Holiday shopping, traveling, preparing and partying can take a toll on your legs, contributing to varicose veins.
Nothing wrecks a party dress like bulging, blue varicose veins. Make sure your legs are ready for the coming holiday season with a visit to Jacksonville’s St. Johns Vein Center and a revamped health regimen.
While our friends to the north are already digging their snow shovels out of storage and shopping for the most fashionable parkas in preparation for the wintry holiday season, we here in Northeast Florida are still donning tank tops and shorts and toting our kids’ sand shovels to the beach. Of course, it does get cold – eventually. Even in the Sunshine State, temperatures can dip into the 20s in the dead of winter. Still, our notoriously fluctuating temps mean it’s not at all uncommon to rock sparkly, short-skirted ensembles at parties throughout the holiday season.
Many who suffer varicose veins delay treatment, especially during busy times like the holidays, believing that surgery is the only way to get back a smooth look to their legs. Not so, says Jacksonville vein specialist Dr. James St. George. He specializes in highly effective, non-invasive varicose vein treatments like endovenous ablation and sclerotherapy. Endovenous ablation uses heat energy to shut down a diseased vein, and sclerotherapy involves injecting a liquid or foam solution into an affected vein to close and shrink it. Each of these treatments requires minimal downtime and provides fast results.
To maintain your smooth new look and help ward off further developing varicose veins, it’s important to adopt a healthy, active lifestyle, exercising regularly, eating a high-fiber, low-sugar/salt diet and nixing harmful habits like smoking. Plus, all those moves will give you a great head start on your New Year’s resolutions.
Start now to prepare your legs for the holiday season. Call 877-640-VEIN (8346) and schedule a consultation at Jacksonville’s St. Johns Vein Center today.
Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy can be minimized if you following a few healthy tips.
Pregnancy is a time filled with elation and, truth be told, a bit of trepidation, too – with good reason. Your body changes in so many ways that it can be a little overwhelming, particularly to first-time expectant moms. One change that tends to take women by surprise is the development of varicose veins in the legs, and pelvic and labial veins. It’s a not-so-welcome fact of life for upwards of 50 percent of pregnant women. Luckily, there are ways to manage and possibly minimize your varicose veins.
The veins’ job is to pump blood from your extremities back up to your heart – a task that gets tough during pregnancy for several reasons. First, during pregnancy your body produces a significant amount of extra blood, which is used in the development of the placenta to help your baby grow. Studies show the amount of blood in a woman’s body increases by 40 to 45 percent during her pregnancy. Non-pregnant women typically have about 100 milliliters of blood per minute flowing through the uterine artery. By just the sixth week of pregnancy, that amount increases to 120 ml, and by the third trimester, blood flow hits 350 ml per minute.
All that extra blood adds to the burden placed on your veins. Meanwhile, your growing uterus places pressure on your inferior vena cava (the large vein on the right side of your body), in turn creating even more pressure in your leg veins. And a boost in your progesterone levels causes the walls of your blood vessels to relax. Each of these changes contributes to the development of varicose, pelvic and labial veins. They’re increasingly common in women who have had multiple pregnancies, carry twins or higher multiples, are overweight or stand for long periods of time.
To help minimize varicose veins in your legs during pregnancy, St. Johns Vein Clinic founder Dr. James St. George offers these tips:
- Exercise daily. Just a quick walk around the block can help keep your blood pumping.
- Don’t go overboard with “eating for two.” Keep within the recommended weight range for your stage of pregnancy.
- Elevate your feet and legs whenever possible. Rest them on a stool or box when you’re sitting, and on a pillow while lying down.
- Don’t cross your legs or ankles when sitting.
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods. If either is a must, be sure to take breaks to move around.
- Sleep on your left side. Wedge a pillow behind your back to keep yourself tilted to the left and elevate your feet with a pillow. This helps relieve the vena cava of the weight of the uterus, thus decreasing pressure on the veins in your legs and feet.
- Wear graduated-compression stockings available from medical supply stores and pharmacies. They’re tight at the ankle and get looser as they go up the leg, making it easier for blood to flow back up toward your heart and limiting swelling.
The good news is that varicose veins typically improve within three to four months after giving birth, though it can take longer in some cases, particularly after multiple pregnancies. If your condition doesn’t improve, consult your vein specialist to find out when it’s safe to undergo varicose vein treatments like endovenous ablation or sclerotherapy. Call 877-640-VEIN (8346) to schedule a consultation at Jacksonville’s St. Johns Vein Clinic.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle early on can help you and your kids avoid developing varicose veins.
