3 Harmful Myths About Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are the blue, swollen veins that often show up in patients' legs. They're caused when some veins have difficulty efficiently sending blood to the heart. There are many myths that surround the condition that based on various misconceptions about varicose veins. Some of these myths can actually harm patients who believe them by discouraging them from seeking appropriate medical attention. Take a look at some of the harmful myths about varicose veins and the real facts behind them:

Myth: It's a Harmless Cosmetic Issue

It's true that varicose veins can be unsightly, but that's not the only reason that they're a problem. Varicose veins are frequently accompanied by painful symptoms, including aching, cramping, throbbing, and itchiness in your legs. If the condition becomes advanced, you can develop dermatitis, swelling, and thickened skin. In rare cases, you can even develop open sores.

The belief that varicose veins are harmless can lead patients to discount other symptoms that they experience, while the veins themselves get worse. It's also important to note that sometimes varicose veins aren't even visible. They can be located between fatty tissue and muscle where they can't be seen from the skin's surface. Being aware of the other symptoms of varicose veins can help alert you to the problem when the veins themselves can't be seen.

Myth: It's a Female Problem

It's true that more women than men develop varicose veins. But it's by no means a problem that's exclusive to women. Out of 40 million Americans who have varicose veins, about 25% of the sufferers are male. Varicose veins run in families, so if an older relative had them, you may get them too, regardless of gender.

Unfortunately, men with varicose veins may not recognize the problem or seek timely treatment if they believe that they can't get varicose veins. This can lead to unnecessary suffering.

Myth: The Only Way to Get Rid of Them is With Surgery

There are a number of different ways to manage varicose veins, from lifestyle changes to compression stockings. At one time, it was true that the only way to get rid of them completely was with a type of surgery known as stripping. This procedure could be painful and leave scars. The belief that surgery is the only option could lead patients to delay seeking treatment.

However, modern technology has found new and less invasive ways to treat varicose veins, so you have several different options. There are laser treatments and various injections that seal the veins with minimal discomfort and no scarring. Patients shouldn't hold off on seeking treatment out of fear of surgery.

Don't let inaccurate myths about varicose veins cause you to suffer needlessly. If you have varicose veins, or think you do, talk to your doctor about your varicose vein treatment options.