Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins
Even though varicose and spider veins are usually painless and not a threat to health, they can affect your self-image, particularly when it comes time to wear shorts and swimwear. The risk for varicose and spider veins increases when a woman becomes pregnant, or with age or obesity. Women are more likely to get them than men. There are treatment options available for people experiencing symptoms related to them, or if you want to have them removed.
These twisted and swollen veins usually appear on the legs. Varicose veins can cause the skin to bulge and look like blue, red or skin-colored ropes. They may appear on the calves, inside the legs near the ankles and feet, and on the thighs. They may show around the inner thighs, lower pelvic area and the buttocks if a woman gets them during pregnancy.
They can be eliminated through a medical procedure called sclerotherapy, which has been used since the 1930s with success. In most situations, a salt solution is injected directly into the vein, irritating the lining of the blood vessel. The blood vessel then collapses, sticks together, and the blood clots. The blood vessel turns to scar tissue eventually and cannot be seen.
Effective Treatment for Spider Veins
Spider veins are smaller than the larger, rope-like varicose veins. These tiny veins usually show up as red web-like structures underneath the skin. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins do not raise the skin. They are usually seen on the legs, but they can also appear on the face.
Mild cases of spider veins can be treated with compression stockings. Wearing these daily will improve the flow of blood in the legs. They are worn during the day and removed at night. In addition to managing symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins, compression stockings can help eliminate more from forming.
Causes for Varicose and Spider Veins
Problems with blood flow cause these highly visible veins. When the valves in the veins are not working properly due to age, obesity or pregnancy, spider veins or varicose veins may develop. The one-way flaps in the veins may not close properly, causing blood to back up into the lower part of the vein instead of traveling to the heart as it normally would. As this process continues, the walls of the vein weaken due to the blood that is trapped. The vein grows larger as a result.
Varicose and spider veins can occur for various reasons, but the risk is increased for certain people.
- Family history can affect your susceptibility for varicose and spider veins. If you have a parent who has them, your risk factor is increased.
- Weight is another major factor. The additional pressure caused by obesity can cause the valves in the veins to work improperly. Women who maintain a healthy weight are less likely to have weight-related vein issues.
- Sitting or standing for more than four hours at a time causes the veins to work harder pumping blood back to the heart, due to the pull of gravity.
- Hormonal therapies like hormonal birth control or hormones used to treat menopause can increase the risk for varicose and spider veins. The estrogen hormone in these therapies can weaken the valves in the veins.
- Blood clots in the legs can damage the veins. Scarring of the veins has the same effect.
- Aging can cause weakening of the vein valves. Calf muscles lose their strength as women get older, and it is these muscles that help send the blood back to the heart when you walk.
When regular physical activity does not help prevent varicose or spider veins from developing, and other home remedies like elevating your feet, losing weight and wearing compression stockings are ineffective, you may want to consult with a doctor for further treatment options. Contact the Vascular Birthmark Center of New York for information about varicose and spider vein treatment.