Today’s Question: I have spider veins all over my legs. Spring Break is only five weeks away. Do I still have time to treat them before I leave? Rebecca, Silver Lake
A: Rebecca, it is very common this time of year for women to start to notice those annoying spider veins on their legs as they are trying on their shorts and bathing suits for spring break. The blue or red discoloration on their legs leaves many women feeling unhappy and embarrassed about their appearance. Spider veins can also age your legs making them appear older than you really are.
Spider veins often prevent women from enjoying a day on the lake, a spring break vacation, a golf outing or even just wearing shorts or skirts when their legs are exposed revealing the unsightly spider veins. Often women are too embarrassed to enjoy these activities, which can be the last straw prompting them to seek treatment.
According to Dr. Goldman, world-renowned venous disorder physician, an estimated 80 million Americans suffer with some degree of venous disease. Unfortunately, spider veins are caused by genetics and hormones. If you look back at your family history, more than likely others have struggled with spider veins too. Researchers don’t know exactly what causes spider veins, but they do know it is hormone related in women. Not to worry, Rebecca, nothing is wrong with your hormones causing the spider veins to appear. As much as we would like to, no health care provider can wave a magic wand and change your hormones or genetics, which means your struggle with spider veins could unfortunately be an ongoing battle. Much as wrinkle reducing treatments on the face, such as Botox, or having your routine dental visits require maintenance, the same is true of your leg vein treatments. Some women do not require another treatment for many years, and other women make new veins more quickly.
The gold standard of treatment for spider veins is still an injection treatment called sclerotherapy. During this relatively quick and painless procedure, small amounts of medication are injected inside the spider veins which causes them to dissolve. For the past 30 years, the medication Sotradechol® has been used to treat spider veins. Last year, a new medication called Asclera® entered the U.S. market. Many patients who had previously been injected with Sotradechol and tried Asclera for the first time reported much less bruising and discoloration after the procedure with very good results eliminating the spider veins. If you are getting ready to go on spring break, Rebecca, I would recommend treating your spider veins with Asclera. Regardless of which medication you choose, the preferred method of treatment is still with injection therapy. Patients can require one to four treatment sessions. The only restriction after the treatment is to avoid aerobic activity for one week. The spider veins you see on your legs now can be effectively treated; however, you may notice more appear in the future that will require additional treatments.
Laser treatments are also an option for spider vein treatments; however, this is much more painful, expensive and requires more office visits. Normal routine activities can be resumed immediately after the treatment.
Rebecca, I recommend you have your legs examined to see if you are a good candidate for spider vein treatment with sclerotherapy. In no time, you and your legs will be ready to hit the beach on your spring break vacation!
Jennifer Kauffman is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner, practicing in Warsaw and Ft. Wayne. She is a sought after speaker at medical conferences such as the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons. Jennifer is a member of American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and Coalition of Advance Practice Nurses of Indiana. She received her Nursing and Nurse Practitioner degrees from Goshen College, and Indiana Wesleyan University. Jennifer is a Clinical Instructor nationally to physicians and nurses on sclerotherapy.
Do you have a question for Jennifer, about this article or another cosmetic skin care issue? Please call Vein Institute & Medical Spa at 574-267-1900 to have your questions answered and considered for future columns. Questions can also be submitted online at www.veinmedicalspa.com.