surgeon. Diagnosis of the disease begins with questioning the patient and examining the affected areas. To obtain a detailed clinical picture and assess the severity of the disease, it will be necessary to perform an ultrasound of the veins and perform a venography with contrast.
Many patients, if they don't notice swelling and bumps on the skin, think that the disease has been bypassed. However, such a clinical picture is typical of an advanced stage of the pathological process, when the only method of treating varicose veins in the legs is surgery. Its danger is not in the appearance of cosmetic defects, pain and burning.
Causing stagnant processes, pathology causes the appearance of blood clots in the vessels - dense blood clots, consisting mainly of red blood cells. They quickly spread throughout the body, they can enter the heart, lungs and even the brain. As a result, blood clots completely block the vessels, leading to blockage. The following health issues are a result of the ongoing changes:
- myocardial infarction;
- Brain stroke;
The consequence of these conditions is disability and, in especially severe cases - death.
Separately, it is necessary to talk about a frequent companion of varicose veins - a trophic ulcer. The causes of its appearance are chronic venous insufficiency and increased pressure in the veins. These ulcers do not heal for a long time, they are difficult to treat. At the same time, they significantly worsen a person's quality of life, limiting their ability to work. Swelling, pain and bad breath are just some of the symptoms of an ulcer. Sometimes they even degenerate into a malignant tumor. Therefore, you cannot ignore and perform varicose veins on the legs. Treatment should begin as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed.
There are two options for treating the disease: conservative and surgical. The choice of treatment for varicose veins in the legs is at the discretion of the doctor. In this case, the doctor must take into account the severity of the disease, the presence of concomitant health problems, the age of the patient and other factors.
Conservative methods (chemotherapy, compression therapy, exercise therapy, physical therapy) are recommended at the initial stage of the pathological process, as well as for women during pregnancy. With advanced forms, surgical intervention is required. Today, minimally invasive methods (sclerotherapy, laser coagulation) are also actively practiced. They give good results and allow you to permanently get rid of a cosmetic defect.
More details on each of the methods will be discussed later in the article.
External treatment: creams, ointments and gels
In the case of varicose veins, the superficial vessels are damaged first and then the deep ones, which leads to congestion. In the initial phase, external means are especially effective. From varicose veins on the legs, various ointments, creams and gels are prescribed. It is recommended that they be applied exclusively to the affected area twice a day.
All drugs are generally divided into several conditional groups:
- based on heparin. They have a resolving effect and prevent blood stasis.
- Based on natural ingredients. In chronic varicose veins, the pain is relieved; During pregnancy, leg fatigue is reduced.
- Non-steroidal drugs. Used to prevent inflammation, as well as in the treatment of thrombosis and thrombophlebitis.
- Hormone based. They have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory effects.
The only contraindication to the use of these drugs is the presence of skin lesions.
Drug treatment of varicose veins in the legs is the mainstay of therapy. Their help is used regardless of the stage of the disease. Prescription drugs are available in many forms: pills, capsules, injectable solutions. They have a variety of effects on the body:
- Phlebotonics. This is a large group of drugs whose action is aimed at improving blood flow to the affected area and the tone of the vascular walls.
- Drugs to thin the blood. They prevent the formation of blood clots, improve blood circulation. Similar remedies for varicose veins in the legs are used strictly according to the doctor's prescription.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs. Contribute to pain relief, reduce swelling, inhibit platelet bonding process. The dosage of the drugs and the duration of administration are determined by the doctor.
wearing compression stockings
The fair sex are more likely than men to experience varicose veins. This is due to hormonal changes that take place in the body (eg menopause or pregnancy). Therefore, the best option to prevent varicose veins in the legs and later treat them is the use of tights or special socks. Compression underwear compresses the lower limbs and prevents stagnant processes. In the case of an already developed disease, it protects against pain, discomfort, swelling and fatigue.
Features of hirudotherapy
The treatment of varicose veins in the legs with leeches has been known for a long time. Otherwise, it is called hirudotherapy.
In the saliva of leeches there is a special enzyme that prevents the blood from clotting. Therefore, to eliminate stagnant processes, they often turn to their help. Having sucked, the parasite falls off on its own after a while. This happens only after it is saturated with blood. The procedure is carried out exclusively under stationary conditions and only by qualified specialists. After that, for some time, the wounds may bleed. This is a natural phenomenon not to be feared. Hirudotherapy is especially effective in the early stages of the pathological process.
