NHS Treatment of Varicose Veins

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It is possible to get treatment for your varicose veins on the NHS. There are certain guidelines that you must meet to be considered for treatment as not all varicose veins necessitate treatment. The NHS will not treat usually treat you for cosmetic reasons but they will treat you to if you are suffering from discomfort or pain, and if you are experiencing severe complications as a result of your varicose veins.

Getting Assessed for NHS Treatment of Varicose Veins

The first step to getting treatment for your varicose veins on the NHS is to see your GP. They will be able to assess your situation. To prepare for this appointment you should take note of when your varicose veins cause you discomfort, how bad it is, and what you are doing at the time it worsens. Your GP will assess your varicose veins by looking at them and touching them. They will do this whilst you are standing and will be looking for the inflammation of the veins. If you experience any discomfort during this procedure you should let them know as it may help them with a diagnosis. If your GP thinks that you require further treatment, they will refer you to a vascular therapist.

The vascular therapist will conduct another examination similar to that of your GP. They may then decide to perform an ultrasound so that they can assess your blood flow and see what is causing the abnormalities. Once you have been diagnosed with having varicose veins you will be told whether they are considered to be severe enough for treatment on the NHS.

Treatment for Varicose Veins on the NHS

Treatment on the NHS will begin with moderate measures such as compression socks and lifestyle changes. They may advise you to lose weight and change your diet or exercise habits. You will be told to wear the compression socks during the day and remove them at night. You may also be prescribed some painkillers to treat your discomfort, and cream to treat any skin conditions associated with your varicose veins.

If moderate treatments fail to work, the NHS also provides more effective treatments. If you have large varicose veins you may be given surgery, which will involve removing your varicose veins and stripping the saphenous vein to prevent recurrences.

The NHS also performs sclerotherapy, which is most often given to people with small to moderate varicose veins. Liquid chemicals are normally used for NHS sclerotherapy although if your varicose veins are larger foam sclerotherapy may be used. Both treatments will be guided using an ultrasound scan.

Other treatments such as radiofrequency ablation, endovenous laser treatment, and transilluminated powered phlebectomies are less common on the NHS. Whilst they are available in rare cases, it is unlikely that you will receive them on the NHS as they are new treatments and little is known about their long- term effects. If you feel that you would prefer one of these treatments, you will need to ask your GP or vascular specialist about them.

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