dark lump on leg that may be symptom of phlebitisHave you noticed an area on your leg that’s dark with a lump? This is a common symptom of phlebitis, the inflammation of veins. It can cause blood clots called thrombophlebitis if left untreated.

 

Let’s go over what causes phlebitis so you can better understand how to treat it.

What Causes Phlebitis?

 

Phlebitis has many causes, but the most common are:

  • Local trauma or injury to the vein
  • Prolonged inactivity like long drives or plane rides
  • Insertion of intravenous catheters (IV) in hospitals
  • IV induced after surgery, especially orthopedic procedures
  • Prolonged immobility, as in hospitalized or bed-ridden patients
  • Varicose veins
  • Underlying cancers or clotting disorders
  • Removal of lymph nodes after mastectomies

Phlebitis can also occur in individuals whose blood tends to clot. This is often caused by circulatory issues.

How to Treat Phlebitis

 

A short-term condition of phlebitis will usually subside in 1-3 weeks. During this time, there are many methods you can use to treat phlebitis including simple at home treatments. Here are some things you can try:

  • Blood thinners to prevent clots from enlarging
  • Compression stockings
  • Warm or cold compresses
  • Elevating the legs for better blood flow
  • Over-the-counter drugs such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Indocin
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain and inflammation (prescribed by a doctor)

ways to find relief for phlebitis leg lump pain

There are a number of  preventive measures you can take to avoid phlebitis and thrombophlebitis. Staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and quitting smoking can all help.

Can Phlebitis Turn into Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

 

If left untreated, phlebitis can increase the risk of blood clots in deeper veins. The development of a serious blood clot is known as deep vein thrombosis.

 

One of the primary risks of DVT is a clot breaking free of the blood vessel wall. The clot can then travel through the body into the lungs. It can lodge in a pulmonary artery and block blood flow back to the heart. This situation can be life-threatening.

 

When phlebitis causes deep vein thrombosis, hospitalization is often recommended. Combine this with anti-blood clot or blood thinner medications and close monitoring.

Filed under: Varicose Veins, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , , , , , ,

Brown-stained legs magnified to show blood leaking out of veins just under the skinDo you have any concerns about your legs turning a reddish-brown color? This could be an indication that the veins in question are suffering from hemosiderin staining and potential problems with their health.

 

As we get older, it’s normal for our skin to thin, dry out, and lose elasticity. But it can be more concerning when you notice unusual changes in color and texture on your knees, legs, or ankles. If you notice a brown discoloration on the lower legs, it could point out a problem with your veins. For this reason alone, it’s important to understand why brown skin stains appear and what you can do to treat them.

What Is Hemosiderin Staining?

 

Hemosiderin staining occurs when red blood cells leak through the veins and iron or other byproducts are released. The brown stain shows up on the skin as a result of this symptom, which can happen for several reasons.

 

What Causes Hemosiderin Staining?

Chronic Vein Disease

 

In addition to its unsightly appearance, hemosiderin staining indicates an underlying health condition. The reddish-brown discoloration on the lower legs is caused by chronic venous disease–the abnormal function of veins.

 

When your veins can’t pump blood back up to the heart properly, it pools in your lower legs. Symptoms start with slight skin irritations and itchiness, then manifest varicose veins. Other vein disease symptoms that can lead to brown staining are:

  • High blood pressure – veins force blood through the veins and sometimes through the skin.
  • Vein ulcers – slow-healing or non-healing wounds.

 

As blood continues to pool in the veins, its cells break down and leak iron pigments into the skin. Over time, this shows up as brown patches or stains on the lower leg or ankle. When unaddressed, the stain will darken and eventually may turn black. At this point, these symptoms are unfortunately permanent even when vein disease is treated. BUT! If caught early enough, chronic venous disease can be controlled and hemosiderin staining will fade.

orange personified as a person with brown-red stains on her legs, shows how it is caused by sclerotherapy needle

Sclerotherapy Staining Side-Effect

 

Sclerotherapy is one of the treatment options for vein disease and varicose veins. It involves the injection of a substance known as a sclerosant into the affected veins. This makes the veins reduce in size.

 

In some cases, this treatment may leave the patient with brown skin discoloration as a result of hemosiderin (iron) deposits. This discoloration is usually transient and disappears in a couple of weeks; however, in some people, the stain ends up being permanent.

 

If you are considering sclerotherapy treatment, consider the following factors that are associated with the hemosiderin staining side effect:

  • Dark skin type
  • Sensitive skin
  • Older patients with fragile veins
  • Taking certain medication
  • Experience of the vein doctor

Treating the Condition, NOT the Symptom

 

Most patients will go to a dermatologist or primary care physician for the skin condition, not the underlying vein disease of hemosiderin staining. As a result, they may not get an accurate diagnosis.

 

If you have brown skin discoloration on the knees, lower legs, or ankles, make an appointment with a vein specialist as this could be early signs of vein disease…especially if accompanied by achy, heavy, and swollen legs.

 

Early treatment of your vein disease may help lighten the brown stains caused by hemosiderin staining, and even keep them from getting darker. Once diagnosed, the goal is to reroute the blood to healthier veins and fade unwanted veins, stains, and pains. The sooner you treat your vein condition, the better you’ll feel and the fewer complications you’ll experience.