Traditional medicine help
As an addition to the main course of therapy, doctors recommend treating varicose veins in the legs with folk remedies. There are many recipes. Everyone will be able to choose for themselves the most acceptable and convenient option.
The most popular is apple cider vinegar. It contains more than 20 minerals and trace elements, as well as vitamins A, C and B. This remedy helps to strengthen blood vessels, relieve swelling. Perfectly tones the skin. Following are the main ways to use apple cider vinegar for varicose veins:
- Friction. After water procedures, this remedy should be rubbed into the affected areas with massaging movements and not washed off until the next bath.
- compresses. The gauze must be moistened in a vinegar solution, applied to the affected area. Cover with a plastic bag and a terry towel. Then you need to lie down so that the legs are 50 cm higher than the body. The duration of the procedure is 30 minutes.
- spilling. 2 liters of water will require 150 g of apple cider vinegar. The legs should be placed in a basin and water the swollen veins with the prepared solution. You need to repeat the procedure for 5 minutes. There is no need to clean your feet afterwards. They should dry naturally.
Recommends traditional medicine treatment of varicose veins of the legs and clay. Available in blue, white or green. This tool can be purchased at a pharmacy. It should be applied to varicose areas, after immersion in cold water. The layer thickness must be at least 1 cm. From above it must be covered with polyethylene, no additional insulation is needed. This is a cold wrap. The duration of the procedure is from 1 to 1. 5 hours. After that, you need to take a cold shower.
Cold pack helps to narrow the veins, improve blood circulation. As a result, waste and toxins are removed. In addition, the wrap relieves leg fatigue well and prevents swelling. To obtain a positive effect, at least 12 procedures are required, with a frequency of 2 times a week.
To eliminate varicose veins, you can use white acacia flowers. They are used in the form of lotions, rubs or compresses. The tincture dissolves venous nodules well. To prepare it, you need 100 g of flowers, pour 0. 5 liters of vodka, leave in a dark place for 3 weeks. Then it needs to be filtered. Rub the product into the affected areas daily with massaging motions. To restore full blood circulation, the procedure must be repeated daily.
Another popular recipe is white willow bark baths. It can be purchased at a pharmacy. For the procedure, you will need to grind the shell, then pour 2 tablespoons of raw materials into 400 ml of water and boil over low heat. The finished product must be poured into the bathroom. The procedure takes about 30 minutes. Immediately afterwards, it is imperative to put on compression stockings and let your legs rest. This treatment should be repeated every other day for 3 months. To enhance the effect, the decoction must be diluted with an infusion of oak bark in approximately equal proportions.
Many patients do not despise the treatment of varicose veins in the legs with urine. However, this method of therapy raises a lot of questions among doctors and is quite unpleasant during implementation. Therefore, the decision about its need must be made by the patient himself.
Complex exercise therapy
From the veins of the legs, special exercises help. The exercise therapy complex should be selected by a competent specialist. If performed regularly, blood flow to the lower extremities improves. The most popular exercises are listed below:
- While standing, it is necessary to alternately and vigorously lift the heels.
- Sitting in a chair, you can roll a small ball on the floor with your feet.
- Standing, slowly raise and lower your toes.
Exercises are always selected individually, depending on the severity of disease symptoms.
nutrition for varicose veins
According to the reviews, the treatment of varicose veins in the legs is not complete without changing the diet. Firstly, it is important to exclude fatty and salty foods, spices and alcohol. You also have to forget about the sweets. To improve the condition of blood vessels, berries, apples, citrus fruits are useful. They contain a lot of antioxidants and flavonoids, rutin. In general, nutrition should be correct and balanced.
To dilute the blood, it is important to properly organize the intake regimen. It is necessary to consume up to 2 liters of liquid per day.
Minimally invasive techniques
Some patients, especially the fair sex, delay treatment of varicose veins in the legs. In the photo after the intervention, scars and scars can often be seen. However, medicine does not stand still, constantly developing and introducing new methods of therapeutic action.
