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varicose veins - what should I do about them?

(11 Posts)
judetheobscure Wed 16-Apr-03 14:22:57

I've had varicose veins from my early 20s. I had an operation to "remove" one when I was about 25; since then I believe it has grown back. Up until now they have never been any trouble, except when pregnant. For each pregnancy I wore maximum support compression stockings (very sexy and most uncomfortable for my two September babies). Then immediately post-birth suffered a phlebitis (inflamed red slightly sore patch) on leg, which midwives and doctors seemed very worried about and treated with antibiotics. I've not been trouble by them since although they look revolting and I keep them covered wherever possible.

However, today they have started bothering me. So I'm thinking about what I should do. I do hope to have one more baby, so should I leave an operation until after that; or is it better to get it done now. What is the best operation? My first op turned out to be a "tie" rather than a "strip". But I've also heard of laser? treatment and sclerotherapy. What are the advantages/disadventages of each? Has anyone else been through these? And how much do the treatments cost if you go private?

Sorry to be asking so many questions and very appreciative of any advice you can give.

judetheobscure Wed 16-Apr-03 20:12:02

Are varicose veins a taboo subject?

helenmc Wed 16-Apr-03 20:21:10

I'm interested too, as have vv and now after the twins lots of little thread veins.

suedonim Thu 17-Apr-03 05:53:05

I've no personal experience but a friend has been through this scenario. She had bad veins after two pregnancies and decided to see about having them removed. I think, but can't be sure, that she had them stripped. Each leg was done separately, as a day patient. She wasn't able to drive for a while after and had a bit of soreness but she said it well worth it. She went through the NHS and the whole process from seeing her GP to full recovery was less than 6mths - she was very impressed! She's since had another baby but we've both moved and lost touch so I don't know how she has fared since.HTH

judetheobscure Thu 17-Apr-03 14:23:59

Hmmm - what concerns me is whether I would be foolish to get pregnant within less than a year say of having an operation like this.
Also a little worried about them growing back - I suppose it depends how much they strip. The tie certainly didn't seem to work for me.

wiltshiresurgeon Thu 17-Apr-03 18:17:08

There is little or no evidence that women with varicose veins should wait until they have "completed" their families before doing something about their veins. Ask your doctor to send you to a vascular surgeon with an interest in varicose veins.

David Hocken
Vascular Surgeon
Great Western Hospital
Swindon

judetheobscure Thu 17-Apr-03 18:31:16

Great, thanks for the advice. Wish I lived in Swindon

judetheobscure Thu 17-Apr-03 18:33:39

helenmc - I have large purple patches of trhead veins too - hopefully I could get them done at the same time.

NQWWW Tue 22-Apr-03 14:59:59

I have had vvs from an early age too - had one (fairly small) injected in my early 20s, which left a hard discoloured patch on my skin - looked like a bad bruise, about an inch across. This lasted for about 6 years. I wouldn't do that again. My sister had hers stripped - she found it a horrendous experience, and has said she wouldn't go through it again either. Sure enough, for both of us other veins have appeared in other places.

I bought a book on vvs, and have been following this advice for the past 10 years or so, and I really think its helped considerably slow down the development of my vvs compared with other members of my family:

Lie down with your legs raised above the level of your heart for at least 20 mins every day - suported by cushions so you don't put strain on your knees.
Don't spend long periods standing, walk regularly and don't get overweight.
Every day after your bath or shower, shower your legs for a few minutes with cold water - excellent for the circulation, and tho its difficult at first it does get easier over time - and summer is an excellent time to start.
Don't wear socks with elasticated tops or "stay-up" stockings.

judetheobscure Tue 22-Apr-03 23:31:21

NQWWW - was the injection what's called sclerotherapy - cos I'm running out of options if the sclerotherapy and the stripping are not worth it and the tie I had done the vv just came back.

I'm quite good at looking after mine - I always prop my legs up when I'm sitting for more than a few minutes, although admittedly not above heart level - will see if I can rig something up- wouldn't just above hip level be OK? Will try the cold showers. I do lots of exercise and I'm not overweight. But I do feel sorry for everyone who has to see my legs when they're uncovered.

NQWWW Mon 28-Apr-03 13:57:13

I think it was, tho its hard to remember as it was so long ago. Might be worth discussing with your gp/consultant as things may have changed in the past few years.

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