Vein Health


Pelvic Venous Insufficiency (PVI): Affecting Millions of Women

By | Vein Health, Vein Therapy | No Comments

According to the American Journal of Radiology, pelvic pain is a common condition, which affects millions of women worldwide. It accounts for 25% of all hysterectomies and 33% of all investigative laparoscopic procedures performed for pelvic pain. Leading causes of pelvic pain in women include pelvic congestion syndrome or PCS and pelvic venous insufficiency or PVI. PVI often leads to PCS, which is a chronic condition causing severe pain and tenderness in the lower abdomen, back, hips, and thighs.

What Is Pelvic Venous Insufficiency?

Pelvic insufficiency results when circulation in the major pelvic veins is compromised. Blood pools within the venous system causing pressure on the walls of the veins. Over time, the veins swell and dilate to accommodate blood flow. The one-way valves in the veins weaken allowing blood to flow backwards and pool, causing further pressure on already weakened venous walls. The venous swelling and pressure on adjacent organs and tissues lead to pelvic congestion syndrome or PCS. If left untreated, damage to the veins may become permanent and surgical procedures are needed to correct the problem.

Am I at Risk for Pelvic Insufficiency?

Women of childbearing age, between 20 and 45 years of age are most at risk for PVI. Multiple pregnancies also increase the risk. PVI is also associated with obesity and rapid weight gain due to the increased weight of the fetus, uterus, and abdominal tissues pressing on pelvic veins. Other risk factors include blood clots and a history of varicose veins.

How do I know if I have Pelvic Venous Insufficiency?

Like varicose veins, pelvic venous insufficiency can have no symptoms. Most often, possible symptoms include severe, dull pain in the pelvic area, lower back, buttocks and thighs. Heaviness is often associated with the pain, and menstruation and prolonged standing tend to worsen the symptoms. Painful intercourse and urinary symptoms may also occur. Dilating venous tissues also release neuro-transmitting chemicals, leading to additional depression and anxiety in conjunction with the pain.

Tests for PVI include soft tissue imaging with and without dye. The most common include:

• Ultrasounds to visualize the venous structure around abdominal and reproductive organs. Doppler ultrasounds enable the physician to visualize venous circulation in real time.
• CT Scans provide the opportunity for measuring the diameters of affected veins in order to diagnose the potential severity of the condition.
• MRI’s with and without contrast provide an excellent diagnostic tool to examine the extent of blood pooling and congestion in affected areas.
• Venography is an invasive procedure performed when non-invasive imaging is not sufficient to provide a definite diagnosis. Contrast dye is injected via catheter directly into pelvic veins and measurements are taken to diagnose the severity of venous dilation.

How is PVI Treated?

Non-surgical treatment of PVI and PCS are aimed at treating ovarian dysfunction. Hormonal management with progesterone based birth control pills or treatments are used for their contracting effects on the veins. In some cases, estrogen-inhibiting implants are used in the management of PVI.

Interventional and surgical options are aimed at correcting pelvic vein engorgement and include ligating affected veins or blocking blood flow to the affected area by embolization. In severe and debilitating cases not responding to medical or less invasive surgical treatments, full or partial hysterectomies may be required to prevent irreversible tissue damage.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms indicative of PVI, your primary doctor or OBGYN may refer you to a venous specialist for further testing and management of your symptoms. The vein specialists at The Vein Centre will assist you in making the best possible decisions specific to your case. Call us today at 615-269-9007!

safe vein exercise

How to Safely Exercise with Varicose Veins

By | Vein Health, Vein Therapy | No Comments

Exercising Safely 

Improving circulation and heart health is a primary benefit of a regular exercise program. Exercise improves muscle tone in your legs, which helps to pump blood back to your heart. Regular, low impact, and cardiovascular exercise can even help reduce the appearance and alleviate symptoms of varicose veins.

If you have varicose veins, it is important to check with your doctor prior to starting an exercise program. Based on your individual case, your doctor will advise you on which types of exercises to avoid. As a general rule, people with varicose veins may benefit from regular exercises aimed at strengthening the calf muscles.

Which Types of Exercises Should I do?

Low impact cardiovascular or weight-bearing exercises are best if you have varicose veins.

Walking is both a very natural and low impact exercise for the heart and lower legs. Taking a brisk walk outside burns calories, strengthens the leg muscles associated with circulating venous blood, and provides fresh air and access to vitamin D producing sunlight. A brisk 30-minute walk daily may even reduce the appearance of varicose veins and prevent new ones.

