Spider and Varicose Veins are common conditions that affect up to 50% of adults but are more common in women due to pregnancy and hormonal changes. For some, this condition can cause unsightly red and purple veins making a person feel self-conscious about showing their legs in shorts or skirts. For others, the condition can be physically uncomfortable, causing swelling, fatigue and pain. Spider veins and varicose veins are caused by structural abnormalities of blood vessels. Veins carry blood back to the heart from other parts of the body. They utilize a series of one-way valves to avoid backflow of blood. For a variety of reasons, these valves can become defective, allowing the backflow of blood within veins. Although this condition can manifest in any part of the body, it mainly affects the legs.
The Dr. Cárdenas Anti-Aging and Aesthetic Medical Center offers a variety of procedures to treat both Varicose Veins and Spider Veins.
Spider veins (also called telangiectasias) are clusters of tiny blood vessels that develop close to the surface of the skin. They are often red, blue, or purple; and they have the appearance of a spiderweb. They are commonly found on the face and legs. They are not clinically important but a problem aesthetically and therefore, are sometimes referred to as aesthetic varices or fine varicose veins.
There are a variety of different risk factors that increase the chances of a person getting spider veins and varicose veins including; advanced age, prolonged sitting/standing, obesity, pregnancy, hormone therapy (HT), birth control pills, injury, prior vein surgery, a history of blood clots, and a family history.
The two most common causes are family history and estrogen activity. Other factors that can make the varicose veins worse are:
- Obesity and weight overload can require a greater amount of circulating arterial blood volume that then must return to the heart through the venous system. This can overload the circulatory system.
- Prolonged sitting: When we do not walk, the plantar pump (from the soles of the feet) and the muscular pump of the legs are inactive, which slows blood flow, causing stagnation of the blood, increasing the risk of spider veins and increasing the number and size of spider veins, making them more visible and annoying.
- Prolonged standing can causeblood to pool in the leg veins, increasing the pressure within the The veins can stretch from the increased pressure which may weaken the walls of the veins and damage the valves.
- Oral contraceptives can have a negative vascular impact in some women causing fluid retention and/or edema which may have an effect on the worsening of spider veins.
- Hormonal changes in women during puberty, pregnancy and menopause may cause a worsening of spider veins.
Radiofrequency (RF) and Intense Pulse Light therapy (IPL) is the treatment of choice, at the Dr. Cárdenas Anti-Aging and Aesthetic Medical Center, for eliminating telangiectasias (spider veins) or fine varicose veins (less than 1.5 mm in size).
The procedure does not require surgery or anesthesia and can be performed in a doctor’s office. The treated veins should fade after several weeks. During the procedure you may feel hot snaps or a pinching sensation caused by the light pulses. Most people do not find this painful. There is no down time following the procedure and patients can resume normal activity immediately after the treatment.