Minimally invasive procedures offer help for varicose veins, from Harvard Women’s Health Watch

With summer on its way, women with varicose veins may feel apprehensive about baring their legs. But varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic consideration — they can cause pain and discomfort. Treating enlarged leg veins can relieve these problems and prevent complications in the long run, explains Harvard Women's Health Watch in its April 2011 issue.

Many women try self-help techniques for varicose veins without much success. For those who are serious about the problem, minimally invasive procedures, including injections, laser treatments, and radiofrequency energy, can help. Determining the best approach involves taking into account the size, type, and location of varicose veins, notes Harvard Women's Health Watch. Here are some of the approaches:

Sclerotherapy. A chemical irritant is injected into the vein, making it stick together and seal shut. It is slightly painful and may cause temporary swelling and bruising. Each vein typically must be injected one to three times. No anesthesia is required. Bandages and compression stockings are necessary for a week or two afterward.

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