Bike Riding, Cardio Machines, and Ellipticals are also good alternatives for low impact exercising. It is best to combine bike riding with other forms of exercise due to the sitting nature of the exercise, however, bike riding also strengthens the calves and buttocks increasing circulation in both the upper and lower legs. Resistance levels on cardio machines can also be adjusted for varying intensities. Caution should be taken with heavy resistance due to strain on the venous walls. If pain is experienced during the activity, you should decrease the resistance or stop the activity. If the pain does not improve or worsens, you should notify your doctor.

Recommended Static Exercises assist in building muscle tone and strength, which act as natural compression for swollen veins. Static exercises using the weight of your legs as leverage are generally enough to increase tone and circulation to the legs. Examples of these exercises include leg lifts and calf raises with no weights or light ankle weights. Bicycle legs performed by lying flat on your back and moving your legs in a bicycle type motion use the weight of your own legs to build strength and endurance.

Which Type of Exercises Should I Avoid?

Heavy Weight Lifting, Lunges, and Squats place an added strain and pressure on venous walls in the legs. You have probably noticed bulging veins on people that lift heavy weights. The same amount of strain placed on varicose veins can worsen the condition. Weight lifting does have benefits in an exercise program, such as increasing bone density, boosting metabolism, and increasing circulation. If you do weight lift, a circuit training program alternating cardio and lifting will reduce the strain on vein walls. Remember to use lighter weights or your own body weight as resistance and maintain proper breathing while lifting. Discontinue the activity if veins become worse or painful.

Running is excellent for cardiovascular health, however, it is treacherous on the joints and legs due to its high impact. Running on asphalt or concrete is even worse if you have varicose veins. If your veins aren’t painful and you prefer running, try running on softer surfaces, such as grass or rubberized tracks.

When to Consult a Specialist

Your vein specialist is your primary resource when choosing an exercise program appropriate for your needs. Consult your doctor prior to beginning an exercise program and after vein procedures to determine your best course of action. Always consult your specialist for changes in pain or worsening of the condition.

Managing Varicose Veins Diabetics

Managing Varicose Veins in Diabetics

By | Vein Health | No Comments

What If I have Diabetes and Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins occur when venous valves are unable to direct a one-way flow back to the heart. When the valves become compromised, blood may remain stagnant or even leak back into the affected area.  The result is very similar to traffic flowing in both ways down a one-way street.  Blood pools in the veins below the valves and the walls weaken and stretch to accommodate the extra fluid.

Risk factors for varicose veins include genetics, age, gender, pregnancy, obesity, and sedentary lifestyles.  Diabetes is not a direct risk factor; however, it can lead to further complications in people prone to their development.

Uncontrolled Diabetes Makes Varicose Veins Worse

Consider the consistency of sugary liquids.  The sweeter they are, the stickier they are.  High levels of glucose in the blood has the same effect as it travels through the circulatory system. Uncontrolled levels of blood glucose damage the veins and can delay blood passing through some smaller blood vessels in the legs and feet.  The sugary consistency of the blood may cause plaques to form within arteries and veins already compromised by varicosities.  This combination may lead to blood clots and more swelling, discomfort and additional problems with blood flow.

Injuries Are More Prone to Infection

Higher sugar content provides an excellent feeding ground for bacteria and other organisms. Bumping or scratching areas surrounding varicosities provide excellent entry points for microorganisms, where they will feast on the sugary content of the blood pooled in those areas and rapidly reproduce.  In addition, the circulation may already be affected so that white blood cells do not quickly arrive to fight the infection.  Nerve endings may become damaged in Diabetics, meaning they may not feel cuts, bumps, or scrapes when they occur, increasing the odds of exposure and infection.  Diabetics with varicose veins need to inspect these areas regularly for injuries.  Skin should be kept well moisturized, and protective clothing should be worn when performing activities, such as yard work or other work with a potential for injuries.

Is Treatment for Varicose Veins Different for Diabetics?

Preliminary management of varicose veins in diabetics is essentially similar, however, the primary emphasis is on maintaining healthy blood sugar levels through monitoring, diet, oral medication, and insulin as needed.  Non-invasive treatment options for varicose veins revolve around maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as exercise, limiting salt intake, elevating the legs while at rest, and avoiding injury.  Therefore, recommendations for managing Diabetes are very similar to those for managing varicose veins.