Varicose veins are widely considered a condition that comes only with aging. Not so, says Jacksonville vein specialist Dr. James St. George, founder of the St. Johns Vein Center. While aging is a major factor in a high percentage of patients suffering the condition, it’s not the only factor. And specialists nationwide are reporting a steady rise in younger clients, including children and teenagers, seeking treatment for venous disorders.
Several possible reasons exist for early onset varicose veins, including heredity, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, pregnancy, and even clothing choices.
- Heredity: Having just one parent or sibling who has suffered varicose veins or other venous disorder increases your risk of developing varicose veins by 50-70 percent. If both of your parents had varicose veins, your chance of developing is almost 100%.
- Obesity: Carrying extra pounds is a top cause of varicose veins, no matter your age. In 2010, more than one third of American children and adolescents were overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents.
- Lack of exercise: Speaking of extra pounds, studies show that only about 38 percent of teens get enough exercise. The other 62 percent are setting themselves up for a sedentary life and all the problems that come with it – including varicose veins.
- Smoking: Toxic chemicals in cigarettes can do serious damage to your veins, causing varicose veins and potentially a more serious condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which is blood clots. Yet, 45.3 million American adults smoke daily and 90 percent of them picked up the habit before age 21.
- Pregnancy: The high levels of progesterone hormone, added weight, and the significant amount of extra blood that a woman’s body creates when she’s pregnant frequently causes varicose veins. In fact at least half of women expecting a baby, even very young women, develop them.
- Tight clothing: Clothing that’s tight around the waste, upper thighs and legs can restrict normal blood flow, contributing to varicose veins.
It’s never too early to adopt the healthy nutrition; exercise and lifestyle choices that will help avoid or significantly delay the development of venous disorders – even if you have a family history of vein conditions. If you are a young adult with spider or varicose veins, or if you suspect your child or teen may have them, call 877-640-VEIN (8346) or visit the St. Johns Vein Center website to schedule a consultation.
Nervous about getting those leg ulcers or varicose veins treated? Don’t be, says Jacksonville’s St. Johns Vein Center.
Varicose veins are a lot more than unattractive and painful; left untreated, they can cause much more serious problems that can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Untreated varicose veins may lead to venous leg ulcers, or sores that will not heal. How do they develop? When varicose veins occur, the bulges they cause put pressure on the skin, causing it to become weaker and begin to break down. In some people, eczema can occur in these areas, causing itching and redness and repeatedly scratching these areas can cause sores to develop. But even in men and women who don’t have varicose vein-related eczema, venous ulcers can still occur as skin continues to weaken and break down over time.
Venous leg ulcers are often very slow to heal, which leaves them open to infection. In addition to causing tissue in the immediate area to die (become necrotic), infections can also spread to the underlying bone or travel to the blood stream. In extreme cases, the leg or a portion of the leg may be lost or large portions of skin may need to be removed, resulting in the need for skin grafts. What’s more, because they’re painful, leg ulcers can also cause people to restrict their movement, which may lead to blood clot in the leg. Lack of mobility can also cause feelings of depression and isolation to develop, which can cause immune systems to weaken and increase the risk for infection.
Ulcers can be treated and heal, but unless the underlying causes — the varicose veins — are treated, ulcers will likely recur. Many people mistakenly believe varicose vein treatment is invasive and requires a prolonged period of recovery, but in fact, the techniques Dr. St. George uses are simple, straightforward, safe, and recovery is nearly immediate. If you have varicose veins or leg ulcers, call 877-640-VEIN (8346) today to schedule a consultation at St. Johns Vein Center.
They have similar lifestyles, but one is more apt than the other to develop varicose veins.
When it comes to varicose veins, multiple studies have shown that women tend to be at higher risk than men for developing the bulging, purplish, often painful vessels, and the reason may well be due to the hormone progesterone. Progesterone is produced by men as well as women, but levels of the hormone are much higher in women. In a 2009 study of pregnant women, researchers found that progesterone levels were much higher among women with varicose veins compared to women who had lower levels of the hormone.
A separate study also looked at the effect of progesterone on the great saphenous veins, large leg veins that often become enlarged in men and women with smaller varicose veins and spider veins, and found that these veins have receptors for progesterone that make them more sensitive to the effects of the hormone.
