6 ways to correct spider and varicose veins
I remember when my daughter asked me about my tattoo. I apprehensively turned to look where she was pointing, ‘cause either I’d gotten a tattoo some drunken college night, without my knowledge, or she was pointing to a vein. To be honest, I wasn’t sure which was better.
Alas, it was an ugly blue vein that formed a letter P. The only P in the family is my mother-in-law, which would be abnormal to attribute my faux tattoo to.
Since 50-55% of women are affected by vein issues and they get worse due to heredity factors, aging, and hormonal changes, I thought this would be a perfect topic to tackle.
At least half of us need this info and the other half can just go around every day feeling superior (not bitter at all!).
A. Work out: It promotes leg strength and better circulation. And this leads to my next tip…
B. Maintain a healthy weight: The heavier you are, the more pressure you put on your veins.
C. Move around every half hour: If you sit or stand for long periods, take a quick walk and change positions.
D. Elevate: At the end of each day, prop them up higher than your heart for 10-15 minutes
E. Wear flats instead of heels: I hate this one, so at least try to mix it up if you can’t go cold turkey.
F. Compression stockings: They are as ugly as they sound, but they will help give your legs the support they need to keep the blood flowing up to your heart.
2. Conceal - This is obviously the least invasive, but it’s temporary and won’t last for more than a couple showers. The darker your skin is, the less obvious the veins are. Self-tanner (I LOVE the Tan Towels - they streak the least) is the way to go.
3. Sclerotherapy – I tried sclerotherapy with saline in my early 20s and it hurt so very badly, that I only made it through 2 sessions. However, (this is a big deal) nowadays there are new agents, which are a lot less painful. Look for a doctor who uses Asclera (Polidocanol) rather than Sotradecol (STS) or hypertonic saline. Note that sclerotherapy has been shown to be less painful and more effective than laser treatments on spider veins. It’s also less expensive, but can take 2-6 treatments.
4. Sclerotherapy with Foam - This is a newer technique often used for larger spider veins and some varicose veins. The physician uses a foam version of the agent or mixes it with foam that can be as thick as toothpaste. This ensures that the agent has lasting contact with the veins and displaces the blood, rather than diluting it, which leads to better results.
5. Guided Sclerotherapy - If the veins are large, the sources may be well below the surface and out of sight. To identify these, a doctor may use duplex ultrasound technology to guide the needle or laser directly to the sites. (This may be used to help with laser and needle therapy.)
6. Laser and Energy Therapies
A. Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT): This is a newer alternative to the vein stripping you’ve probably heard about. This is a quick and relatively painless procedure and involves little downtime.
B. Radiofrequency Ablation (Venefit): This is similar to EVLT, but is said to leave you less sore. Laser type treatments do work best on fair skin and should be used on deeper veins that don’t bulge.
C. NdYag Laser: Pulsed lasers may help zap vein clusters that are too small for a needle. Like the ones you would see on your face and other small broken capillary clusters.
Who knew there were so many options and techniques out there? The truth is you may need a combination of some of the above. Please, go see a board-certified plastic surgeon, vascular surgeon, or phlebologist and ask them to help diagnose your specific issues. (NOTE: you may want to consider a venous reflux ultrasound, which will let you know how deep and where the issues originate.) So, you can treat the trunk not just the branches.