Before performing any invasive procedures, A1C testing is indicated to monitor blood sugar ranges over time before the procedure.  Diabetic patients with varicose veins wishing to have venous procedures should discuss their options with their primary care or internal medicine provider. Your primary doctor may contact the vascular surgeon to communicate that appropriate blood sugar levels are achieved and maintained. Proper evaluation will determine the best individual treatment options that will be performed to minimize risks and optimize results. Visits following the procedure may be more frequent to minimize complications.

If you have any questions or concerns about your varicose veins, contact The Vein Centre today!

cosmetic problem

Why Varicose Veins are More Than a Cosmetic Problem

By | Vein Health, Vein Surgery | No Comments

You might think that varicose veins appear to be cosmetic problem, but these unsightly and unattractive veins can cause potentially dangerous health problems.

The Ugly Truth


Dismissing varicose veins as “just cosmetic” is bad for your health. Without consulting your doctor, there is really no way to know if you have some kind of vein disease. Varicose veins are bulging, twisted veins that can be seen and felt right under the skin. Spider veins are a smaller version of varicose veins that can appear as red or blue lines in a webbed pattern. Varicose veins and spider veins differ, largely because varicose veins can lead to more serious health problems.

If your varicose veins are left untreated, dangers can occur such as:

Leg swelling– As pressure builds up in the veins, fluid from the blood can leak into the surrounding tissues, causing swelling.

Skin Ulcers– Varicose veins can cause swelling, which over time can result in skin changes. Because of this, skin can become less likely to heal even from minor injuries.

Deep Vein Thrombosis– Deep vein thrombosis is a serious medical condition that requires immediate medical treatment. The leg can be swollen, warm, and painful. There is a risk in that part of the blood clot may break off and move into the lungs, causing a life threatening condition called pulmonary embolism.

Lymphedema– Lymphedema can occur when lymph builds up in your body’s soft tissues. Lymph is a fluid that contains white blood cells that defend against germs. Blockage of the lymphatic vessels leads to fluid retention.

Fortunately, symptoms can be relieved and complications can be prevented through a variety of treatment options today. At The Vein Centre, we offer minimally invasive procedures that eliminate unsightly, uncomfortable veins without a major disruption to your daily schedule. To learn more about your treatment options, contact The Vein Centre today at 615-269-9007.


Varicose Veins Might Be a Sign of Life-Threatening Blood Clots

By | Vein Health | No Comments

Are varicose veins a warning sign of potentially deadly blood clots?

Varicose veins, usually caused by pregnancy or the effects of age weakening the blood vessels, are common. They are swollen, twisted veins that can be seen just under the surface of the skin. Weakened valves and veins can increase the blood pressure in a person’s legs, which can cause varicose veins. In the United States, nearly 23% of adults have the condition, which doctors rarely associate with health risks.

Blood Clots

There are two types of blood clots: superficial blood clots, also called phlebitis, and deep clots known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When a deep clot in the leg travels to the lugs, this is called a pulmonary embolus, which can be fatal. Varicose veins increase the risk for superficial phlebitis.

Symptoms of Blood Clots in the Legs

Symptoms of blood clots in the leg occur because blood clots block the blood flow in the vein in which it forms. Usually blood flows through the veins on its way back to the heart. When you develop a blood clot, the blood can’t get past the clot on it’s way back to the heart and so there is a backlog of blood and congestion in the leg. Symptoms of blood clots include deep leg pain and sudden swelling. If the clot moves to the lungs, chest pain and shortness of breath can develop.

Facts about Blood Clots:

  • Deep vein blood clots can dislodge and travel to the lungs. This is called pulmonary embolism.
  • There are more deaths from pulmonary embolism than breast cancer, AIDS and car accidents combined.
  • Deep calf or thigh pain and swelling of the leg are signs of deep vein thrombosis.
  • Blood clots also arise in varicose veins. This is called superficial phlebitis.
  • Superficial phlebitis usually feels like a hard, tender lump on your lug.

It’s very important to be aware of symptoms of blood clots in the legs. This way medical attention can be obtained and a diagnosis made. If you think you may have a blood clot, seek immediate medical attention. If you are looking for varicose vein removal options, varicose vein surgery, or are concerned about deep vein thrombosis, contact The Vein Centre today. Our vein specialists know how to create a personalized treatment plan to treat your leg pain and make you feel and look your best.

leg pain

What Your Leg Pain is Telling You

By | Vein Health | No Comments

What is leg pain?

