Warm seas, sandy beaches and long lazy days in the sun – who doesn’t love a holiday? But the prospect of baring a little more flesh than usual often prompts a flurry of enquiries about varicose vein treatments. We thought it would be interesting to share some questions from patients and the answers provided by our specialist vein doctors.
Q: I would like to visit my sister this summer which involves a 11 hour flight to San Francisco. But I have varicose veins in both my legs and am unsure whether it is safe for me to fly such a long distance.
A: There is often some confusion about flying with varicose veins, probably because of the association with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). However, a DVT is a blockage in one of the deep veins, whereas varicose veins are the result of faulty valves in the superficial veins. While varicose veins do slightly increase your chances of developing a DVT, they should not in themselves stop you from flying long haul. However, if you have a problem with your deep veins then you may be more at risk of developing a DVT. It might be wise to get an ultrasound scan of your legs to rule out any underlying problem.
Q: I’m having my varicose veins treated next month but a friend has just invited me on a last minute trip to Dubai. Can you recommend something to make my legs feel more comfortable on the seven hour flight?
A: I recommend that you wear compression stockings throughout the flight. These will help to stop the blood pooling in your veins and minimise swelling. You should also be as active as possible – get up and walk around every 30 minutes or so and while you are seated, flex your feet and ankles. Finally, tempting as it might be to while away the hours with a few drinks – stick religiously to water and avoid alcohol and caffeine. You will feel much more comfortable if you are properly hydrated.
Q: My husband and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary with a trip to Croatia next month. I want to look my best so am having my varicose veins treated before we go but I’m concerned I’ve left it a bit late. We will be doing a lot of walking and I also want to swim in the sea. Will I be ok to do this so soon after the procedure?
A: The beauty of minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins is that recovery takes no time at all. You can walk into the clinic and walk out again straight after and in fact, lots of walking has been shown to aid recovery. There should be no problem with swimming either – the exercise will be beneficial. However we recommend you wait a minimum of four weeks after treatment before flying.
Q: I’m going on a hen party to Ibiza with a group of friends and am embarrassed about showing my veiny legs on the beach. I want to have them treated but wondered whether I would have scars and if I would still be able to wear my party shoes when we are out on the town?
A: Your treatment will involve the smallest of incisions which means they should heal within a few days and scarring will be minimal. However, a word of caution, do use a high factor sun cream and don’t expose your legs to the sun for too long as the newly heeled skin will be more sensitive and you may cause permanent sun damage. As for high heels – if they are comfortable and you can walk in them then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t wear them but you might want to put a pair of flip flops in your bag just in case.
Happy Holidays! If you are looking for treatments for varicose veins and vascular problems before your holiday, book a consultation with a specialist at one of our clinics in Bexhill, Canterbury or East Grinstead.