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Venous insufficiency: what are the possible treatments?



In France alone, 18 million people suffer from venous insufficiency. Men and women are concerned by this pathology, the main symptoms of which are heavy and painful legs, swelling of the lower limbs and the appearance of varicose veins. Chronic and progressive disease, venous insufficiency cannot be cured, but the treatments can effectively reduce these symptoms and the risk of complications.

Venous insufficiency: what is it?

To better understand this disease, it should be known that the veins of the legs are equipped with small anti-reflux valves (the valves) preventing the blood from stagnating. However, when these valves no longer function properly, the venous circulation slows down and the blood flows back down. This is called venous insufficiency. Beyond the sensations of heaviness in the legs that accompany this phenomenon, the veins stretch. This poor circulation also causes an inflammatory reaction which causes the breakdown of the walls of the vein and frequent complications such as varicose veins, edemas (swelling), leg ulcers, etc.

Symptomatic treatments for venous insufficiency

If it is essential to follow hygienic-dietetic rules to limit the symptoms of venous insufficiency, doctors have two types of treatment available: Phlebotropes (also called vein tonics) which have an anti-inflammatory action (they increase the tone of the walls of the veins, to improve blood circulation) and which relieve pain. The compression (stockings, tights or socks) which allows exerting pressure on the leg and prevents dilation of the veins.To limit the aggravation of venous disorders and relieve pain, it is important to quickly set up appropriate care.


Particularly indicated in case of heavy legs or varicose veins, vein tonics can improve these symptoms. There are two types:

  • Those based on plant extracts
  • Those made from synthetic molecules

They are used orally or locally in the form of creams for a three-month course and can be renewed if the signs of venous insufficiency reappear. Note: no study has demonstrated the effectiveness of vein tonics to prevent the worsening of venous disease. They cannot therefore replace lifestyle advice or restraint, which is the benchmark symptomatic of the Kings & Queens of veins treatment.


When venous insufficiency worsens and varicose veins appear, your doctor may also prescribe the wearing of socks, stockings or compression tights. Compression helps compress the legs, which reduces the dilation of the veins and facilitates venous return. In addition, it reduces the volume of the limb with an anti-edema effect and improves the efficiency of the calf muscle pump when walking.Your legs are heavy and painful: the vein tonic is the only medication to relieve these symptoms. They may or may not be associated with the wearing of compression stockings which also act on these disabling symptoms. Medicines and restraints certainly do not treat venous disease but provide real pain relief.

Of varicose veins appear: various options, more or less heavy, are available to you. As before, taking vein tonics and wearing a restraint are recommended. Phlebotropes will reduce the painful sensations of cramps and tingling that often accompany the appearance of varicose veins. Depending on the size of the varicose veins, their location and the associated discomfort, an intervention may be decided. Sclerotherapy, varicose vein surgery, endogenous laser varicose vein treatment techniques evolve and are less and less traumatic. The choice of one or the other should be made in agreement with your doctor.