Woman Doc
"There is absolutely no reason you should live with varicose or spider veins."


What causes varicose veins?
The basic cause of varicose veins is gravity. Non-varicose veins fight gravity by having valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards.
What causes spider veins?
Spider veins are small, surface veins that are red or blue and shaped like a spider web or tree branch.
How do I prevent varicose and spider veins?
Nothing can prevent varicose and spider veins for sure, but the following can improve your chances and reduce the symptoms caused by your existing varicose or spider veins
Compression Stockings
Compression stockings, along with lifestyle changes, are part of conservative therapy for varicose veins which many doctors will try first.
Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is the time-tested "gold standard" treatment for varicose and spider veins. It is a non-surgical procedure that can be performed in-office, in under an hour, and without anesthesia.
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy is an advancement of sclerotherapy developed to treat varicose veins that are too large for traditional sclerotherapy or are hidden.
Microsclerotherapy
Microsclerotherapy is used for the smallest veins, such as spider veins.
Endovenous Laser Ablation
Endovenous Laser Ablation is a non-surgical method of treating varicose veins.
Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation
Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation is a non-surgical method of treating varicose veins.  A catheter is inserted into the vein and pulled along its route to seal it with heat. It treats the underlying veins that cause varicose veins without the side-effects of traditional surgery. VNUS Closure™ and VNUS ClosureFAST™ are two methods commonly in use.
Intense Pulsed Light
Intense Pulsed Light is a method for treating spider veins.  Light is directed on to the vein which causes it to heat up and collapse.  The vein turns into invisible scar tissue.
Laser Therapy
Laser Therapy is a method for treating spider veins and small varicose veins.  A laser is pulsed on to the targeted vein.  The laser heats the vein causing it to swell shut.  It then clots and eventually turns into invisible scar tissue.
Vein Stripping & Ligation
Surgical Stripping is a surgical procedure used to treat varicose veins.  It is performed under general anesthesia. Two incisions are made.  The vein is then tied off and removed.


 

WHAT ARE VARICOSE VEINS?

 

 

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be flesh colored, dark purple or blueThey often look like cords and appear twisted and bulging. They are swollen and raised above the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are commonly found on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the leg. During pregnancy, varicose veins called hemorrhoids can form in the vagina or around the anus.  Spider veins are explained on another page.

The function of the heart is to pump blood to supply oxygen and important nutrients to all parts your body. Arteries carry blood from the heart towards the body parts, while veins carry blood from the body parts back to the heart. As the blood is pumped back to the heart, your veins act as single-direction valves to prevent the blood from flowing backwards. If the valve becomes weak, some of the blood can leak back into the vein, collect there, and then become congested or clogged. This congestion will cause the vein to abnormally enlarge. These enlarged veins can be either varicose veins or spider veins.

As mentioned varicose veins appear as swollen veins which rise above the surface of your skin. They appear as dark purple or blue in color, and can look like cords or very twisted and bulging. They are found most often on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the leg, anywhere from the groin to the ankle.  Can you see and feel varicose veins?  Yes, Large varicose veins can be visible, bulging, palpable (can be felt by touching), long, and dilated (greater than 4 millimeters in diameter). Varicose veins affect 1 out of 2 people over age 50. They are more common in women than men. Hemorrhoids are a type of varicose vein. Spider veins are like varicose veins, but they are smaller.

Exercising, losing weight, elevating your legs when resting and not crossing them when sitting can help keep varicose veins from getting worse. Wearing loose clothing and avoiding long periods of standing can also help. If varicose veins are painful or you don't like the way they look, your doctor may recommend procedures to remove them.

The description of varicose veins as a clinical entity can be traced back as early as the fifth century BC. Forefathers of medicine including Hippocrates and Galen described the disease and treatment modalities, which are still used today. Throughout the centuries, surgical treatments have evolved from large, open surgeries to minimally invasive approaches.


See these sites for more information:

National Institute of Health -  http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/vv/vv_whatis.html

Womens Health - USA: http://www.womenshealth.gov/FAQ/varicose-spider-veins.cfm#A

Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varicose_veins