As a medical professional, I know that the internet can be a great way for people to learn about procedures, to look at before-and-after pictures, and often, to find a great doctor. There’s a downside to the internet sometimes too, though, because it can also be a place where really bad advice and myths about medical conditions can get thrown around as fact, leading vulnerable people to “information” that just isn’t true.
A perfect example of this is spider and varicose veins. There is so much misinformation about these conditions floating around, from the causes and treatments to what you can and can’t do about them. As a physician assistant, it’s really important to me that patients have accurate information, that they know what’s fact and what isn’t, and can use that to make the best decision for themselves. Here are a few of the biggest myths out there about veins on the legs, and how to get rid of them.
Myth #1: Spider and Varicose Veins Are No Big Deal
This depends on what you classify as a big deal. Both are certainly unsightly, and can make you feel self-conscious, which is a big deal, especially when you just want to put on that adorable new dress and head out to enjoy a sunny day!
Medically speaking, there are differences between spider veins and varicose veins, which are occasionally a big deal. Spider veins are tiny (less than 1mm), they’re close to the surface of the skin, and they rarely cause physical problems much worse than itching or a slight burning sensation. Varicose veins are larger (3mm or more), they start deeper and can protrude out, and depending on the severity, they can lead to significant issues like blood clots. For more serious varicose veins, it’s best to see a vascular specialist, who can determine the best course of treatment for you. But for spider veins and minor varicose veins, treatment usually just involves an easy in-office appointment.
Myth #2: Home Remedies Can Fix Spider and Varicose Veins
Type “cures for spider and varicose veins” into a search engine and you are likely to find many, many home remedies that promise to heal them naturally. I am just going to save you some time and tell you that, for varicose and spider veins, home remedies just don’t work. A lot of these may be great for other things: massages certainly have many benefits, “dry brushing” your skin can help you exfoliate, and pineapple might be your favorite food – yes, that’s actually out there! But none of these (or the other 397,000 results) have been proven to treat existing spider and varicose veins, or to prevent them from occurring.
Myth #3: You Can Prevent Spider and Varicose Veins
Unfortunately, no. There is no way to completely prevent either condition. But that said, there are a lot of things you can do to help minimize your risk and discomfort. Exercising, watching your weight and eating a high-fiber, low-salt diet are good ideas (honestly, no matter who you are). You can also do things that help improve your circulation: avoid high heels and tight hosiery, elevate your legs, and regularly change your sitting or standing position.
Myth #4: You Can’t Treat Spider and Varicose Veins
There is a lot of confusion out there about the treatment of spider and varicose veins. Many people just say, “They are hereditary, so nothing can be done.” That is absolutely a myth.
The #1 treatment method for spider and minor varicose veins is sclerotherapy. This is a minimally invasive procedure, that only takes about 15 to 45 minutes. We inject your spider and small varicose veins with a tiny amount of a sclerosant solution, which causes a tiny, intentional “injury” to the targeted vein, damaging its lining. Soon after, your body’s natural healing processes will take over, reabsorbing the damaged vein just like it would any other kind of injury. Over the period of a few weeks, the veins on your legs will simply fade from view. Although it varies from person to person, you may need two or three treatments, each spaced a few weeks apart, to see your best results.
Along with sclerotherapy, we offer many other surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures at Azul. If you’d like more information, please visit our website at www.azulbeauty.com, or give our office a call at (239) 415-7576 to book an appointment or free consultation.
Spider and varicose veins can be embarrassing, there is no myth about that. But sclerotherapy can greatly improve the look of your legs, minimizing the visible veins and helping alleviate your discomfort. Now, while it’s still winter, is the perfect time to come into Azul and find out how sclerotherapy can help you look and feel wonderful, in plenty of time for the start of summer!