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What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins, most commonly appearing in the legs and feet. They may also be present in the buttocks and vaginal area. Hemorrhoids are nothing but the presence of such abnormal veins in the rectal region (due to constipation). Veins are the blood vessels which carry blood from the rest of the body to the heart. They have multiple leaflet valves to prevent blood from flowing backwards. Hence the blood flow is directed upwards, against the strong effect of gravity. This is aided by the activity of the leg muscles. In varicose veins, these valves become incompetent, allowing for the back-flow and pooling of blood which leads to the enlargement and tortuousity of the veins.

Preventive and therapeutic measures:

They include

  • Avoiding standing or sitting (particularly cross legged) for long periods of time. It is desirable to take breaks in between.
  • Incorporating some form of exercise to activate and contract the leg muscles. This helps in pushing the blood towards the heart and avoiding it’s stasis in the legs. Talking just a simple walk around the block could prove to be highly beneficial.
  • Refraining from the use of heels. These kind of footwear do not allow the calf muscles to work properly, hence hampering their ability to aid with the circulation. Use flat, comfortable footwear instead.
  • Elevating the legs to a level higher than the level of the heart to ease the flow of blood towards the heart. Placing the legs over a tall stool while sitting or over a stack of pillows while lying down is recommended.
  • Using graduated compression stockings. They are tight lower down and loosen up as we go up the leg, allowing for the blood to be squeezed upwards. They are easily available at pharmacies and medical supply stores. A proper fitting one must be worn before getting out of bed in the morning (because that is when the the swelling is at it’s lowest). Keep them on till the end of the day.

Other measures include reducing weight (if overweight) and staying within the recommended range to reduce the stress of weight bearing, sleeping on the left side to take some pressure off the IVC and including water and fibre in the diet to avoid straining due to constipation (can give rise to painful hemorrhoids).

Definitive methods of management:

Despite conservative measures, if the condition continues to persistent for a long time after delivery (say beyond 4 – 6 months), causes discomfort, shows any skin changes (like a change in colour, thickness or development of sores) or signs of inflammation (like pain, redness, excessive swelling, warmth), if it bleeds or is cosmetically highly unacceptable, various treatment modalities like sclerotherapy, endovenous laser treatment, high ligation and vein stripping, ambulatory phlebectomy, endoscopic vein surgery can be considered, all of which are available at AVIS Vascular Center.

At AVIS Vascular Center, we are equipped with state of the art technology, and strive to provide you with the best possible care suited to your needs and preferences. Highly qualified and supremely proficient vascular surgeons are at your service and will make sure you attain desirable results.