June 10, 2014, Men and women with vein issues suffer the most in the summer months, both physically and emotionally. Each summer, especially here in Minnesota, most people can’t wait to get into their swimsuits, skirts and shorts for special times of ” fun in the sun.”
Dr. Pal offers some timely tips for patients to relieve symptoms from varicose veins and other vein problems:
- Stay as cool as possible. Heat dilates veins and causes pain and other symptoms to worsen.
- Swim and walk. Both of these exercises pump the calf muscles and improve circulation.
- Wear graduated compression stockings. Wearing these during the day will keep legs feeling good even at the end of day.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
- Elevate the legs when possible
- Schedule an evaluation with a qualified vein specialist.
As we have discussed, veins carry blood from the legs and arms back to the heart. When leg vein valves become damaged, or vein walls widen, blood “leaks” back into the legs and creates a “pooling” effect. To better understand how varicose veins happen, here’s a quick review of how veins work.
During warm summer months, veins dilate due to the heat. The warmer temperatures can expand the veins, resulting in a “leaky vein” to leak even more which causes an increase in achiness or tenderness.
In addition to physical pain or discomfort, people with vein problems go to great lengths to keep their legs covered, making it difficult to enjoy the summer months. Embarrassment about veins leads to unease in social situations and even a diminished quality of life.
For many of our patients with vein problems, showing their legs in public is an end goal. Everyday throughout the year, Dr. Pal and the Minnesota Vein Center staff, hear the heartbreaking stories of the effort patients put into concealing their legs and how this affects their lives. These feelings should not be ignored, especially when there are treatments available.
Treatments for venous disorders and insufficiency are the same in summer as the rest of the year. At Minnesota Vein Center treatments include: superficial sclerotherapy for tiny veins; ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy or phlebectomy for larger tributary veins; and endovenous ablation (EVLA or EVRF) for the veins in between, known as saphenous veins. Patient are then able to return to outdoor activities soon after these procedures. Suncreen is often recommended to some patients requiring chemical ablation or sclerotherapy for several months.