Varicose veins may or may not cause pain. They are easy to spot because the veins are dilated and discolored. If you sit or stand for long periods of time, the pain may worsen.

Damaged valves in the veins are generally believed to be the cause of varicose veins. When done correctly, the valves prevent the blood that is pumped to the heart from flowing back into the legs. Malfunctioning valves can cause blood to flow back when standing. Women between 30 and 70 are the most sensitive to varicose veins. Many experts believe that some people are born with abnormalities in the walls of the veins that make them susceptible to varicose veins later in life. Pregnancy puts more pressure on your legs and also increases the production of hormones that relax the veins. If you’ve been standing for a long time or are overweight, put more pressure on your legs. Over time, this weakens the veins. If you experience coughing, constipation, or other stress for an extended period of time, it can lead to varicose veins.

Doctors perform physical exams and use tests to diagnose varicose veins. These tests also rule out other problems. From this diagnosis, the doctor decides which treatment is the best.

Recovery can take up to four weeks. One study found that venous stripping was about 70% effective in removing venous reflux. Venous reflux is blood retention in the legs because the leg valves do not work properly and insufficient blood is pumped to the heart.

Another option is to use lasers to seal the veins from blood clotting and thermal damage. This procedure is minimally invasive and can be performed on an outpatient basis. In one test, laser treatment was approximately 90% effective in preventing venous reflux.

The best treatment option is the VNUS closure. This procedure can only be done in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia. A catheter is inserted below the knee. The energy veins in the catheter seal the veins. Patients treated with occlusion experience less pain and fewer complications than patients treated with lasers. In a clinical study, VNUS occlusion was 97.4% effective in preventing venous reflux.

Roo Sadegi is an expert on all kinds of medical topics and writes extensively on the treatment of conditions such as reflex venous disease.

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