Varicose Vein Myths

Doctors discussing Myths About Varicose Veins

Reports of varicose veins can be found in medical journals dating back as far as the Roman Empire. Over the last two millennia people have come up with some pretty crazy ideas about veins. These vary from what causes them, what they tell you about yourself and how to treat them.

Clearly, nobody wants to have dark-purple varicose veins bulging from their thighs, legs or ankles. Nevertheless, around 50% of adults do and they just keep getting more prevalent as we age.

While most of the dubious wives tales have fallen to the wayside, there are still some common misconceptions out there. Let’s examine the 4 most persistent myths.

Myth #1: Varicose Veins are Caused by Crossing Your Legs.

Women's crossed legs after varicose vein treatment

While this might seem to make sense to someone with a basic understanding of varicose veins, it isn’t true. Varicose veins occur when blood gets trapped in a vein causing internal pressure to build; however the external pressure exerted on the veins when you cross your legs is minimal. Similarly, wearing tight shoes or tight pants have very little impact on bad veins.

Crossing your legs and wearing tight clothing can aggravate varicose veins if you already have them. However, it is not the cause. The most likely cause of varicose veins are defective valves or weakened walls in the vein. These cause internal pressure, which works very differently than external pressure. When blood cannot make its way back to the heart, it will pool in areas of the veins, causing them to swell. Crossing your legs or wearing restrictive clothing does not pinch the vein.

Myth #2: Surgery Is The Only Treatment Option For Varicose Veins

Surgery isn’t the only option to get rid of varicose veins since there are many home remedies and medications that can relieve varicose veins.

  • Varicose Veins can be treated with options like compression stockings. These are special type of clothes that will apply pressure on your veins to reduce their size and inflammation.
  • Another medical option for varicose veins is sclerotherapy. This is a non-surgical effective procedure with less risks than surgery.

Myth #3: Varicose Veins are Not Very Dangerous

Varicose veins are something you should never ignore. Many people think they are only a cosmetic problem.

This is not true.

If ignored for too long, varicose veins may start causing you pain and sometimes this pain can be unbearable.

Varicose veins can progress to cause the following symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Blood clots
  • Discomfort, pain, heaviness, and aching in the legs
  • Change in skin color
  • Increased chance of tissue injury with minor trauma
  • Increased possibility of severe bleeding with minor skin injury like shaving or a small bump

Myth #4: Only Elderly People Have Varicose Veins

While the likelihood of having varicose veins increases with age, they are very common in adult men and women.

There’s an increased potential of having varicose veins if you:

  • are a smoker
  • stand for long periods
  • are pregnant
  • are overweight
  • have had a previous circulation issue
  • have a family history of varicose veins