Filed under: Varicose Veins, Vein Health, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , , , , , ,
Leg with varicose veins on the left, doctor showing an image of a rectumTwo conditions may come to mind when you think of painful, bulging veins:
 
Hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
 
While both conditions affect the veins, they affect different body parts and require different treatments.
 
Hemorrhoids and varicose veins are both caused by malfunctioning venous valves. When your veins don’t function properly, blood flows backward, resulting in enlarged, sometimes painful veins.
 
The good news is both conditions are common and treatable.
 

Signs & Causes of Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum area. They can be internal, inside the rectum, or external under the skin around the anus.
 
Symptoms
Symptoms of external hemorrhoids include pain, swelling, itching, and bleeding.
 
External hemorrhoids cause discomfort. Straining or irritation when having a bowel movement can cause some bleeding.
 
Causes
Common causes of hemorrhoids include:
  • Pregnancy
  • Straining during a bowel movement
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Overweight
  • Eating a low fiber diet

Are Hemorrhoids and Varicose Veins the Same?

Hemorrhoids and varicose veins have the same root cause but different treatments.
 
Treatment for hemorrhoids:
  • over-the-counter creams
  • pads containing witch hazel or numbing agents.
  • regular soaking in a warm bath
  • taking oral pain relievers to control inflammation.
Treatment for varicose veins:

Can You Use Hemorrhoids Cream on Varicose Veins?

The ingredients used in hemorrhoid creams are ineffective in treating varicose veins. It is best to have your veins checked out by a vein specialist.
 

When to Seek Medical Treatment

See a doctor for hemorrhoids when:
  • you are experiencing blood in your stool or rectal bleeding
  • your hemorrhoids are painful and not healing
See a doctor for varicose veins when:
  • you have a sudden increase in pain
  • you experience calf swelling
  • you develop leg sores, throbbing, fever, red/discolored skin,
  • your leg feels warm to the touch
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Paying for vein treatment
Getting rid of spider veins or varicose veins can seem like a daunting task. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, compression stockings, or non-invasive procedures.
 
Before you even consider making a doctor’s appointment, you may have a lot of questions like:
  • What treatments are available?
  • Does insurance cover it?
  • And of course, how much is it going to cost?
Let’s dive into pricing and insurance for spider veins and varicose vein treatment.

Common Vein Removal Treatments and Their Cost

How much it will cost to finally say goodbye to painful, unwanted veins for good?
 
Now, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer because different procedures have different costs. Let’s break down the price tags associated with each.
  • What is it? A common treatment for spider veins and small varicose veins. The vein is injected with a solution that breaks down the vein walls.
  • Does insurance cover it? No. It’s considered cosmetic.
  • How much does it cost? The average cost of a sclerotherapy treatment is about $350. The provider’s fee and geographic location will affect the cost.
  • What is it? Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) is a procedure used to treat varicose veins and patients with venous insufficiency. A catheter is inserted into the vein and delivers a high-frequency current to collapse it.
  • Does insurance cover it? Vein ablations for varicose veins are covered by most insurance plans. You will need to check your plan’s coverage as you may be responsible for a portion depending on your plan.
  • How much does it cost? The average cost of a vein ablation is about $1500-$2000 per vein out of pocket.

What Can Affect the Cost of Vein Procedures?

  • Medical versus Cosmetic: If you have a medical diagnosis of vein disease, your insurance may cover treatment. You still may be responsible for your copay or deductible depending on your plan. If it’s purely cosmetic, insurance will not cover it. 
  • The Number of Treatments: The reality is, you may need more than one treatment to get the best results. It can require up to four depending on the severity of your veins.

Insurance That May Cover Vein Removal Treatment

Medicare, most HMOs, and other major insurance plans will cover vein treatment if medically necessary. You may need to get prior authorization before the procedure. In most cases, your doctor’s office will get the necessary authorizations for you. Find out what insurance plans we take.
 

How to Identify Your Insurance Coverage

The best way to find out if vein treatment is covered by your insurance plan is to call. Give them detailed information about what treatment you need. You may need the provider’s information and procedure code, which you can get from the doctor’s office that is going to do the procedure.
 

What to Do if the Procedure Isn’t Covered

If your insurance does not cover the vein procedure, you may be able to pay out of pocket. You can also set up a payment plan with your doctor’s office or apply for Health Care financing through Care Credit.

Why Vein Procedures Are Worth It

Remember, paying for spider or varicose vein treatment is an investment in yourself. It continues to prove worthwhile to a growing number of our patients.
 
There will be no more leg pain or discomfort. You can get back to activities you love and show off your vein-free legs!
Filed under: Spider Veins, Varicose Veins, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , , ,
Varicose Vein Burst Illustration

While varicose veins cause aching pain and discomfort, they sometimes lead to more serious problems and can even burst when left untreated.This is a critical time to seek medical help and finally get treatment for your varicose veins. Because if a vein pops once, it may happen again.

Here, we explain why varicose veins burst and the next steps to take for a safe and healthy recovery.

