Varicose and spider veins are common health conditions — half of adults over age 50 are affected by their often-painful, and embarrassing symptoms. So, when cold weather rolls around, it can be a relief for sufferers to be able to turn to long pants and skirts as a way to cover enlarged veins on their legs and feet. But winter may not be the time to put varicose veins at the back of your mind. In fact, it could be the perfect opportunity to treat them. One of the best reasons to care for your varicose veins during winter is so that you can be ready to show off your legs when summer arrives!
During the summer months, increased self-consciousness can occur, since it seems that varicose and spider veins are front and center for all to see as it is the season of bathing suits and leg-revealing shorts that correspond with hot weather.
Typically, symptoms are worse in warm weather, so if you’re self-conscious about the state of your legs, and fed up of suffering from painful, swollen veins, Sclerotherapy — a proven procedure that has been used to eliminate spider veins and varicose veins since the 1930s — could be the solution.
Varicose veins and spider veins aren’t the same thing.
Varicose veins are:
Abnormally enlarged veins that frequently appear on the lower legs and feet
Typically blue or purple and appear as dilated, bulging vessels that may protrude above the surface of the skin
In addition to their appearance, varicose veins may be accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms like aching and swelling.
Spider veins are:
Tiny blood vessels that develop close to the skin’s surface
Often red, blue or purple and may form a network that resembles a spider’s web
Frequently appear on the legs
Causes of Varicose Veins and Spider
Varicose and spider veins are caused by structural abnormalities of blood vessels. Veins are responsible for carrying blood back to the heart from other areas of the body, utilizing a series of one-way valves to avoid backflow. For a variety of reasons, these valves can become defective, allowing blood to flow back into the vein.
When this happens, it increases the pressure inside the vessel, which ultimately weakens the vessel wall, leading to swelling and varicosity. Varicose and spider veins form from the engorgement and dilation of the affected blood vessels.
Some factors predispose a person to varicose and spider veins, including:
Hormonal influences of pregnancy, puberty and menopause
Postmenopausal hormone replacement
History of blood clots
Increased pressure in the abdomen caused by tumors, constipation and garments like girdles
If you want to eliminate the appearance of varicose or spider veins, sclerotherapy might be a good option for you.
Sclerotherapy is the gold standard in spider vein treatment and has been successfully used since the 1930s. The procedure involves an injection, generally a salt or irritating solution, given directly into the desired treatment area. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to swell and stick together and the blood to clot. As a result, over the next few weeks or months, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades over time.
Sclerotherapy is an outpatient procedure typically performed in an experienced podiatrist’s office and typically takes 15 to 45 minutes depending on the number of veins treated.
Benefits of Treatment
Improved self-esteem: People with varicose and spider veins may be embarrassed to show their legs as the veins become more prominent. Treatment can virtually make them disappear, helping to feel more confident about appearance and wardrobe selections.
Symptom solution: Treating the veins eliminates the symptoms of physical discomfort; including aching, swelling, cramping and skin irritation.
Addresses underlying condition: Varicose veins can be caused by a condition such as venous reflux or venous insufficiency, which leads to damaged blood vessels and varicosity. Treatment eliminates these vessels so blood is rerouted through healthy veins.
Prevent complications: If left unchecked, swollen veins can permanently change the skin’s texture and color. If the area where the varicose or spider veins is cut, an open sore called a venous ulcer can form. With treatment, the chances of these developing are eliminated.
Get help from a board-certified podiatrist
Dr. Richard Hochman, a recognized expert in treating patients with venous disease of the feet and ankles, will evaluate your needs and develop an individualized care plan to deliver high-quality clinical outcomes.
If you’re ready to finally stop hiding your legs this summer, call our office at (305) 442-1780 to learn more about sclerotherapy and find out if it can help you get rid of unwanted varicose and spider veins today!