Manhattan Dermatology Specialists
  • MIDTOWN 56 W 45TH ST, STE 819 New York, NY 10036
  • UPPER EAST SIDE 983 PARK AVE, STE 1D1 New York, NY 10028
  • UNION SQUARE 55 W. 17TH ST STE 103 New York, NY 10011

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are the abnormally stretched and enlarged veins most commonly seen in your legs, although they can be found in other areas of your body as well. The cause of varicose veins is that your blood doesn’t flow properly and becomes backed up in the veins. It may be due to faulty vein valves or weak vein walls.

The difference between varicose veins and spider veins is usually a matter of size and depth. Varicose veins affect larger blood vessels and can develop deep in the tissue, whereas spider veins usually involve small, broken superficial vessels. Spider veins exist just below the surface of the skin on your face or legs.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins occur for many reasons. The more risk factors that apply to you, the more likely you’ll be stricken. Risk factors include:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Being older than 50
  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Weakened veins due to medical treatment or injury
  • Being female because of hormone changes during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause
  • Taking a hormone-based medication, such as birth control, anti-cancer, or postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy
  • Lengthy exposure to ultraviolet light
  • A sedentary lifestyle, which keeps blood from pumping efficiently to your extremities
  • A history of blood clots
  • Previous vein surgery

Varicose veins often occur during or after pregnancy because of hormone changes and the added pressure in the pelvic region. These can cause a persistent ache not initially recognized as varicose vein pain. Varicose veins during pregnancy sometimes correct themselves but oftentimes do not and worsen with time if untreated.

Varicose Vein Symptoms

Your cosmetic dermatologist can treat your veins, but you have to discuss your concerns. Symptoms can range from the unsightly to the very uncomfortable, such as:

  • The presence of large veins seen under the surface of your skin
  • Swelling of your ankles and feet
  • Painful or heavy feelings, throbbing or cramping in your legs
  • Itchy calves or ankles
  • Discoloration of the skin on the legs
  • Dermatitis, especially of your lower leg or ankle
  • Leg ulcers
★ ★ ★ ★ ★Dr. Bard is helpful, kind, and efficient, as is the staff. I’ve never waited long or had any issues with scheduling or follow-ups.

How to Prevent Varicose Veins

Natural varicose vein treatments and prevention are conservative measures to try first. For example:

  • Exercise to improve circulation; try walking, running, biking, rowing, and yoga.
  • Wear graduated compression stockings, tighter at your ankle, which encourage good circulation and discourage blood pooling
  • Elevate your legs on pillows for at least an hour after a long time of standing
  • Keep your legs uncrossed to reduce pressure on the veins in the back of your knees.
  • Lose weight to reduce pressure on varicose veins in your groin and legs
  • Eliminate tight clothing to reduce constriction
  • Take vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids, butcher’s broom, horse chestnut seed extract, and Gotu kola if your doctor agrees.
  • Get professional massages to relieve symptoms and improve circulation temporarily.
  • Stimulation of your muscles to tone and keep the vascular system in good condition

Varicose Vein Treatments

If left unattended, varicose veins can lead to blood clots. Your doctor for varicose veins has several options for varicose vein treatments when natural options haven’t helped, such as:

  • Sclerotherapy uses an irritant solution to treat smaller veins and spider veins. After this in-office treatment, your legs are wrapped in elastic bandaging to help heal and decrease swelling. You may need additional treatments in four to six weeks.
  • Laser treatments rely on applied light energy to specifically target vessels and make small varicose veins fade without cutting or injecting chemicals.
  • Endovenous ablation therapy (EVLT) or Endovenous radiofrequency ablation uses lasers or radio waves within the vein placed through a hollow needle. The energy and heat damage the vessel walls, causing them to collapse. This same-day surgery is painless and minimally invasive.
  • Endoscopic vein surgery requires placing a camera into a vein in a small tube. A surgical device at the end of the camera closes the vein. This more extensive varicose vein surgery is used for severe cases involving skin ulcers. After varicose vein surgery, you return to normal activities within a few weeks.
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy involves your dermatologist making small incisions in your skin to remove small varicose veins close to the surface of your skin. You’re able to go home the same day.
  • Vein stripping and ligation procedures are used for the most severe cases of painful varicose veins. It involves tying them shut for varicose vein removal while you’re under general anesthetic. Recovery time is one to four weeks.

Your varicose vein center in New York City helps you get back to a pain-free, active lifestyle. Treatment for varicose veins reduces the unsightly appearance and the painful symptoms that sometimes accompany them. Varicose vein treatment prevents their return and keeps you healthy.

Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult dermatologist NYC about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board-certified dermatology doctor or pediatric dermatologist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Updated on Mar 7, 2023 by Dr. Susan Bard (Dermatologist), Manhattan Dermatology Specialists Locations: Manhattan Dermatology (Upper East Side) 983 Park Ave, Ste 1D1, NY 10028
(212) 427-8750
Manhattan Dermatology (Midtown) 56 W 45th St, Ste 819, NY 10036
(212) 889-2402
Manhattan Dermatology (Union Square) 55 W 17th St, Ste 103, NY 10011
(212) 378-9984
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY The information on this website is to provide general information. The information on this website does NOT reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a physician for a consultation and examination regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs you may be having. An accurate diagnosis and treatment plan should only be made by your physician in order to exclude a serious condition.
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