What Makes a Varicose Vein Burst?

varicose vein can burst from increased pressure within the veins. This build-up of pressure causes the walls of the vein to stretch, making it weak and prone to sudden rupture. A ruptured varicose vein can bleed into tissues and through the skin’s surface, especially if the skin is thin.

What Are the Symptoms of a Burst Varicose Vein?

Internal Rupture

If a varicose vein ruptures, but the skin is not broken, symptoms include bruising, dizziness, or fainting. If you experience these symptoms, visit your vein care specialist or the nearest emergency room to avoid excessive blood loss and other complications.

External Rupture

If a varicose vein ruptures and the skin is broken, significant bleeding will occur. Since veins burst from excess pressure, the bleeding can be rapid and profuse. In this case, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately to prevent excessive blood loss.

What to do When a Varicose Vein Bursts?

If your varicose vein has burst:

  1. Elevate the leg of the affected area on a stack of pillows or up a wall. This will help reduce swelling and blood loss.
  2. Apply pressure on the bleeding site with a towel or cotton t-shirt. This will help slow or stop the bleeding while you seek medical attention.
  3. Visit your vein care specialist or the nearest emergency room as soon as possible, to avoid excessive blood loss.

Medical treatment of ruptured varicose veins involves ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. Patients need to undergo a complete evaluation of the lower extremity veins to check for the underlying cause of the rupture. We encourage you to seek treatment accordingly to prevent future ruptures.

Varicose Vein Burst Illustration

How Can I Prevent a Varicose Vein from Bursting?

The best way to prevent a varicose vein from bursting is to get vein treatment. Not only does treating varicose veins and venous insufficiency help with your overall health, but it can also help you avoid some serious potential long-term risks like a ruptured vein or a leg ulcer.

Treat Your Varicose Veins Today

If you or a loved one suffers from leg swelling, rashes, or ulcers, see a vein specialist as soon as you can to prevent a potential vein rupture.

If you don’t have symptoms but do have the risk factors for varicose veins, see a doctor. A simple ultrasound test will determine whether you have varicose veins or not.

Remember, untreated varicose veins can lead to serious health problems. Don’t wait. With your varicose veins treated, you’ll feel better — and you’ll live a longer, healthier life with fewer complications.

Filed under: Varicose VeinsTagged with: ,

Leg on left with varicose veins, leg on right with no varicose veinsIf you’ve noticed pesky veins showing up on your legs, you’re not alone. As we age, spider veins and varicose veins appear for two reasons:

1. Damaged skin

2. Aging vein valves

 

The sun ages and thins out the skin, causing it to break down and become more transparent. As this happens, we tend to see more of our veins and might want them removed.

But first, it’s important to know the difference between these types of veins so you can get the best treatment.

The Difference Between Varicose Veins & Spider Veins

Spider Veins

Spider veins have a web-like appearance and appear towards the surface of your skin. These surface veins supply blood to the skin and other superficial areas. They are small, twisted blood vessels and can be the color red, purple, or blue.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are large and deeper because they supply blood to muscle tissue. When they become visible, they’re more obvious and tend to pop out.

Causes of Spider Veins vs Varicose Veins?

Spider and varicose veins may look different, but they show up for the same reasons.

Our veins work to pump blood from the legs back to the heart. As we age the valves weaken, causing the blood to flow backward. This makes the blood collect in your veins and make your veins enlarged. All this, because the blood is not being pushed back to your heart.
Other factors that contribute to spider veins and varicose veins issues include:
  • Genetics
  • Hormones
  • Leg trauma
  • Not being active
  • Smoking
  • Weight Gain

Treating Varicose Veins vs Spider Veins

When it comes to removing your veins, there are several treatment options available. Be sure to seek vein treatment from a vein specialist. This ensures you get the correct procedure and rule out vein diseases like venous insufficiency.

How to Treat Spider Veins

Spider veins are treated with a procedure known as Sclerotherapy. It’s a common treatment performed in your doctor’s office. It takes about 15 – 30 minutes and you can return to normal activities the very next day.

Spider Veins Injections Illustration

 
A solution is injected into the veins that irritate the vein walls and causes them to stick together, clot and collapse. Your body will break them down and reabsorb them. Depending on how many veins you need treated, multiple treatments may be required to get desired results.
 
Regardless, the appearance of spider veins will fade over time.

How to Treat Varicose Veins

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a successful treatment for varicose veins. The procedure involves a catheter that is inserted into the varicose vein. Using a high-frequency alternating current, the vein spasms, and collapses. The body will absorb the dead tissue and start using a healthy vein to pump blood from the legs to the heart.

Varicose Vein Heat Injection Illustration

 
RFA is a non-invasive outpatient procedure done in the doctor’s office and performed under moderate sedation. You can resume normal activities the day after treatment.

When to See a Doctor

Whether it’s the appearance of spider veins or varicose veins that concern you, there are options. And the sooner you get them treated, the sooner you can enjoy your life.
 
If you have symptoms like swelling, cramping, heaviness, or pain in your legs, consult with a doctor. These could be symptoms of Venous Insufficiency, a progressive vein disease that, if left untreated, could result in other health issues.
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