In the case of varicose veins, the so-called minimally invasive techniques are actively practiced today. They do not require deep surgical intervention, are practically painless and do not cause complications. Among them, the following deserve special mention:
- laser treatment;
- radiofrequency removal.
Let's look at each option in more detail below.
This is the most effective treatment for varicose veins in the legs. It is recommended that the procedure be performed in the initial phase, when only the superficial veins are affected. During its implementation, the doctor injects a sclerosing drug through a syringe or microcatheter. The diameter of the latter is equal to the thickness of a human hair. The procedure itself is painless. The sclerosant glues the walls of the affected vein from the inside, removing it from the circulatory system. As a result, it dries up and stops working, gradually disappearing from the surface of the skin.
Sclerotherapy lasts no more than half an hour. During this time, the doctor makes several injections through punctures in the skin. Typically, about three of these procedures are required at one-week intervals. Complications rarely develop. As a rule, they are limited to itching at the puncture site, peeling of the skin. These unpleasant symptoms disappear on their own within 10 days. In rare cases, thrombophlebitis develops. After the course of treatment, it is important to adhere to some restrictions: avoiding stress on the legs, not visiting the spa, hot baths.
The treatment of varicose veins in the legs with laser has many advantages:
- no traces on the skin after handling;
- painless from manipulations;
- the procedure takes several minutes;
- recovery is fast.
The laser device generates waves of a certain length. Passing through venous blood, they generate heat and seal the affected vessel from the inside. As a result, it is excluded from the bloodstream. Blood supply is still carried out through deep and collateral veins. They take over the entire load and, in a few days, completely replace the removed container.
The procedure is performed under local anesthesia. It doesn't last more than 30 minutes. After that, the patient can immediately return to the usual rhythm of life. Laser treatment is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation, as well as in case of exacerbation of chronic diseases, with poor blood clotting.
How to treat varicose veins with radiofrequency ablation, literally 10 years ago, medicine did not know. Even today, this method is not universally used due to the high cost of the equipment needed to perform the treatment.
The principle of therapy is in many ways similar to laser treatment. Through a skin incision, the specialist inserts a radiofrequency waveguide into the lumen of the affected vessel. Emitting radio waves, he seals the vessel from the inside. The vein is excluded from the bloodstream and, over time, is replaced by connective tissue.
Radiofrequency ablation is not recommended for patients with obesity, atherosclerosis. The procedure must be performed by a qualified specialist to avoid complications.
How to treat varicose veins in the legs, if the above methods were ineffective? In this case, doctors recommend a traditional operation - phlebectomy. They also turn to your help if not superficial, but deep veins are affected.
The operation involves surgically removing the vessels affected by varicose veins, resulting in the restoration of blood flow. It lasts for about two hours, and after manipulations, small scars or bruises may remain on the skin. The latter disappear on their own within a few weeks.
The main indications for phlebectomy are as follows:
- extensive varicose veins;
- violation of the outflow of blood;
- pathological varicose veins;
- trophic skin changes.
A prerequisite for the operation is the absence of pustules, sores and rashes on the affected area.
During the entire rehabilitation period, which usually lasts up to two months, it is important to follow the doctor's recommendations. Compression garments must be worn and excessive physical exertion must be avoided. Also, it is better to refuse to visit baths and saunas, laser hair removal. Otherwise, the patient can maintain the usual rhythm of life.
How to treat varicose veins, the doctor should tell. Can this disease be prevented?
First, people at risk should think about prevention. They are those whose work is directly related to excessively high physical activity or its complete absence, pregnant women, overweight women, men with a hereditary predisposition.
To prevent the disease, doctors recommend maintaining an active lifestyle. You can practice sports (swimming, cycling), walking, climbing stairs and not using the elevator. When sitting, it is important to warm up periodically and do simple leg exercises.
As prophylaxis against veins in the legs, compression underwear should be worn. This is especially true for people whose family members have already had cases of the disease. During pregnancy and flights, during long bus/train journeys or training, it is necessary to wear compression stockings, wrap the lower limbs with special elastic bandages.
In conclusion, it should be noted that you should not be afraid of varicose veins. On the contrary, it is necessary to pay close attention to your own health, and if the initial signs of damage appear, immediately consult a doctor.