Veins, Varicose Veins, Spider Veins, Vein Treatments

Veins are the component of the circulatory system responsible for carrying blood to the heart. Varicose veins and spider veins are common vein problems, usually stemming from an underlying medical condition known as venous insufficiency. Spider vein and varicose vein problems vary depending on the location, type, and severity. There are a number of vein treatments for individuals with varicose vein and spider vein symptoms; consulting a vein care professional is the best way to learn about the options available for your vein problems.

Vein Problems, What are Varicose Veins, Causes of Varicose Veins, What are Spider Veins, Causes of Spider Veins, Risk Factors of Varicose VeinsSymptoms of Varicose Veins, Preventing Vein Problems, Varicose Veins & Pregnancy, Treating Vein Problems, Compression Stockings, SclerotherapyMicro Sclerotherapy, Ultrasound Sclerotherapy, Foam Sclerotherapy, Endovenous Ablation, Laser Endovenous Ablation, Radiofrequency Endovenous Ablation, Laser Therapy, Intense Pulsed Light, Phlebectomy, Microphlebectomy, Ambulatory Phlebectomy, Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy, Surgical Vein Treatments, Vein Stripping and Ligation, Deep Venous Pharmacomechanical Thrombosis

Vein Problems

The two most common types of vein problems are varicose veins and spider veins. Both types of vein problems usually result from an underlying medical problem called venous insufficiency. Gender, age, heredity, and lifestyle factors can also contribute the development and prevalence of both varicose veins and spider veins. Information about the various causes, signs, symptoms and complications of varicose veins and spider veins, as well as a description of other less common vein problems can be found here.

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What Are Varicose Veins

varicoseVaricose veins are veins that have become engorged and swollen. They are one of the most common health problems, especially for women and for people over fifty years old.

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Causes of Varicose Veins

varicose_causesVaricose veins are caused by the failure of the internal valves to prevent reverse blood flow back into the vein. The return of blood into the vein causes an imbalance to develop in the pressure between veins and arteries. The veins become enlarged and engorged with blood and they protrude from the skin with a bulgy appearance.

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What Are Spider Veins?

spider_veinsSpider veins, which are also called telangiectasias, are tiny visible blood vessels or broken capillaries just under the skin.

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Causes of Spider Veins

Spider veins are caused when small blood vessels located near the skin's surface become dilated. The veins take on a red or purple hue and look like spider webs or tree branches.

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Risk Factors of Varicose Veins

The primary risk factor for developing varicose veins is genetics, however other lifestyle factors can influence the formation of varicose veins as well.

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Symptoms of Varicose Veins

For the majority of sufferers, varicose veins are an unsightly and unpleasant, but relatively benign part of life. They are most identifiable by their appearance.

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Preventing Vein Problems

There are many simple steps to take towards minimizing the risk of developing spider veins and varicose veins. Although there is a big genetic component, the risk factors for these vein problems are lifestyle factors which can be altered to decrease risks. Here are some simple ideas for reducing your risk of varicose veins and spider veins.

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Varicose Veins & Pregnancy

The added weight and strain of pregnancy on the circulatory system raises the chance of veins becoming varicose. Pregnancy is often the first time that women begin to experience varicose veins.

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Treating Vein Problems

Treatment of varicose veins and spider veins varies greatly depending on the severity and location of the problem veins. There are a variety of non-invasive, non-surgical, and surgical methods for treating varicose veins and spider veins.

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Compression Stockings

compression_stockingCompression stockings are a commonly used non-invasive treatment for the symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins. They provide relief from the pain and help support the affected veins. They are also used in conjunction with, and while recovering from, other treatments of varicose veins and spider veins.

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Sclerotherapy

sclerotherapySclerotherapy is considered the “gold standard” in treating spider veins and small to medium sized varicose veins. The procedure involves the injection of a sclerosing solution into the targeted veins, which eventually swell shut and heal into scar tissue.

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Micro Sclerotherapy

Micro Sclerotherapy is used to treat spider veins. The procedure involves the injection of a sclerosing solution into the targeted veins, which eventually swell shut and heal into scar tissue.

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Ultrasound Sclerotherapy

Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is a newer sclerotherapy technique that is useful in treating varicose veins that are not able to be addressed with tradition sclerotherapy procedures.

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Foam Sclerotherapy

 Foam Sclerotherapy treats spider veins and varicose veins by injecting a sclerosing foam agent  into the targeted veins, which eventually swell shut and heal into scar tissue.

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Endovenous Ablation

Endovenous_Laser_AblationEndovenous ablation treats varicose veins by using heat to ablate, meaning remove, the troublesome veins. In this minimally invasive procedure the problem varicose veins are exposed to heat which causes them to shrink, collapse, and eventually heal into scar tissue.

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Laser Endovenous Ablation

 Laser endovenous ablation treats varicose veins by using heat from a laser beam to ablate, meaning remove, the troublesome veins.

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Radiofrequency Endovenous Ablation

radiofrequency_ablationRadiofrequency endovenous ablation treats varicose veins by using heat from sound waves to ablate, meaning remove, the troublesome veins.

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Laser Therapy

Laser therapy treats spider veins and small surface varicose veins by exposing them to heat through the skin's surface. The heat does not damage the skin but causes the walls of the vein to shrink, collapse, and eventually heal into scar tissue

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Intense Pulsed Light

intense_pulse_lightIntense pulsed light treats spider veins and small surface varicose veins by exposing them to heat through the skin's surface. The heat does not damage the skin but causes the walls of the vein to shrink, collapse, and eventually heal into scar tissue.

