Answers to the 3 Most Common Questions About Sclerotherapy and Spider Veins

Sclerotherapy is one of the most popular methods of treating spider veins in the United States.  This shouldn’t be a surprise since it is also the most effective treatment.  As with all cosmetic treatments, most people have a few questions before deciding on the right treatment for their situation.  To get you started in the right direction, here is a quick look at 3 of the most common questions asked about sclerotherapy and spider veins.

1. What Causes Spider Veins?

There are a variety of factors which have been proven to cause spider veins.  The most significant factor is genetics.  Most women with spider veins also have mothers or other female relatives with them as well.  Spider veins are genetically driven because the underlying cause is weak vein walls and valves.  Pregnancy is another common cause of spider veins.  This is because large fluctuations in the female sex hormones can cause the softening of vein walls, which leads to the stretching of veins.  A growing fetus can also add pressure to veins in the legs.

Two other causes include prolonged sitting/standing and injury.  Both sitting and standing for extended periods of time can cause large amounts of pressure to build up against vein walls in the legs.  This is most often happens because the blood pools in veins when leg muscles become inactive.  Of course, after any serious injury or trauma there is always a chance for spider veins to appear.  This is because bruising can lead to inflammation, which enlarges and stretches veins.

2. What About the Other Causes I Have Heard About?

While spider veins have only been directly linked to a handful of causes, there are a growing number of other potential causes which are often discussed.  One example is smoking.  Smoking has proven to cause a variety of adverse effects on the heart and arteries.  In particular, there are chemicals within the smoke which can have an oxidizing effect on cells.

Another common belief is that poor diet and a lack of exercise can cause spider veins.  There is no doubt that maintaining a healthy body weight will relieve some pressure on leg veins.  At the same time, there is no evidence diet and exercise are factors which cause or be used to prevent the emergence of spider veins.

Another interesting theory is that sitting with your legs crossed can increase your chances of getting spider veins.  While crossing your legs does place more pressure on leg veins, it is definitely not enough pressure to encourage spider veins.

A final theory is that hot showers or baths can speed up the appearance of spider veins.  This primarily stems from veins being more visible after a hot shower.  While sitting or standing in hot water can cause veins to enlarge when they are near the surface, this is only a temporary effect.  If this was true, then rigorous exercise would be able to cause spider veins too.

3. When is Sclerotherapy the Best Option?

It is important to keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different and sclerotherapy cannot be blindly recommended for every vein related problem, however it is the consistently a top treatment for spider veins.  A small needle is used to inject chemicals or saline into the problem veins.  It is also a solid option for treating bulging or ropey veins, although its effectiveness will be partially dictated by the condition of larger veins below the problem area.  Sclerotherapy has also been successful at treating congenital venous malformations such as birthmarks.  While they are the most challenging to completely treat, if the lesion is caused by nearby veins, sclerotherapy can be used.

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