With the temperatures rising and the winter days behind us, it's time to change your wardrobe from trousers and choose to wear shorts and sundresses. However for those affected by varicose veins the decision to bare their legs can be a little harder. Especially for women who maybe self conscious of the appearance of veins.

Varicose veins affect up to 50% of the population, with a small percentage suffering from more advanced venous disease. Varicose and spider veins appear on the legs, ankles and feet they can be caused by a variety of conditions. Most commonly they are hereditary but lifestyle being overweight or conversely exercise, standing or sitting for long periods of time can also contribute to them appearing earlier, as can hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause. If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to leg ulcers and other serious problems such as swollen legs, pain and an increased risk of blood clots.

Spring is a great time to seek treatment for varicose veins as there is plenty of recovery time before the summer months set in. Also it is more comfortable to wear compression stockings when the weather is a bit milder although our vein institute is still very busy in the summer.

Treatment usually consists of EndoVenous Laser Therapy and/or Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy, depending on the severity of the disease, which is determined through an ultrasound during the initial consultation. Patients that undergo varicose vein treatment can see results within weeks of the procedure and are getting back to their normal, active lifestyle straightaway.

AuthorNicholas Kemp
CategoriesVaricose Veins

Queenslanders love summer, it's what we're famous for, but for those living with varicose veins or venous insufficiency the sunny warm months can be three months of nightmares by bringing extra discomfort or self consciousness. Varicose veins can prevent us from enjoying the months when bare legs and trips to the beach are common. Here’s what you need to know about varicose veins during the summer.

Excessive heat expands veins

Frequent exposure to high temperatures can dilate the veins, allowing for more blood to pool, thus causing them to expand or bulge, placing more stress on valves in the veins. Staying cool is the best way to prevent this from happening. Cooling exercises (like swimming or indoor yoga) can help promote blood circulation without exposure to excessive heat.

The sun can agitate varicose veins

While the sun may not cause varicose or spider veins, it can certainly exacerbate them. UV rays weaken the skin’s upper layers, depleting moisture. As a result, the skin can lose some elasticity or ability to move – which may aggravate weak veins. If you have varicose vein symptoms, avoid excessive exposure to the sun or tanning beds, wear sunscreen, and stay hydrated!

Don’t let venus problems derail your ruin plans—follow these tips for a happy, healthy, vein-pain-free summer.

  • Stay Cool. If you have vein problems of any kind, it’s a good idea to keep your body as cool as possible during the summer. Make sure you wear clothes that aren't going to have you burning up in the summer heat and think about hitting the water to cool down if you plan to be outside for a prolonged period of time.

  • Exercise to keep the blood circulating. In addition to offering great respite from the summer heat, swimming is one of the best ways to promote normal circulation and keep blood vessels from dilating. A low-impact exercise that saves you joint and leg muscle pain while increasing your heart rate, swimming pumps the muscles of the lower and upper body to improve circulation to the heart and lungs. Not near a pool or the beach? Keep moving by taking an evening walk around our beautiful city - the walkways along the river and around Kangaroo Point and the Story Bridge are really enjoyable this time of year.

  • Keep hydrated! Keeping your body properly hydrated will help it effectively circulate blood, heal injuries faster and allow for healthier skin. Anyone with vein problems should pay close attention to their hydration levels during the summer, when the heat can easily dry anyone out. If you plan on being outside, take a water bottle everywhere.

  • Flatten out for summer! Opt for summery flats and sandals rather than high heels that keep your calf muscles from effectively pumping blood out of the leg. There’s a major beauty and fitness plus to this one – wearing lower heels makes your calves work a little harder, keeping them curvy and strong!

  • Remember the basics. We've been hearing it for years, but always remember to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP - especially in the summer months! Slather on the sun block and high SPF moisturisers, not just on your legs, but also on your face and nose, where thinner skin is more prone to developing spider veins, and cover up or seek shade if you’ll be outside for long periods of time.

AuthorNicholas Kemp

A significant proportion of patients present at our clinic because they are more concerned about the appearance of surface veins on their legs rather than symptomatic problems such as aching or swelling in their legs. And it is not just ladies – with Queensland’s warmer weather many men are also choosing to treat their unsightly leg veins for cosmetic reasons. Here are my top tips for those considering cosmetic vein treatment:

The first thing to know is that unsightly surface veins usually result from impaired blood flow in veins lying beneath the skin which are failing in their purpose to clear the blood out of the skin.  Careful examination of subsurface veins with Doppler Ultrasound to detect this kind of problem is essential because failure to detect and treat this kind of problem is likely to lead to disappointing results and also increase the risk of "Matting" - a complication which  aggravates the appearance of the surface veins. 

Secondly, be sure to notify your treating doctor of any medications that you might happen to take, including supplemental therapies.  Certain supplements such as Fishoil can sometimes interfere with the treatment and provoke "Matting".

Thirdly, compression stockings – no one likes to wear them but they do mean better results! 

Finally, you need to remember that cosmetic treatments of spider veins is never completely permanent as over time small new surface will grow and  may need continual maintenance. Following completion of your treatment plan your legs should look great. However in a few years time especially you might need a top up session. 

Dr Nick Kemp writes as part of the Expert Team with Style Magazine. You can pick up a copy of the September edition from multiple locations around Brisbane, The Gold Coast and Toowoomba.

AuthorNicholas Kemp