Leg pain is any type of discomfort in the leg, beginning at the hip joint down to your heels. Your legs are made up of joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels. Leg pain can be brief or ongoing, and can affect your entire leg depending on how serious the injury or condition is you may have.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms inside a large vein, often in the calf of thigh. If this clot becomes dislodged, it can travel to the lungs or brain, causing a stroke or pulmonary embolism. DVT in the leg causes redness, tenderness, and swelling of the leg. The pain has been described as feeling like a muscle cramp or as soreness.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the leg veins do not allow blood to travel back to the heart. Problems with the valves in the veins can cause the blood to flow in both directions, and causes blood in the legs to pool. If chronic venous insufficiency is left untreated, pain, swelling, and leg ulcers may result.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that often develop as you age. Circulation slows down in your veins and causes these veins to appear twisted and bulge. Symptoms of varicose veins include muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs, worsted pain after sitting or standing for a long period of time, as well as itching.

When to Seek Medical Care

Seek immediate emergency medical care if you are experiencing inflammation, discoloration, or ulceration of the skin or swelling of the calf. If you have trouble breathing, you may have a blood clot. If your doctor confirms that your aching legs are the result of varicose veins or deep vein thrombosis, then they may refer you to a vein specialist. Convention treatments for varicose veins range from wearing compression stockings or tights to a number of surgical options. For DVT, medication such as blood thinners may do the trick, but in some cases, you may need surgery. At The Vein Centre, our surgeons have over 100 years combined vein expertise and are here to help you look and feel your best. To find out more, give us a call at 615-271-9013!

vein treatments evolved

How Vein Treatments Have Evolved Over The Years

By | Vein Health, Vein Surgery, Vein Therapy, Vein Treatments | No Comments

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins have been around since the beginning of time and we have been trying to find relief and treatment for centuries. Fortunately, treatments have evolved considerably from the early days. One of the very first treatment methods used to treat varicose veins was compression therapy, as well as undergoing surgery to physically remove the swollen vein with a scalpel. Varicose veins would be dissected through a small incision with no aesthetic. This old-age treatment method was terrifying and very painful. Compression therapy is still used today along with new modern technology to eliminate varicose veins.

The old way of thinking was that varicose veins were just a “cosmetic” problem or just a sign of “growing older.” Most general doctors quickly learned that varicose veins are a medical condition that requires a specialist. Many doctors now refer their patients out to vein treatment clinics like The Vein Centre.

Vein Treatments

The three most common modern types of vein treatment are:

  1. Sclerotherapy
  2. Endovenous Laser Treatment
  3. Pulsed Light Therapy

First, sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution directly into the vein. The solution causes the vein to shrink, and then dissolve over a period of weeks. The body will naturally absorb the treated vein.

Second, in endovenous laser treatment, a thin fiber is inserted into the damaged vein through a very small entry point in the skin. A laser light is emitted through the fiber, as the fiber is pulled back though the vein.

Third, pulsed light therapy is primarily used for spider veins, which are varicose capillaries, but are smaller in in diameter than regular veins. Pulsed light is used to heat them from the outside and cause them to ablate.

The Vein Centre offers all three of these vein treatments. In all three treatments, the ablated blood vessels are reabsorbed by the body, leaving no trace. You should first expect to see results within a few weeks of the procedure.

The recovery time in all three modern vein treatments is remarkably fast. Many people return to work and their normal activities the same or following day of the procedure.

Modern vein treatments have evolved tremendously since the very first procedures. Today, treatments are now quick, painless and require no down time. To learn more about the vein services we offer, give us a call today at 615-271-9013!

swollen legs

Swollen Legs? You might have a Vein Problem!

By | Vein Health | No Comments

What causes swollen legs?

Edema (leg swelling) is caused from the buildup of extra fluid in the veins. It can be caused by a problem with the circulatory system, the lymphatic system or the kidneys. Edema typically is caused by more than one factor such as venous insufficiency, varicose veins, obesity, or pregnancy.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are one of the most common causes of leg swelling. Most varicose vein problems arise when the valves in the leg veins aren’t working properly to keep the blood moving. Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins close to the surface of the skin. When these valves become damaged, they hold more blood at higher pressure than normal. Fluid is forced into the surrounding tissue, making the affected leg swell and feel heavy. Oftentimes, Doctors will misdiagnose swollen legs as a symptom of heart or kidney failure, or even pregnancy. The effects of varicose veins are aches and pains, burning sensations, or heaviness of the legs.

Venous Insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency is more common among those who are overweight, pregnant, or who have a family history of the problem. Venous insufficiency is a condition when blood does not flow properly through the leg veins to the heart. Instead, the blood remains in the leg and pools in the weak vein. When blood begins to pool rather than circulate, there is an increased risk of developing a blood clot. If chronic venous insufficiency is left untreated, pain, swelling, and leg ulcers may occur.

