With the weather getting warmer and swimsuit season around the corner, many are looking to boost their confidence by tackling varicose veins and spider veins. These are the two most prominent venous conditions that can leave you feeling self-conscious or wary of showing off your legs. Are your veins ready for the summer? Thankfully, there are several options to choose from when looking for treatment for varicose and spider veins, including minimally invasive procedures, and vascular surgery.
What Causes Varicose and Spider Veins?
A variety of factors can cause the valves in your legs to get weak or damaged. When these valves struggle to pump blood properly, the blood can begin to flow backward and pool underneath the skin, leading to their pronounced appearance and potential blood clots. For spider veins, the most common causes are injury to the veins and valves and dramatic changes in hormones within the body.
Some of the factors that can lead to both venous diseases are:
- Age (as we get older, our veins get weaker and our hormones change)
- Heredity (you’re more likely to have venous conditions if your family does)
How Do You Treat These Conditions?
Just as there are numerous causes for varicose and spider veins, there are a few different options for treating said conditions and making sure your veins are summer-ready. Some are completely non-invasive while others are minimally invasive, but all have yielded many positive results for clearing your skin of these pesky abnormalities. Vein specialists can help you determine which treatment will be best for your specific situation and prepare you for what to expect, but here are the most popular treatment options:
Sclerotherapy – This is one of the most common treatments for varicose veins and spider veins alike. During the treatment, your doctor will seal the walls of the problem veins shut with an injection at the site. Over time, the visible marks will fade, leaving you with clear, unblemished skin.
Endovenous Thermal Ablation – This is one of the minimally invasive procedures available for varicose vein treatment. Your physician or vascular surgeon will use a local anesthetic, make a small incision in the problem area, and a catheter is inserted into the larger vein (often the saphenous vein, the longest vein in the body and the largest one in the leg). Once placed, a probe is sent through the catheter and either radiofrequency or laser is used to directly heat the vein and collapse and seal it. The visible marks will also fade over time with this procedure.
Varicose Vein Surgery – While surgery isn’t the go-to option anymore, it is still an effective one if other methods have failed and your case of varicose veins is an extreme one. This could include vein stripping, a procedure that involves making small incisions in the skin, tying off the problem veins, and removing them. Another surgical option that is an alternative to vein stripping is an ambulatory phlebectomy, which also requires small incisions but allows the vein to be removed with a small hook.
Compression stockings are often suggested as the first course of action if you’re simply looking for a temporary aid in managing your varicose veins, but they will not get rid of the problem or treat the issue altogether.
Can You Naturally Get Rid of Spider Veins?
You cannot actually get rid of spider veins via natural means. Once they appear, they’re here to stay unless forcefully removed. Some essential oils have been said to decrease how pronounced they look, but they won’t go away entirely using this method. Sclerotherapy is your best bet if you’re wanting to rid yourself of them completely, as the veins themselves have to be collapsed and sealed.
How Long After Varicose Vein Surgery Can I Exercise?
It’s recommended that you wait a minimum of one week before exercising after you’ve had any kind of vascular surgery, though your physician may suggest waiting longer depending on how the surgery itself went and how quickly you typically recover. Make sure your veins are summer-ready. Strenuous activity can be counterproductive to the treatment by pushing blood back into the collapsed or sealed vein, undoing the work. Running, jogging, and even power-walking or walking long distances is not recommended during this time, along with lifting anything over 20 pounds and climbing an excessive number of stairs (i.e. more than is necessary to enter or move freely about your home).
Varicose veins and spider veins can be both unsightly and (in the case of varicose veins) even painful. If you would like to address them and have your skin free of these conditions in time for summer, contact Vital Heart & Vein today. We offer a selection of minimally invasive treatments to reduce the appearance of varicose and spider veins. Our innovative treatments can also assist with reducing unwanted symptoms of venous disease such as swelling and pain. With all of the options available, there is no reason why you should have to suffer from these venous diseases any longer!