With summer in full swing and temperatures topping out in the triple digits, many women are still hiding their legs due to unsightly veins. Although not dangerous, spider veins and their larger counterparts, varicose veins may cause embarrassment and shame in women, leading them to cover their legs even in the full heat of summer. A common occurrence, nearly 25% of all women suffer from unsightly veins but there are several treatment options, ranging from natural to professional.
Recently seen on The Doctors, the main reason why women develop spider and varicose veins is due to pressure. Extra weight from weight gain and pregnancy can place undue stress on the smaller valves in the veinous system, causing the capillaries right under the skin to burst. Your job could also be a culprit: if you are on your feet all day or if you sit at a desk for long periods of time, your risk for spider veins increases. Prevention includes plenty of exercise, including swimming and walking but if you already have them, you have many choices on how to get rid of them.
According to Dr. Drew Ordon, studies have shown that the addition of parsley, onions and garlic to diets have helped with the appearance of veins while hot sauce had a negative effect. Some natural remedies he suggested include massaging the back of the legs with all natural anti-inflammatory Witch Hazel and drinking green tea.
If these at-home remedies aren't cutting it, there are many professional options to treat spider or varicose veins. Asclera, an injectable sclerotherapy medicine receieved FDA approval in 2010 for the treatment of spider veins but has not been studied for varicose vein treatment. Similar to other sclerosing solutions, Asclera works by damaging blood vessel lining which causes them to close up and disappear. In comparison to traditional saline sclerotherapy injections, many patients claim Asclera is more comfortable. Several treatment sessions are normally required and results may be seen in a few weeks.
Another treatment available uses laser technology to zap spider veins to nonexistence. Veinwave uses ultrasonic pulses to coagulate the blood in the spider veins, which causes them to disappear nearly immediately. After a miniscule needle is inserted below the skin, an ultrasonic pulse heats and destroys the veins in just one session. An obvious benefit, patients see immediate results and typically, only one treatment is required. However, it is common for mild redness to occur but that goes away after a few days.
"The spider vein goes away permanently and instantly," says Los Angeles cosmetic surgeon Dr. Alexander Rivkin in regards to the Veinwave technology, "You can see it go and there's not a lot of collateral damage, so you don't get the swelling, bruising and you don't even get the pain. We don't have to use numbing cream for this."
Last but not least, laser technology that has been used to treat vascular and pigmented lesions may work for vein treatment as well. The Cynergy Vascular Workstation from Cynosure uses 2 laser wavelengths which are absorbed by the blood within the vein. Similar to the Veinwave, the blood coagulates and the vein disappears. Results are immediate as well, however depending on the severity of the veins 2-3 treatments may be necessary.
As with all professional treatments, it is important to discuss all your options with your physician to determine the best treatment for your needs. Any of the professional treatments may cause your current spider or varicose veins to disappear but new ones may form. As Dr. Odorn recommends, it is important to regularly exercise to keep blood moving and keep extra weight off to ease undue pressure to the veinous system.