Medical & Vein Centre > information > veins

Are abnormal, distended and lengthened torturous veins that mainly occur in the inner thigh areas and calf areas of the legs.

Varicose veins can be treated by
  • Sclerotherapy (small to moderate size)

  • Laser (EVLT) (moderate to large)

  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy (very large and those not suitable to sclerotherapy or laser)

These are small red to blue unsightly superficial veins that are very common in women. They usually affect the outer thighs, inner knees, calf and ankles.

Spider veins can be treated by
  • Sclerotherapy

Spider and varicose veins tend to be an inherited condition and there is often a strong family history.

We believe the causes of varicose veins are related to a weakness in the wall, which is probably a genetic tendency. This causes dilation of the vein and the valves in the vein wall fail to work, which results in the increasing spreading of this condition down the leg.

Things that tend to make varicose veins worse include:
  • Certain occupations with prolonged periods of sitting or standing.

  • Contact sport activities that induce high abdominal pressure, an example of this is weight lifting or playing a wind instrument.

  • Obesity tends to cause an increased amount of spider vein disease.

  • Varicose veins are aggravated by hormonal factors and it is not uncommon for varicose veins to exacerbate during pregnancy. Often these do not spontaneously remit, however many patients will comment that the onset of spider veins and varicose vein disease was aggravated by pregnancies.

  • Working in hot environments also tends to aggravate vein formation.

  • It is also noted that the combination of oestrogen and heavy smoking may be a factor in causing varicose vein disease.

  • Previous injury to a certain area may result in spider veins or development of varicose veins.

What measures can you undertake to help prevent or treat spider or varicose veins?

  • The wearing of compressive stockings. These are available at our centre.

  • The degree of compression tends to be related to the severity of the condition and this will be discussed at the time of your consultation.

  • Exercise, specifically ones that activate the calf pump muscles are very beneficial to maintaining normal venous functions. The exercises that I recommend are walking, dancing, golf, swimming and cycling.

  • Weight reduction is also an important factor in helping to relive the symptoms from varicose veins.

  • It is also reasonable to elevate the legs several times a day for a period of 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Occasionally people with severe varicose vein disease may have to modify their occupation to avoid excessive standing or sitting. Some people find cold showers of the feet useful and there are some agents used e.g. Paroven and Rutin, which help relieve the symptoms of venous disease.

The main treatment for spider veins and varicose veins is sclerotherapy. It is extremely safe and effective and has been used for many years for this condition. LASER is reserved for more significant disease

In this practice we assess your varicose disease and discuss with you the optimum treatment. It is then up to the patient to decide what course of treatment is most suitable for their needs. Despite whatever treatment is undertaken, one must realise that venous disease is a chronic disease and we can only treat the disease but can never cure the disease. Recurrence of varicose veins or new varicose veins is a very common phenomena.

However, with correct assessment of the patient and the excellent treatments available, good symptomatic and cosmetic treatments can be offered.

Firstly, for spider veins, the most common reason is for the cosmetic appearance. Unsightly spider veins cause significant psychological disturbance therefore patients are unhappy to wear shorts or go to the beach in summer because of comments made about their noticeable veins.

In regards to varicose veins, these tend to be symptomatic, associated with a burning, throbbing sensation down the leg, swelling at the end of the day and often cramps at night. Untreated varicose veins can lead to permanent damage to the leg, which may in time lead to ulceration, and it is well known that venous ulcers are extremely difficult to heal.

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