Over half of Americans have varicose or spider veins that cause physical symptoms and feelings of self-consciousness. Unfortunately, people rarely receive adequate treatment. At Commonwealth Vein Center in Richmond, VA, we offer sclerotherapy to eliminate the spider and varicose veins causing you discomfort and pain.
What Should You Expect When You Get Sclerotherapy?
During your varicose vein treatment session, you will be asked to lie on your back with your legs elevated above your heart to assist with circulation if the varicose veins you need to treat are in your legs. If you are treating varicose veins elsewhere, the treatment area will be elevated above your heart to assist with circulation.
Once you are lying or sitting with the targeted area elevated above your heart, we will disinfect the injection sites. Then, we will administer the sclerosant solution inside the walls of the targeted veins. Once the injections are complete, we will massage the treated area gently to ensure blood can’t get back into the irritated vein. You should expect the treatment session to last between 15 and 30 minutes depending on the scope of the treatment you need.
Will This Treatment Hurt?
No, this Sclerotherapy treatment is not painful at all. There is no general anesthesia required so you will not have to sit through an observation period after your treatment session is over. Instead, you will be free to return to your life.
What Is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is an FDA-approved treatment for the elimination of spider and varicose veins. This treatment works by irritating the walls of disordered veins until they collapse. Once collapsed, the veins starve to death because blood can no longer flow through them. As they are starving to death, blood flows through healthier veins, improving the physical symptoms of varicose and spider veins immediately.
When Should You Seek This Sclerotherapy Treatment?
You should seek this treatment if you are suffering from the symptoms of spider or varicose veins and your quality of life is affected negatively. For example, now would be the appropriate time to seek treatment for your disordered veins if you can no longer walk as far or long as you used to because your legs are now sore and heavy all the time.
Similarly, now would be the appropriate time to seek treatment if you struggle to keep the skin in the affected area moisturized and itchiness keeps you awake at night. However, now would also be the appropriate time to seek treatment if you don’t have any physical symptoms other than visible spider or varicose veins. If the prominence of your veins is keeping you from feeling as self-confident as you could, consider scheduling a consultation for sclerotherapy.
What Should You Expect Before Your Treatment Session?
Before we can determine whether this treatment is appropriate for you, you need to come in for an initial evaluation. We will assess the veins that are causing you problems and review your medical history and the drugs and supplements you take regularly. If we determine you are healthy enough to receive this treatment, we will advise you regarding what you must do to prepare for the treatment.
How Do You Need to Prepare for This Treatment?
Your specific instructions for preparing for this treatment will depend on your lifestyle and the medications and supplements you take currently. You should stop taking all drugs and supplements that affect your blood’s ability to clot. Furthermore, stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Make sure you are hydrated and nourished before you come in for your appointment.
We strongly urge you to wear loose, comfortable clothing when you come in for your appointment. If you are targeting varicose or spider veins in your lower legs, consider wearing shorts. Don’t shave the treatment area the day before your scheduled appointment and don’t apply any cosmetics, like lotion.
What Should You Expect During Your Recovery Period After Sclerotherapy Treatment?
You should expect a rapid, comfortable post-treatment recovery process. To see the final results of your treatment as soon as possible, we strongly encourage you to wear prescription-strength compression garments during the first couple of weeks following your treatment session. You must also avoid excessive heat, unprotected sun exposure, and strenuous exercise for the first few days following your treatment.
What Causes Disordered Veins?
The role of the veins is to transport blood throughout the body, first being pumped out of the heart, then being returned to the heart. When the veins in your legs break down, blood pools in the legs’ veins. This results in the swelling of those veins. If they become too turgid, you may feel a painful burning sensation in the area.
Other common side effects of disordered veins are the feeling of weakness in the legs, the cramping of the muscles in the area, and moderate-to-severe edema. These symptoms often get so bad people seek treatment for their disordered veins.
One of the most common causes of disordered veins is your family history. If a direct family member has been diagnosed with varicose veins or another vein disorder, your chance of developing a vein condition increases significantly. If you’re not familiar with your family history, ask one of your parents if your parents, their parents, or your siblings have ever been diagnosed with a vein disorder.
