Varicose veins can often be caused by poor circulation, so it’s understandable to think varicose vein treatment will help your circulation. However, the relationship between varicose veins and blood circulation is complex. To understand how treatment will affect your circulation, there are a few things you need to know.
How Are Varicose Veins and Circulation Connected?
First of all, it is helpful to take a look at why your circulation and varicose veins are related.
Varicose veins can occur whenever broken valves let blood flow backwards. Your veins have small valves that are supposed to keep blood flowing towards your heart, but due to age and health problems, they can malfunction. As blood flow slows and reverses, it pools in veins and causes them to deform. This further impairs circulation, leading to even more varicose vein development.
Ways Treatment May Change Your Circulation
If you are dealing with varicose veins, you have many helpful options for treatment. Things like wearing compression stockings and exercising regularly can provide some relief, but lifestyle changes can’t entirely treat varicose veins.
Varicose vein treatment involves blocking off blood flow to the damaged veins, including:
- Sclerotherapy: This minimally-invasive treatment involves injecting a solution into the veins. It foams up and fills the damaged vein, so blood cannot enter it to cause unsightly or uncomfortable bulges.
- Laser therapy: Strong bursts of light travel through the skin and into the vein. The vein gradually closes up and disappears.
- Radio frequency ablation: In this treatment, your doctor inserts a thin catheter into your varicose vein. They then heat up this tube, which cauterizes your vein and makes it seal up.
- Vein ligation: This is typically a surgical outpatient procedure. Your doctor ties off the vein at the top and then removes it entirely.
- Phlebectomy: Small skin punctures remove sections of the vein from the leg. The tiny pinpricks shut down the vein and only leave small scars.
All of these treatments have the same basic impact on your circulation. Once the varicose vein is shut down, your body reroutes blood flow. Your limbs are filled with a huge amount of both large and small blood vessels. Getting rid of a few varicose veins does not entirely halt blood flow. Instead, it will travel other routes and end up in the same place.
Treatment Does Help With Some Types of Poor Circulation
The circulatory changes caused by varicose vein treatment can be quite beneficial. Instead of slowing down and pooling in damaged veins, your body can route blood through healthy veins at a proper rate. This fixes quite a few of the symptoms of varicose veins and poor circulation.
In addition to no longer having visible veins, many patients also report that they feel more comfortable after surgery. Itching and burning around the vein itself is far less likely. People are also less likely to feel throbbing, cramping, and pain in their legs. This happens because blood can send oxygen to all the tissues in your legs instead of getting backed up in a broken, varicose vein.
Typically, your circulation will be better following varicose vein treatment. Even if you don’t notice any drastic changes, there will be at least some slight improvements. Much like shutting down a broken road can stop a traffic jam, varicose vein treatment stops blood from getting stuck in broken veins. This can make treatment very worthwhile. Since it enhances circulation, it can keep more varicose veins from developing.
Treatment Cannot Address All Causes of Poor Circulation
Keep in mind that varicose vein treatment cannot automatically cure all circulation issues. It does help to reroute blood flow away from damaged veins, so you will have some small improvements in that part of your body. However, it cannot address system-wide circulation problems.
Poor circulation is a complex health problem that is usually caused by a combination of different factors. Some unavoidable factors like ageing and genetics can cause circulation problems. You can also develop poor circulation due to things like lack of exercise, smoking, being obese, or spending too much time sitting.
Varicose vein treatment cannot overcome all of these causes of poor circulation. Even if blood flow is moving a little better in your legs after treatment, you still might have poor circulation in your arms, chest, or other areas. Furthermore, if you are still doing all of the things that caused poor circulation in the first place, the rest of your untreated veins will still be struggling. You may find that you develop more varicose veins over time if you ignore your health.
How to Get Started on Improving Your Circulation
Fixing poor circulation requires a multi-faceted approach. You may need to try a combination of both lifestyle changes and medical procedures. Typically, your doctor will recommend things like:
- Getting more exercise
- Eating a diet rich in nutrients and low in salt
- Wearing compression stockings
- Reducing alcohol and tobacco use
- Losing weight
Your vascular consultant may also suggest tests that can help them further pinpoint the cause of your poor circulation. In some cases, medications, such as statins or blood thinners, help to enhance circulation. Other patients may need treatments to help improve blood flow. Some options, like angioplasty or thrombus removal, involve working on the arteries and veins deep within your body. Meanwhile, treatments like varicose vein removal are often less-invasive and easier to recover from.
Ultimately, managing poor circulation and varicose veins can take some time. However, the right treatments make the whole process a lot easier. When you take steps to address circulation issues and varicose veins, you can reduce discomfort and boost your own confidence.
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