By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Radiology
It’s an old cliché that women hate spiders. I mean, come on. We’re tougher than that. I don’t like spiders, per se, but I can think of much scarier things (like doing laundry after my husband’s boot camp workout, or running out of coffee, or realizing all three of my sons are unaccounted for in the house—and being way too quiet). But spider veins? The fear is real. I have a decent set of legs, and I’ve seen the spider veins spreading across my mother’s once-perfect stems. Tiny little bluish and reddish lines, splaying like tiny, jagged spider webs across her thighs and calves. She’s far from vain, but those spider veins bother her. Especially when shorts season (not to mention bathing suit season) rolls around. But fear not, ladies. Read on for the facts—AND the not-so-scary remedy.
1. Crossing your legs and wearing high heels don’t cause vein issues. Fortunately those are just old wives tales, and we don’t all have to subject ourselves to orthopedic shoes. But prolonged sitting or standing can cause worsening of spider or varicose veins, so keep it moving, sister.
2. …but genetics do. So this does not bode well for me. But spider veins can come from one or both sides of the proverbial family tree, and it’s not uncommon for them to skip a generation. (There’s hope yet!)
3. Exercise does help. The healthier and more active you are, the better. Well, duh. As if we needed another reason to hit the gym. Simply put, exercise keeps the blood moving. It’s good for leg strength and circulation, as well as vein strength.
4. Men get them too. It’s true that spider veins are more common in women, but men aren’t far behind. Our male counterparts, however, are less likely to seek treatment. (No shocker there.)
5. Spider veins and varicose veins are not the same thing. Spider veins are usually harmless. They appear as small, thin red or blue lines beneath the skin’s surface that resemble spider webs or tree branches. Varicose veins, on the other hand, are the result of weak or damaged valves in the veins. They appear “ropey” and thick, twisting and turning beneath the skin. They can be quite painful, and they can indicate more serious health problems.
6. There are no DIY solutions to spider veins. No lotions or ointments or magic potions will help. After all, spider veins are not a skin problem. They are a vein problem.
Now prepare yourself for the kicker:
7. Even though spider veins are rarely a serious health problem, they can do a number on your self-image. And ain’t nobody got time for that. Life is short, ladies. We shouldn’t let spider veins keep us from wearing the clothes we want or participating in the activities we enjoy. Especially when there’s a non-invasive procedure that doesn’t involve scalpels or long recovery times or scary words like “vein stripping.”
Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for spider veins and non-painful varicose veins. An interventional radiologist nurse simply injects a liquid solution into the spider vein, causing the vein walls to swell, stick together and seal shut. It cuts off the blood supply, and the vein fades within a few weeks’ time. The average patient requires three to six sessions, each lasting about 30 minutes. Quick and painless—no anesthesia needed. And most patients return to normal activity right after each treatment. It’s that simple. You can even drive yourself to and from the appointments.
So if you fear spider veins, don’t. As my dad likes to say, find something else to worry about. But if you have spider veins and you’re tired of covering them up, make the call. Find out if you’re a candidate for sclerotherapy. All it takes is a simple ultrasound. If you find you’re not a candidate, it could be that underlying varicose veins are the root of your problem. In such cases, EVLT (Endovenous Laser Treatment) is the recommended course of treatment. EVLT is a quick, minimally invasive procedure that cuts off blood supply to the underlying varicose veins, rerouting blood to healthier veins. No anesthesia is required, and the procedure has a 95% success rate.
Whether sclerotherapy or EVLT is right for you, make sure you choose a group that specializes in vein treatments, like Charlotte Radiology. They’re one of the largest and most progressive radiology practices in the nation, and they employ ONLY board-certified, subspecialized radiologists. So give it a shot, and start planning your post-treatment shopping spree now.
For more information on sclerotherapy or to make an appointment, visit CRVeins.com.