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Phlebectomy

PhlebectomyPhlebectomy is a surgical procedure performed under local anesthetic that treats superficial varicose veins by removing them from the body with a special tool.

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Microphlebectomy

Microphlebectomy is a surgical procedure in which a special hook is used to remove select portions of surface varicose veins.

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Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Ambulatory phlebectomy is a surgical procedure in which a special hook is used to remove surface varicose veins.

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Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy

Transilluminated powered phlebectomy is a surgical procedure in which a special phlebectomy device is used to remove surface varicose veins. The procedure was developed as an alternative to using a phlebectomy hook.

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Surgical Vein Treatments

Surgical treatments are sometimes required to effectively remove serious varicose veins as well as to reduce the risk of serious side effects resulting from chronic vein disease.

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Vein Stripping and Ligation

p_strippingandligation_lrgVein Stripping and vein ligation involve the surgical excision of large varicose veins. The procedures are performed under general anesthesia.

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Deep Venous Pharmacomechanical Thrombosis

Deep venous pharmacomechanical thrombosis is used to treat and remove clots that have formed in deep varicose veins. The procedure is used to address concerns about blood clots breaking away and moving to the lungs, heart, or brain.

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Veins - Varicose Veins - Varicose Veins & Pregnancy

Varicose Veins & Pregnancy
 

Pregnancy is often the first time that women begin to experience varicose veins. The added weight and strain of the pregnancy on the circulatory system increases the likelihood of veins becoming varicose. Women who already have varicose veins may notice an increase in severity of swelling while pregnant.

During pregnancy, your progesterone levels rise, causing the walls of your blood vessels to relax. As your uterus grows, it puts pressure on the large vein on the right side of your body (the inferior vena cava), which in turn increases pressure in the leg veins. (Veins are the blood vessels that return blood from your extremities to your heart, so the blood in your leg veins is already working against gravity.) 

varicose_causes


The amount of blood in your body increases when you're pregnant, adding to the burden on your veins. Up to 40% of all women develop varicose veins during pregnancy. There are valves in the veins which prevent the back flow of blood back into the legs. When these valves become damaged or defective, the blood flows backwards and causes swelling and enlargement of the veins. In addition, during pregnancy, there is a gain of weight and volume which causes the baby in utero to compress some parts of the pelvis (lower abdomen) and lead to an engorgement of the veins in the vulva/vagina. Varicose veins commonly occur on the legs and thighs but may also occur in the vulva or vagina. If a female has varicose veins of the vulva during pregnancy, she will always have varicose veins in the legs.

There are three main causes for the development of varicose veins during pregnancy:

  1. Hormonal changes: Increased progesterone levels cause blood vessels to relax which may contribute to the one-way valves within the veins to separate, thus allowing back flow and pooling of blood inside the veins. 

  2. Enlarged uterus: The pressure of the uterus on the major veins in the pelvic area increases pressure on leg veins, thus making varicosities more likely. 

  3. Genetics: A predisposition for developing varicose veins is compounded by the added strain of pregnancy on the circulatory system. 

     

Unfortunately, in the majority of cases the varicose veins of the legs worsen with time. The varicose veins start to become more prominent and swell and with time, the veins become engorged with blood and cause localized pain and itching. The majority of women who do develop varicose veins in the legs will retain these varicosities after pregnancy. Once the leg veins become prominent, it is very unlikely that they will spontaneously resolve without any treatment. However, varicose veins on the vulva/vagina often do get better once the baby has been delivered.

You may or may not be able to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy. Fortunately you can take steps to minimize the severity of varicose veins and treat the veins you do have during pregnancy. If one starts early in pregnancy, varicose veins can be prevented. Steps To Treat and Minimize Varicose Veins During Pregnancy:

  1. Exercise and walk to stimulate the muscles which can push the blood away from the leg.

  2. Elevate the legs whenever possible. This allows gravity to assist in the return flow of blood from the legs to the heart and reduces the likelihood of venous reflux and blood pooling within the veins. 

  3. Lie on the left side with legs elevated on a pillow. This prevents the fetus from pressing on the leg veins and decreases the chance of developing varicosities. 

  4. Refrain from crossing the legs at the knees and ankles. 

  5. Avoid standing and sitting still for long periods of time. Take frequent breaks to stretch while at your desk and shift your weight while standing. This can help decrease the amount of pressure on your legs and help keep your circulation moving. Wiggle your toes regularly and flex your muscles to also promote better circulation in your legs. 

  6. Purchase a pair of pregnancy compression hose. Also known as support hose, these special stockings provide graduated pressure on the ankles and legs. This will not only help reduce bulging but will also help reduce any swelling you experience in your extremities during pregnancy. You can get these online or from a medical supply store or pharmacy. These stockings, unlike normal pantyhose, are quite thick and help maintain blood circulation. They can also help prevent blood from pooling in your legs if you put them on first thing in the morning.

  7. Monitor weight gain. Eat healthily and do not try to prevent weight gain, however it is also wise to avoid carrying too much extra weight. Carrying too much weight can contribute to varicose veins. Your doctor can advise you on the appropriate amount of weight to gain during pregnancy. 

  8. Eat a diet low in sodium. Salt causes retention of water, which contributes to swelling. 

  9. Avoid wearing tight clothing that puts pressure on the waist or groin area.


For many women varicose veins become much less severe after pregnancy. For others they may find they are still uncomfortable after pregnancy. A small number of women are more at risk for developing blood clots in their veins. This condition should be monitored by a doctor. In some cases a clot may need to be treated.

     
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