So how are progesterone levels and varicose veins related? In addition to contributing to the regulation of menstrual cycles and the maintenance of several organs, progesterone also causes blood vessel walls to relax. Scientists believe that when these walls relax, the tiny valves within the vessels also relax and the pressure exerted by blood as it’s flowing pushes out on the sides of the vessels, making them weaker. Since women have considerably higher levels of progesterone than men — in fact, in women progesterone is one of the primary sex hormones — researchers believe this is at least one reason why women tend to develop more varicose veins than men.
Regardless of gender, though, varicose veins can cause pain, discomfort and a feeling of fatigue and heaviness where they occur. Left untreated, varicose veins can cause much more serious problems to occur. Dr. George uses state-of-the-art techniques that make varicose vein treatment faster and safer than ever before. If you have varicose veins, call 877-640-VEIN (8346) today to schedule a consultation.
Varicose veins could be the culprit of eczema and other skin conditions.
Men and women who have varicose veins in their legs often develop dry, itchy, red patches around the impacted areas that are difficult if not impossible to resolve with normal moisturizing lotions. The cause of those red sometimes scaly spots is very likely eczema which can occur fairly commonly with varicose veins.
Varicose veins form when the tiny valves inside veins stop working properly. Under normal conditions, these valves help ensure blood flows in the proper direction. But when they stop working or begin working inefficiently, blood flow becomes sluggish, and blood can backup and form pools that cause veins to bulge and turn purple. As they become swollen, these varicose veins put pressure on the surrounding skin, often damaging it and causing eczema or other skin conditions.
Commonly called varicose eczema, venous eczema or gravitational eczema, the condition is a relatively minor side effect of varicose veins and in its early stages, it can be treated topically to provide some relief for itching and redness. In some cases, wearing compression stockings can offer some relief if they are worn every day. But even with these approaches, over time varicose eczema can cause the skin to break down further, eventually causing sores to form and those can be slow to heal. To truly treat varicose eczema, the varicose veins that are causing the eczema need to be treated.
Studies show skin problems associated with varicose veins are more common in women than in men, and they also tend to become more common as we age. Today’s varicose vein treatments provide quick and effective relief from the pain and discomfort of varicose veins and their side effects. Dr. St. George specializes in techniques that provide superior results while also helping to speed recovery so patients have less down time. Learn more about varicose veins and their side effects by calling 877-640-VEIN (8346) today to schedule a consultation with the St. Johns Vein Center.
That chronic pelvic pain could be caused by varicose veins.
Pelvic pain will afflict one third of all women at some stage of their lives. Frequently, the underlying cause of pelvic pain is pelvic congestion caused by varicose veins in the pelvic region. This condition is quite similar to varicose veins found in the legs. The pelvic pain that is achy and dull may be accompanied by an irritable bladder, unusual menstrual bleeding, and a discharge from the vagina.
In many cases, varicose veins causing pelvic vein congestion can be traced back to physiological changes that happen during and following pregnancy. For example, many women undergo significant weight changes and severe fluid retention that can be a factor in damaging or disrupting the role of veins in the pelvic region.
Sometimes pregnancy can alter the physiological structure of veins in the pelvic region. Since pregnancy is an emotional and physical challenge to most women, there are often observable effects on systemic functions throughout a woman’s body. Changes in libido, urinary function, digestive and neurological function and other effects might be the cause of weakened or damaged nerves and pelvic veins creating a vulnerability to pelvic congestion.
Hormonal changes may also play a role in pelvic congestion. For instance, increased levels of estrogen have been seen in weakened vein walls. These fragile vein walls are heavily influenced by swelling and stretching that is known to cause to pelvic vein congestion. Only an experienced vein specialist can determine the most effective course of treatment to chronic pelvic pain. Call the St. Johns Vein Center at 877-640-VEIN (8346) and schedule a consultation with Dr. James St. George today.
That pain you’re feeling could be pelvic congestion syndrome.
If you’re a woman who’s been experiencing pelvic pain for several months and a Pap smear has ruled out the possibility of cancer, you could be experiencing a very common condition called chronic pelvic congestion. In this condition, tiny varicose veins develop inside the pelvis, often near the ovaries. Just as those pesky varicose veins in your legs can cause pain and discomfort, when veins in the pelvis begin to malfunction, usually due to age, weight gain, or pregnancy, they can also cause sensations of aching and pain.
