Once superficial veins become varicosed as a result of incompetent / refluxing valves, and thereby causing reflux, the only definitive way to manage things is by removing the incompetent vein either by traditional (open) or endovenous (minimally invasive) surgery.
However, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms for those who do not wish to undergo surgery. You can leave varicose veins alone; many people have varicose veins for many years without almost any ill effect. The NHS websites indicate that most varicose veins require no treatment and varicose veins rarely cause complications.
The main approach in conservative (Non-Surgical) treatment is to reduce the high pressure of the blood in the veins by wearing compression stockings. This will help prevent your veins getting worse and relieve your symptoms. However, it leaves the primary cause of symptoms (i.e.; the varicose vein) untreated.
Medical compression hosiery are available in made to measure standards.
Exercising regularly causes the muscles in your thigh and calf to contract, which helps the blood move along the vein and up your leg. Walking is a good exercise to help the veins.
Sitting or standing for long periods of time puts extra pressure on your veins as the muscles are not contracting as much. Raising your feet when possible uses gravity to drain the blood out of the veins.
Losing excess weight reduces the work that your heart has to do which in turn reduces the pressure on your veins and arteries.
Look after your skin and prevent excessive dryness by using water-based creams such as E45. Only moisturise after washing and drying the skin.
Where possible, worried patients with varicose veins should seek the opinion of their general practitioner or vascular surgeon.
What are the benefits of surgery over Non-Surgical management?
The measures mentioned above may prevent progression of varicose veins. However, they do not treat the underlying condition and require a lifelong of adherence to the wearing of the compression stockings.
However, some patients would rather not have an operation and are quite happy wearing support stockings; equally even the minimally invasive endovenous surgery may not be appropriate for the very elderly or those with multiple medical problems.
However, the vast majority of patients with varicose veins are suitable candidates for one or other form of surgery. They will gain benefit from treatment of their veins, long lasting improvement of symptoms, and the prevention of possible skin ulceration.