At the end of a long day on your feet, it’s normal to be tired and look forward to snuggling into a warm bed or a comfy couch. You kick off your shoes, put on loose-fitting clothes, and click on the television to unwind for a bit. However, today your legs feel… different. Your legs truly ache– they feel unbearably heavy, yet restless at the same time. Looking down, you notice some unsightly veins that are starting to protrude beneath your skin.
“When did those get there?’ you think, and “is this why my legs hurt so badly?”
The answer is that you may have varicose or spider veins that are causing both pain and unsightly marks on your legs. The good news is that there are several minimally invasive and high-tech procedures such as sclerotherapy and laser ablation that can provide you with relief. Before we look at how the Vein Treatment Center‘s cutting edge vein treatments can help you love your legs again, let’s look at what spider and varicose veins are, and whether or not compression hose is a good first step for your needs.
What are Varicose and Spider Veins?
If you’re seeing a blue, bulbous, twisting vein appearing under the surface of your skin, that is likely a varicose vein. They occur most often in the lower half of your body due to the pressure created by walking and standing. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are much smaller and resemble a “spider’s web” pattern with blue and red threads.
The larger, underlying cause of varicose and spider veins is called “venous insufficiency.” In healthy veins, there are one-way valves that move blood back to the heart and prevent it from flowing backwards. Venous insufficiency occurs when the valves are weakened, the blood flows back into the vein, and then it pools. Since the valves in the lower half of your body are already under stress and have to work against gravity, you are more likely to see varicose veins on your legs.
Causes of Varicose Veins
In order to properly diagnose your varicose veins, you should see an expert vein doctor, such as the highly-trained staff at the Vein Treatment Center, to discuss your personal health history and symptoms. There are a few general causes of varicose veins that include:
- Age: As you get older, your veins lose elasticity and the valves necessary for blocking backwards blood flow become weaker.
- Pregnancy: The tremendous pressure and increased blood flow of a pregnancy can cause already enlarged veins in the legs to become swollen and painful.
- Gender: Women are more likely to experience varicose and spider veins due to hormonal changes that can affect the elasticity or strength of vein walls.
- Family History: If another member of your immediate family has varicose veins, chances are you’ll have them too.
What Can I Do About Varicose and Spider Veins?
For many people, varicose and spider veins are primarily a cosmetic annoyance– they look unattractive but they don’t impede their daily activities. However, if you have noticed warmth or itching around the vein, a recent enlargement of the vein’s protrusion, heavy legs, or painful veins, it’s time to start looking at treatment options. First, we’ll look at compression hose and how they can work to combat varicose and spider veins.
Compression Hose: What Does it Do?
The purpose of compression hose is to tightly compress the affected area, forcing the blood back to the heart. The goal is to increase the quality of blood circulation and relieve the symptoms and look of varicose veins. The 3 main types of compression hose that can be utilized are:
- Support pantyhose: These are found in a grocery or department store, and offer the least amount of leg support.
- Compression socks or stockings: Found at pharmacies or specialty medical supply stores, these offer more support than the first option.
- Prescription compression stockings: You’ll be fitted by a specialist to determine the specific area that needs compression, as well as the strength of the compression bands needed to improve circulation.
Studies have shown that while compression hose can alleviate some of the symptoms associated with varicose and spider veins, it does not eliminate them. Additionally, compression hose can be very difficult to put on and remove because of the tight compression bands that make them effective. Other side effects of compression hose include skin irritation, dents in skin, and improper use which can cut off circulation and cause damage to nerves.
Since compression hose is not necessarily a long-term solution to varicose veins, what other options exist to treat varicose and spider veins? At the Vein Treatment Center, we will offer an expert consultation with one of our highly-trained and board certified doctors to determine the treatment that works best for your concerns and lifestyle. We offer several minimally-invasive and cutting-edge procedures such as:
- Sclerotherapy: By injecting a medication into the problematic vein, it is safely and naturally obliterated.
- Venaseal: This medical adhesive, known as “vein glue”, treats varicose veins quickly and effectively.
- EVLA: Endovenous laser ablation is a minimally-invasive procedure that collapses the vein and allows it to quickly disappear.
While seeking a natural alternative to varicose and spider veins is a logical first step in vein treatment, if you are looking for a long-term solution it is advisable to seek out a vein expert. For a professional consultation, please contact the Vein Treatment Center to setup and appointment and discuss what treatment options will work best for you. It’s time to love your legs again!