Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Varicose vein treatment in the summer, Part 1

Mainers love their state in the summer— and so, it seems, does everyone else! Every year hundreds of people flock to Maine beaches and lakes for sailing, swimming and all manner of fun in the sun. But those with vein problems can be acutely affected in the summer, both physically and psychologically.

From a physiological perspective, most varicose veins worsen during the summer months because the heat dilates veins. Due to warmer temperatures, a “leaky” vein will leak even more, causing increased pain for people with existing vein problems.

For some people, just as bad as physical pain is the discomfort of feeling self-conscious about wearing shorts, skirts or swimsuits because of unsightly leg veins. That kind of unease shouldn’t be ignored, especially when there are treatments available.

The treatments for venous insufficiency are the same in summer as the rest of the year, though the post-procedure considerations may be different. Minimally invasive treatments include: light-assisted sclerotherapy for small veins; ultrasound-guided therapy for larger veins; and endovenous laser ablations (EVLA) for the veins in between, known as junctional veins.

After treatment, patients who have undergone any type of sclerotherapy can go out in the sun almost immediately, although wearing sunblock for six months after any vein procedure is recommended, to decrease the possibility of hyperpigmentation.

Patients can usually swim twenty-four hours after any vein treatment. Generally, there will be some bruising at the site of the procedure, but the bruises are fairly small. There are also many affordable self-tanners and cosmetics that effectively cover up bruises— short-term options that are generally preferred over a bulging varicose vein.

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