Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
There are no special preparations you'll need to make before your appointment. Your doctor will need to look at your bare legs and feet to diagnose varicose veins and figure out what treatment might be best for your condition.
Your primary care doctor may recommend that you see a doctor who specializes in vein conditions (phlebologist), a vascular surgeon or a doctor who treats skin conditions (dermatologist or dermatology surgeon). In the meantime, there are some steps you can take to prepare for your appointment and begin your self-care.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to varicose veins.
- Write down key personal information, including a family history of varicose veins or spider veins.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- What are other possible causes for my varicose veins?
- What kinds of tests will I need?
- How are varicose veins treated?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any activity restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover seeing a specialist and treatments, if advised? (You may need to ask your insurance provider directly for information about coverage.)
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first notice the varicose veins?
- Do you have any pain? If so, how severe is your pain?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- Does anything appear to worsen your symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
Even before your appointment, you can begin self-care. Try not to stand or sit in one position for more than 30 minutes or so, elevate your legs when you're seated, and avoid uncomfortable footwear and tight socks or hosiery.
- Varicose veins. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vv/. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
- Varicose veins. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/cardiovascular_disorders/peripheral_venous_disorders/varicose_veins.html. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
- Varicose veins and venous insufficiency. Society of Interventional Radiology. http://www.sirweb.org/patients/varicose-veins/. Accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
- Gloviczki P, et al. The care of patients with varicose veins and associated chronic venous diseases: Clinical practice guidelines of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2011;53(suppl):2s.
- Murad MH, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the treatments of varicose veins. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2011;53(suppl):49S.
- Horse chestnut. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Nov. 14, 2012.