Unsightly spider veins are so common that four out of every five women will develop them by age 80. Not only do spider veins cause uncomfortable symptoms, but many people who suffer from them also feel self-conscious about the way they look. So what causes spider veins and how can you reduce their appearance to improve self-confidence?
What causes spider veins?
Spider veins and varicose veins develop when the valves in your veins—most often in your lower extremities—stop working properly. This allows blood to flow backward and pool in your veins, eventually causing veins to bulge or even rupture. Unsightly blue veins result. Though spider veins are generally harmless, they can indicate underlying vein disease.
Although there are a number of known causes, some women develop spider veins without explanation, and others may never develop spider veins despite having multiple risk factors. It’s likely that some causes are not yet known. Here are the most common known causes:
- Being a woman; women are much more likely to develop spider veins than men
- Having a family history of spider veins; they tend to run in families
- Pregnancy; hormonal changes during pregnancy increase the risk of developing spider veins
- Working in a job that requires you to sit for long periods of time
- Sitting with legs crossed often and for a long period of time
- Being a smoker, either now or in the past
Although there is no sure way to prevent spider veins, there are some ways you can reduce your risk of developing spider veins (or developing more spider veins):
- Quit smoking if you’re a current smoker
- Get up to stretch and walk around every 30 minutes if you work in a job that requires long periods of sitting
- Avoid crossing your legs when you sit
Like many other diseases and conditions, choosing a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals and drinking plenty of water are important, too.
How can I reduce their appearance?
Although spider veins are generally harmless, thousands of people seek treatment each year to improve their self-confidence and feel more comfortable in their skin. There are a number of treatments available to reduce the appearance of spider veins, but sclerotherapy is one of the least invasive and most effective treatments on the market. Prior to the introduction of sclerotherapy as a treatment for spider veins, many patients had only one option: invasive, painful surgery accompanied by a myriad of risks inherent to surgical procedures. Additionally, surgeries often require time away from work and leave unsightly scars.
Now a less invasive option, sclerotherapy is available. During a sclerotherapy appointment at Nova Plastic Surgery, the affected veins are injected with a chemical that causes the vein to collapse. During the weeks following the treatment, these damaged veins are flushed out of the body through metabolism. Patients describe the treatment as slightly uncomfortable, but not enough to warrant numbing medication. That is, the pain of an anesthetic injection would be greater than the discomfort associated with the procedure.
What’s the recovery like?
Perhaps the greatest benefit to sclerotherapy is how quickly you can carry on with your everyday life. You must wear compression socks for a week following the treatment, and it’s recommended that you wait a few weeks before hitting the gym, but many patients return to light duty immediately following their appointment. Most patients don’t even need to take time off of work. Some patients feel even better after treatment than they felt before due to a reduction in heaviness and aching in their lower extremities.
How do I get started?
Because sclerotherapy is not for everyone, a consultation appointment is required prior to the procedure. During this appointment, a member of the board-certified team at NOVA Plastic Surgery in Ashburn, Virginia, will visit with you to learn more about your medical history, symptoms, and treatment goals and help you make an informed decision about your treatment. It’s important to make sure that the treatment is safe for you and that the goals you have for treatment are what you can expect to receive. You can call us at 703-574-2588 or request to schedule your no-obligation consultation appointment online today.