When the weather gets nice, we all want to throw off those winter clothes and go outside to bask in the sun. But if you have twisted, enlarged, or bulging veins, you might find yourself embarrassed to show your legs. The good news is that foam sclerotherapy can allow you to get rid of these veins. At Madison MediSpa in Waunakee, WI, we know you hate unsightly varicose veins and can help you to get rid of them.
What Is Foam Sclerotherapy?
This simple treatment works by injecting a foamed detergent solution into diseased veins. This foamed medication causes the vein to spasm, scar down into a solid cord, and eventually dissolve. This might sound scary–after all, don’t you need your veins for healthy blood flow? Be assured, however, that it’s perfectly safe.
Because you literally have miles of superficial veins, when a vein fails, your body simply re-directs blood flow to all of the healthy surrounding veins. This means your body is already used to living without the broken veins, even before you start treatment. Thus, when a broken vein is treated, you will never miss it, in fact, your leg will look better, feel better, and circulation will improve!
How Does It Work?
Your first step is to meet with us to discuss your concerns. We’ll perform a physical exam, ultrasound screening, and find out about your medical history. Then we’ll assess your varicose veins and help you decide if foam sclerotherapy is right for you.
On the day of your treatment, we suggest bringing a pair of shorts to wear after the treatment is finished. We’ll use a very small needle to inject the solution. Most people feel that the treatment doesn’t hurt. They describe it as more annoying than painful. Treatment sessions may take about 30 to 60 minutes, and when you’re done, we’ll give you a compression stocking to wear for a while to support the area as your body diverts blood flow.
When Will I See Results?
Most people will feel their legs look and feel a bit worse initially, but as your legs heal over the next several weeks, you will notice that your legs are looking and feeling better than ever! Over time, your body will reabsorb the tissue that made up the vein. Within a year, you won’t even be able to find it on an ultrasound. It’s hard to beat foam sclerotherapy for a treatment that can help you look and feel better!
What To Do After Treatment
There isn’t much you need to do either before or after sclerotherapy, but we do have a few recommendations. For the first day and night, be sure to wear your compression garment continuously. After the first 24 hours or so, you can switch to only using the compression stocking during the day.
It’s also a good idea to avoid rigorous exercise for the first week, and especially any exercise that targets your lower body. We’ll talk to you about the specific timeframe that’s right for you and when you can take off your compression garment permanently.
Varicose Veins FAQ
1. How Do They Form?
This common medical issue appears in about 30% of adults. Even more of us have spider veins, which are less serious than varicose veins but may lead to varicose veins in some cases.
Our bodies circulate blood using a system of arteries and veins. Arteries take freshly oxygenated blood from the heart and send it to the rest of the body so all our cells can get the nutrients they rely on. Once the blood has delivered oxygen and nutrients to the cells, veins pump the “used” blood back to the heart to be re-filled with oxygen.
Our arteries have thick walls with strong muscles of their own. Our veins, however, have thinner walls and depend on surrounding muscles to help them move blood. The veins in our legs have to work especially hard since they are trying to move blood against the pull of gravity.
Understanding the Role of Vein Valves
Because leg veins are trying to mobilize blood back up the leg against the force of gravity, they have one-way valves that keep the blood from flowing backward. However, these valves can weaken or be damaged. Usually this happens because of genetic predisposition, but female hormones, pregnancies, and trauma can also cause your valves to fail. When that happens, the blood is pull backwards down the leg by gravity until it reaches the next valve. It begins to pool the affected vein, and the more it pools, the more enlarged and twisted the vein becomes.
2. What Are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?
Some people have no symptoms of varicose veins and are only bothered by the sight of them. If that’s the case for you, you might want to have your veins treated primarily for aesthetic reasons. However, some people feel an achy feeling in their legs or a heaviness that can interfere with their normal daily activities. Other people can experience burning, cramping, swelling, and throbbing. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you might find them getting worse toward the end of the day when you’ve been sitting or standing for a long time. Finally, some people will notice itching and discoloration of the skin around their varicose veins.
There are some much more serious symptoms that can come with varicose veins, though these are rare. Some people will develop ulcers around their ankles, and it’s also possible to develop blood clots or experience bleeding from a vein. If you start to have problems with ulcers, bleeding, or clotting in your veins it’s important to talk to a doctor right away.
3. What Are the Risk Factors for Varicose Veins?
Genetics and Age
If some of your blood relatives have varicose veins, you are more likely to develop them. The closer the relation, the more likely you are to have vein issues. This likelihood increases as you get older. The older you get, the more likely it is that a valve will weaken to the point that it cannot perform as it used to.
For reasons not entirely understood, women are more likely to have varicose veins than men. Most doctors believe this increased risk is due in part to the hormonal changes a woman goes through during her lifetime, and especially if she is ever pregnant.
In addition, pregnancy itself can increase the risk of developing vein problems, apart from the effect it has on hormone levels. A pregnant woman’s body produces a higher volume of blood in order to nourish the growing baby. But having more blood (and carrying around more weight) can be hard on the veins.
Those who are overweight and obese are at greater risk for vein issues than those of normal or underweight. This is because the excess weight presses on the veins, forcing them to work harder. In addition, many larger people are more sedentary than thinner people (though this is certainly not universally true), and long periods of sitting or standing interfere with venous return.
4. How Can I Prevent Varicose Veins?
There is no way to guarantee you will never experience vein issues, unfortunately. However, you can reduce your risk by doing a few things.
Getting Regular Exercise
Any exercise encourages good circulation, and muscle building in the legs can strengthen the flow of blood through the veins by strengthening the muscles around those veins.
When you eat a lot of sodium, your body retains water. This increases the pressure on your veins and can make varicose vein issues worse. By cutting down on salty foods, you can protect your veins.
Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes
If your clothes are too right, this may interfere with blood flow. It’s also a good idea to avoid wearing high heels, as these put a strain on the legs, including the veins.
Keep Those Legs Up
Your veins need to return blood from your legs to your heart, and that means they’re working against gravity. They are made to do this, but you can give them a break by sometimes letting gravity do the work. When you’re resting in the evening, or occasionally during the working day, take some time to put your feet up.
Get a Massage
A gentle massage in the areas where you are developing veins can help the blood keep moving and may help you feel better.
Just about the worst thing you can do for your veins is to stay in one position all the time, whether that’s sitting or especially standing. Whatever your job is, you need to keep moving regularly to keep the blood flowing.
Get Rid of Unwanted Veins for Good!
When preventative measures aren’t enough, and you’re tired of the aches and pains that come with varicose veins, come talk to us. If you want to be rid of them simply because you don’t like the look of them and want to feel confident in your own skin, come talk to us.
Don’t spend any more time feeling self-conscious about unsightly veins. Contact us today at Madison MediSpa in Waunakee, WI to learn more about foam sclerotherapy and set up a consultation.