Here are some facts about legs: 30 to 40 percent of the adult population suffers from varicose veins. Eighty percent of women all over the world have spider veins.
What is the difference between the two? Spider veins are those tiny network veins that are usually blue and magenta in color. They commonly appear ion the ankle, thigh and calf and make legs look a macabre road map. Varicose veins, on the other hand, are the ugly, big green veins which look like fat worms crawling all over your leg.
Anyway we look at it, both kinds of veins are ugly and unsightly. More important, they are not a necessary part of the vascular system and are better of removed. Getting rid of these veins help improve health by making blood circulation more efficient. These veins are sites of stagnant blood which could produce blood clots and infections.
Can these unsightly veins be removed? But of course. As early as the second century A.D., men of medicine were already concerned about these extraneous veins as health hazards. Galen used surgical treatment which consisted of tearing out the veins with hooks. In the seventh century, Aeginata tried to improve on the procedure by tying off the vein instead (surgical litigation).
Today, medical science has come a long way. There is a way to get rid of ugly varicose spider veins without surgery. It is called sclerotherapy.
Sclerotherapy is an in-office procedure that dates back to the 1800s and involves the injection of a solution that irritates the lining of the blood vessel walls, causing them to collapse inward. When blood can no longer pass through, the vessel turns to scar tissue and is absorbed by the body.
The modern method uses tiny needles to inject a solution from Germany into the offending veins. The procedure starts by using an ultrasound Doppler machine to pinpoint the main source of the problem.
The whole thigh is scanned and the sound indicates where the main defect is. Then, a solution (Polidocanol, which is pain-free) is injected straight into the patient’s vein.
Patients who have undergone sclerotherapy say the injection feels just like an ant bite because the needles used are finer than a strand of hair. After the injection, pressure is applied on the affected area with cotton wedges and classic bandage. The patient must wear these bandages for three days.
Patients, however, are encouraged to walk, shop, and even go dancing after undergoing the procedure. The whole session lasts 20 to 30 minutes and must be repeated every three weeks. Actually, the doctor will evaluate the extent of the problem and prescribe the number of sessions required. The average person needs some 4 to 5 sessions of sclerotherapy.
The most common cause of varicose and spider vein is genetics. Genes from either parent may make one’s body produce extra, unnecessary veins.
An increase in female hormones (via the use of birth control or hormone replacement pills), excessive weigh gain, having a job that requires one to keep standing for a long time can also result in varicose pr spider veins. These factors tend to apply more pressure on already defective veins and cause them to branch out more.