You may also benefit from asking for a detailed family history. You never know when you will need to know about the medical conditions your parents have been diagnosed with. Also, research suggests your height affects your likelihood of developing a vein disorder. The taller you are, the farther your blood has to travel against the force of gravity to return to your heart. This extra work weakens the leg veins, increasing the likelihood of future degradation.
Your Activity Level
Your activity level can also affect your risk of developing a vein disorder. Luckily, you can alter your exercise habits to mitigate your risk of developing a vein disorder in the future. Whether sitting or standing, it is bad for your vein health to remain in one position for too long. You are at greater risk of developing disordered veins if you have a sedentary job. If you don’t want to change careers, make sure you are getting enough exercise weekly.
You should get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week by walking on your lunch break or riding bikes through your neighborhood with your daughter. You can get 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly by following along to a 15-minute YouTube tutorial for HIIT workouts. If you are trying to lose weight, you should aim for five hours of moderate exercise in a seven-day period or 2.5 hours of vigorous exercise in a seven-day period.
Your Body Fat Percentage
Your body fat percentage is another factor that affects your likelihood of developing disordered veins. The more fat you carry, the more blood your body has. This extra volume of blood places extra pressure on the valves that prevent the blood from pooling. Additionally, fat, especially abdominal fat, places a lot of pressure on your leg veins from the outside.
The bottom line is if you are obese, take steps to lose weight to mitigate your risk of preventable medical conditions, like varicose veins. Note, exercise promotes efficient blood circulation and reduces the risk of developing disordered veins. Nonetheless, if you’re obese, you need to focus on your diet as much as, if not more than, your exercise routine.
Your diet can also increase or decrease your likelihood of developing disordered veins. The higher your blood pressure is, the more likely you are to develop disordered veins. You can mitigate your risk of developing disordered veins by monitoring your consumption of sodium and caffeine closely and honestly. Most people are advised to consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine or two grams of sodium daily.
If you consume too much caffeine, the best thing you can do is to drink a cup of water and wait patiently for your body to flush it out. However, there are steps you can take to mitigate the effects of too much sodium. Include more potassium in your diet by eating unsalted almonds, bananas, and tuna. Just make sure you are tracking all of the calories you consume and burn if you are trying to lose weight.
Congenital Valve Dysfunction
Congenital valve dysfunction is the name of a medical condition characteristic of people being born with heart valves that did not develop completely. This condition can prevent the valves from shutting completely. This is a particularly significant problem with veins since the valves prevent blood from leaking as it fights gravity to return to the heart.
When a valve leaks blood, the blood can begin to pool in the area. Usually, leaking occurs in the legs. Pooling blood can cause such side effects as swelling and bruising. Note, not everyone who suffers from congenital valve dysfunction was born with valves that don’t close all the way. Some people who suffer from congenital valve dysfunction were born without these crucial venous valves in place at all.
Varicose and Spider Veins
The two most common kinds of vein disorders people seek treatment for are spider veins and varicose veins. This is because these medical conditions are easy to see. Nonetheless, many people don’t know the difference between these two similar conditions. It’s important to have an understanding of both of these conditions so you can decide whether treatment would be right for you.
Also known as telangiectasia, spider veins are little bundles of red or purple veins. The color of these small clusters of small veins can be mistaken for injuries, like bruises.
Blood can’t travel appropriately when the valves in these twisted veins don’t work. When a vein ceases to function completely, the body responds by making new veins. These newly developed veins branch ever closer to the skin’s surface. Eventually, they branch far enough that they become visible through the skin. Over time, this can cause varicose veins.
Varicose veins are similar to spider veins in that the venous valves do not function as they should. However, these veins are much larger in diameter and more twisted than spider veins.
Rid Yourself of Your Disordered Veins Today
You don’t have to live with itchy, uncomfortable, painful legs. You don’t have to feel self-conscious about the appearance of your hands or nose due to spider or varicose veins. Contact us today at Commonwealth Vein Center in Richmond, VA to find out if sclerotherapy is the ideal solution for eliminating disordered veins throughout your body.