About one out of every three women will develop pelvic congestion syndrome during their lives, but because the vessels that are affected are located inside the body, sometimes the diagnosis can be missed. Women who suffer from the condition may also have varicose veins in the buttock, thigh or vaginal areas, and they may also find their pain increases when sitting or standing. Once diagnosis is made, treatment of chronic pelvic congestion involves a relatively simple and straightforward noninvasive procedure that can be performed without surgery by using a vein catheter.
To diagnose the presence of pelvic congestion, veins are catheterized and a dye is injected to allow the physician to see if the veins are varicose. This procedure is called a venogram. If varicose veins are present, the vessels will be closed off using tiny coils, plugs or other agents to block the flow of blood. Before you undergo the procedure, your doctor will provide intravenous sedation as well as local anesthesia to keep you comfortable.
After your procedure, you may experience discomfort for two or three days as your blood vessels heal. During that time, your doctor will prescribe pain medication or you may find relief from over-the-counter pain medications. Once healing is complete, about 80% of women who undergo the procedure report total (or nearly total) relief from their pelvic pain.
If you’ve been experiencing chronic pelvic pain, call 877-640-VEIN (8346) today and schedule a consultation.
Varicose veins are largely an inherited trait, but a healthy lifestyle and proper treatment can help you manage symptoms.
If you suffer from painful and unsightly varicose veins, no doubt you’re looking for a permanent cure. Unfortunately, a permanent cure for spider and varicose veins has proven elusive for venous insufficiency patients and vein specialists. But several highly effective treatment options exist, and adherence to a few healthy lifestyle choices can help keep recurrences at bay.
Vein disease is a largely inherited condition that is both chronic and progressive. As we age, veins that once were normal degenerate or weaken, allowing blood that it can no longer support to flow backward, pooling in the veins and causing them bulge. Treatments like sclerotherapy and endovenous ablation can treat or eliminate diseased veins only as they surface. Thus, all varicose vein treatments are considered palliative, which means they can relieve, but not cure conditions.
Varicose and spider vein treatment can vastly improve the appearance and alleviate the pain of diseased veins. They also can slow down vein disease’s progression, lengthening the intervals of time between necessary sessions. Combined with healthy lifestyle choices, treatment can help ensure your legs look and feel great for extended periods of time. These lifestyle choices include high-fiber, low sugar diets; plenty of water and exercise; nixing your smoking and alcohol habits; and raising your feet above your heart level when you sleep or rest.
Only an experienced vein specialist can determine the most effective course of treatment for your spider and varicose veins. Call 877-640-VEIN (8346) and schedule a consultation with the St. Johns Vein Center’s Dr. James St. George today.
A detail from Eber’s Papyrus, which may detail the first first documented treatment of venous disease.
Varicose veins likely have been around since the first human walked the earth, but the earliest known historical documentation of the condition showed up in the year 1550 BC in the papyrus scrolls of ancient physician Ebers. And the first documented treatment of venous disease was found in the historical annals 400 BC.
Mind you that Eber’s Papyrus is chock full of incantations designed to turn away disease-bearing demons along with 877 prescriptions and that the original documented treatments of varicose veins were in the form of offerings to the gods. But it wasn’t long before a more practical approach emerged. Around 460, Hippocrates, widely considered the father of western medicine, wrote of introducing “a slender instrument of iron” through skin punctures and into the veins to induce thrombosis (a blood clot inside a blood vessel that obstructs blood flow). Historians believe this concept of inserting a foreign substance into a vein may be the precursor to modern day sclerotherapy.
Consider the Greek origins of the word parts:
- Sklerosis: A hardening of a tissue or part
- Therapeia: Treatment of disease or disorder as by some remedial or restorative process
Sclerotherapy involves injecting a liquid or foam medication, called a sclerosant, into the vein. The sclerosant is formulated to harden the vein walls, causing them to shrink, collapse and ultimately fade away. Sclerosants can be liquid or foam. The technology continued to advance with the development of syringes in the 17th and 18th centuries, and of ultrasound in the 1970s.
Today, sclerotherapy is a highly advanced, minimally-invasive option for treating spider veins and some varicose veins. To find out if it’s right for you, call 877-640-VEIN (8346) and schedule a consultation with Jacksonville’s St. Johns Vein Center today.