Spider veins are, common, unsightly nuisances frequently appearing on the lower part of the body. They commonly affect people who are older, as well as pregnant women, and require an examination and tests by a doctor for an official diagnosis.
Spider Veins or Varicose Veins?
People typically associate spider veins with varicose veins, but there is a difference. Spider veins are smaller, and you can find them closer to the surface of the skin. They range from purple to blue and can cause discomfort and lead to more severe issues. Luckily for you, spider veins are treatable. There are several methods of spider vein treatment that can bring you some relief to those uncomfortable and ghastly veins.
Symptoms and Causes
While for most people spider veins are merely a cosmetic issue, they can cause discomfort in others and occasionally lead to a bigger problem. Spider veins usually appear on the lower half of the body on the legs because standing and walking increases the amount of pressure on your veins in the bottom portion of your body. They can also appear on your face. Spider veins are blue and purple, are raised, and seem to be twisted like cords and are in the shape of a spider web. Older adults, pregnant women, and people who stand are their feet frequently for extended periods are the most at risk for spider veins.
The discomfort associated with spider veins include:
- Your legs feel heavy and ache.
- The lower parts of your legs burn, throb, and you get muscle cramps.
- Bleeding from the spider veins.
- The pain worsens when you sit or stand for long periods of time.
- Itchy and burning around your veins.
- If you have any color changes, your vein hardens, or you get ulcers near your ankle, you might have a serious vascular disease.
Spider Veins: Diagnosis
An official diagnosis of spider veins requires a physical exam by a doctor. He or she will examine your legs while you stand and ask for descriptions of any discomfort in your legs. If the physician thinks it’s necessary, you may need an ultrasound to ensure that the valves in your veins are functioning properly. The ultrasound will also test to see if you have any blood clots.
There is an alternate procedure that is less invasive. The doctor will run a handheld device over your veins called a transducer. It transmits images of your veins onto a monitor so that your doctor can see them.
Spider Vein Treatments: Do You Need Vein Removal?
Treatment for spider veins doesn’t require an extended hospital stay or extensive surgery. Most of the time you can complete spider vein treatment on an outpatient basis. Some of the ways you can heal spider veins are:
- Self-care: Taking care of yourself is an excellent way to treat spider veins. Practicing good health by exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, wearing loose fitting clothes, and not standing or sitting for excessive amounts can decrease your discomfort and prevent them from worsening.
- Compression Stockings: Wearing compression stockings can help move blood throughout your veins better by providing constant pressure to your legs.
- Sclerotherapy: This is an outpatient procedure that your doctor performs in the office. They will inject a solution into your small and medium-sized veins that scars and closes them off.
- High Ligation and vein stripping: Another outpatient procedure done in the doctor’s office. It involves tying of a smaller vein before it connects to a more prominent vein and cutting it out.
- Laser surgeries: New innovative technology is offering doctors a new way of doing medical procedures. Laser treatments can now be used to seal off spider veins. During the surgery, the doctor sends intense bursts of light into the vein. Gradually it makes the vein start to disappear. There’s no need for incisions or needles.
- Ambulatory Phlebectomy: Through a minimal outpatient procedure, the doctor will remove small spider veins by making tiny puncture holes in the skin. Don’t worry; they’ll numb the part of your legs that they poke and there’s usually only minor scarring.
- Catheter-assisted procedures using radiofrequency or laser energy: During one of these treatments, the doctor inserts a catheter into one of your large veins and heats the tip using radiofrequency or laser energy. They then pull the catheter out and seal the vein shut because the heat causes the vein to collapse. This treatment is preferred.
- Endoscopic vein surgery: They use his technique if all other procedures fail or if you have a more severe case like ulcers. The physician inserts a small camera into your leg to see and close the of the veins.
- Foam sclerotherapy of large veins: This technique is a newer one and involves injecting warm foam into the vein to close it off.
If you’re a pregnant woman who has developed spider veins, then you’ll be relieved to know that they usually don’t require any treatment. They will resolve themselves around 12 weeks postpartum or sooner.
Prevention of Spider Veins
While you can’t altogether avoid spider veins, you can take measures to prevent and prolong them. If you know that you are prone to spider veins then integrating the following things into your everyday lifestyle can avoid them for as long as possible.
- Watching what you wear.
- Watching what you eat to prevent obesity.
- Elevating your legs.
- Not sitting with your legs crossed.
- Avoid sitting or standing consistently for extended periods.
In general, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can prevent spider veins. But, when and if they do become a problem for you, there are methods of treatment. Talk with your doctor to determine which route is the best to remove painful and unsightly spider veins. Ask your health insurance provider what kind of procedure’s they’ll cover. If it’s just the cosmetic look of spider veins you’re worried about, then you may want to ask if they cover cosmetic treatment.
If you have questions or concerns about spider veins or other vein related subjects, we encourage you to contact Metro Vein Clinic. The professionals can offer you quality and safety procedures that won’t break the bank. Call them today for a consultation with experienced physicians.