There is a lot of interest in the non-surgical treatment for spider veins. In days past, surgery was the only option for larger veins. Smaller veins were electrocuted by hyfrecation. A needle was placed in the vein and electrified for a moment, and the current would shoot down the vein for about one centimeter and replace the vein with scar.
Later, sclerotherapy came along, which is the injection of a solution such as hypertonic saline, which makes the lining of the vein stick to itself and shut down. No blood in the vein means no color in the vein. Then, our favorite therapy came along at last: the laser. A laser can be dialed to the specific color of the patients’ veins and does not irritate the surrounding tissues. Nowadays, lasers are the way we handle 90 percent of the unsightly red or blue veins that we encounter.
- The veins are called spider angioma
- Often radiate outwards like a spider's web
- For spider angiomas on the face, techniques such as electrodesiccation and laser treatment can be used
- Spider angiomas are commonly found on the face, neck, upper part of the trunk and arms
- Women using hormonal contraception, have spider angiomas, due to high estrogen levels in their blood
- People with hepatic disease also show spider angiomas; their liver cannot detoxify estrogen from the blood, resulting in high levels of estrogen
There isn’t a home remedy for spider veins, but a trip to your doctor can help you decide your options. As always, prevention is the best medicine, so try these tips to prevent the veins from forming in the first place:
- Protect your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen to limit spider veins on the face.
- Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength, circulation, and vein strength. Focus on exercises that work your legs, such as walking or running.
- Control your weight to avoid placing too much pressure on your legs.
- Do not cross your legs when sitting. However, try to elevate your legs when resting.
- Do not stand for long periods of time. If you have to stand for long periods of time, shift your weight from one leg to the other every few minutes. If you have to sit for long periods of time, stand up and move around or take a short walk approximately every 30 minutes.
- Wear elastic support stockings, but avoid clothing that is too tight or that will constrict your waist, groin, or legs.
- Make sure to include high-fiber foods in your diet since constipation can contribute to varicose veins. High fiber foods include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, like bran. Control your salt-intake. Salt, or sodium, can cause you to retain water or swell.
Dr. Drew Ordon
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