How we can help

Seek emergency medical care if you have chest pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness, or are coughing up blood. These symptoms may indicate a blood clot in your lungs or a serious heart condition. If you’re experiencing nonemergency problems such as swollen, tired, or heavy legs or ankles, it may be time to seek help from an experienced doctor. The first step to determine if your swollen legs or ankles are caused by a vein problem is to schedule a consultation with one of our vein specialists. Contact The Vein Center today at 615-269-9007 to get back your healthier legs!

exercise outside

Why You Should Exercise Outside In The Winter

By | Vein Health | No Comments

Let’s be real, no one wants to exercise outside during the winter. But did you know that it’s even more important to exercise in the winter than in the summer since we spend so much time cooped up indoors? There are many reasons why you should embrace the cold weather. Just remember to suit up appropriately with enough layers to keep the body at a healthy temperature. Here are just a few reasons why you should exercise outdoors this winter.

You’ll burn more calories  

Due to colder outside temperatures, the body works harder in the winter time to regulate its core temperature. This means you’ll burn more calories faster.

You’ll strengthen your heart

Cold weather increases the heart rate, which makes the heart work harder to distribute blood throughout the body. By incorporating cold weather workouts into your daily routine, you will be strengthening your heart.

You’ll boost your immune system

Any regular workout can be a powerful immunity booster. You’ll be surprised by how a quick 10 minute workout can make you feel. Daily exercise can help reduce common winter colds or even the flu.

You’ll get a dose of vitamin D

Sure, it’s cold out, but that doesn’t mean the sun exposure won’t supply you with the same nutrients it does throughout the warmer parts of the year. According to the American Heart Association, exposure to sunlight helps to improve mood, vitamin D intake, and helps with bone growth. But keep in mind to wear sunscreen (yes, even when its freezing) after your skin is exposed for more than 15 minutes.

You’ll sleep better

Regular physical activity helps you fall asleep faster and get more sleep. Be sure to avoid working out before falling asleep, because you might be too energized to fall asleep.

Stay in shape

Instead of waiting until the spring or even summer, get a head start and stay in shape by working out in the winter. Exercising during the winter time helps you stay in shape all year round rather than trying to lose wait in a few weeks.

Staying active in the winter time is the most beneficial way to stay healthy. If you have any questions or are looking for alternative treatment methods, contact The Vein Centre today at 615-269-9007!

Healthy vein yoga poses

5 Yoga Poses for Healthy Veins

By | Vein Health, Vein Therapy | No Comments

Have you noticed swollen or spidery veins on your legs or feet? If so, you may be suffering from varicose veins. Varicose veins can cause long-term health complications due to irregular blood supply to the heart. But don’t stress! Yoga can help alleviate this condition.

Sitting for long hours or frequently walking in high heels are just a few ways you can develop varicose veins. The affected veins are large, swollen, and clearly visible under the skin.

Yoga- How Does It Help?

Yoga can alleviate the pain caused by the pressure in your veins. The recommended poses for alleviated pressure are typically leg elevation poses. Elevating your legs helps ease pressure and blood flow to the heart. Here are a few yoga poses to try:


Stand straight and place your hands on your hips. Inhale, and bend your hips as you exhale. Make sure to place hands on the floor besides your feet. Keep your feet parallel to each other. Push your torso forward as your extend the stretch and lift the tailbone. Hold, then release.


Sit on the floor with your legs together, extended out in front of you. Sit forward and draw your thighs together. Flex your feet and press out through your heels. Pull the tops of your thighs up towards your hips and down to the floor. Draw your lower belly in and up. Draw your shoulders back and down along the spine. Bring the bottom shoulder blades towards each other. Stay in this position between 5-10 breaths.


Sit in Dandasana and lift your legs off the ground. Try to balance and lift your hands off the floor, stretching them out in front of you. Breathe long and deep. Release.

Viparita Karani

Position yourself across a wall and raise your legs up the wall. Lie down and stretch your arms to the sides, making sure your palms are facing upwards. Close your eyes and breathe. Release after a few minutes.


Lie flat on the floor with your back on the ground. Fold your knees and hug them. Lift your head off the floor, and bring your nose in between your knees. Hold the pose for a few seconds as you breathe deeply, and then release.

Yoga takes patience and practice and is an effective way to promote healthy veins. You may find these simple yoga poses to help relieve pressure from your veins. If you have any questions about veins, schedule a healthy leg consultation by contacting The Vein Centre today, at 615-269-9007!