Varicose Veins: Causes and Treatment

Updated: August 25, 2017

Varicose veins develop as blue and purple curving lines under the skin, typically on the legs including the calves and shins, thighs and feet. While not a technical term, spider veins and have the appearance of broken glass or a non-uniform spider web and can appear anywhere on the body but are generally found on the arms, stomach, back, face, neck and buttocks. Varicose and spider veins affect between 50 – 55% of women and 40 – 45% of men.

Spider veins and varicose veins have different causes. Varicose veins are caused by valve failure in the veins, while spider veins are caused by the rupture or hemorrhage of a blood vessel or vein. While varicose veins can only appear on the legs, spider veins can appear almost anywhere on the body.

Causes of Varicose Veins

Spider veins and varicose veins each have different causes. Varicose veins, which will only appear on the legs, are caused by valve failure in the veins. The veins of the legs, in particular, have a great number of miniature valves that prevent gravity from pulling blood down toward the feet on its journey back to the heart. When the valves fail and blood does begin flowing backward toward the ground, the veins swell under the skin and appear on the surface.

Causes of Vein Valve Failure

There are three common causes of varicose veins: Age, trauma and genetics. These are normally the main reasons for vein valve failure, the most common being age. Over the years, the valves simply wear out. However, some people’s genetics worsen the risk for them to develop varicose veins. And, damage or trauma to the veins — from a car accident, for example — can also produce varicose veins.

Other Causes of Varicose Veins

In addition to the three most common causes for varicose vein disease, others include

  • Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause
  • Pregnancy and the extra weight and strain it puts on a woman’s legs
  • Obesity, because of the load, the legs are forced to carry
  • Sedentary jobs, because of lack of movement, put pressure on the valves to work harder

Treatment of Varicose Veins

There are a number of options the varicose vein specialists at 1960 Family Practice have for treating varicose veins, including the following:

  • Endothermal ablation: The purpose of the procedure, commonly referred to as laser therapy, is so a varicose vein doctor can close off the blood supply leading to the surface of the skin using high-frequency radio waves.
  • Sclerotherapy: This is also a means of stopping the supply of blood to the swollen or hemorrhaged vessel close to the surface of the skin. Your vein specialist will use a saline solution is used to cause a collapse of the vessel’s wall lining.
  • Surgery: The veins are removed, by a vein surgeon, from beneath the surface of the skin.
  • Compression stockings: A pain relief measure, compression stockings use pressure to encourage blood flow back the heart and discourage blood pooling in your legs. This helps to reduce swollen and painful legs.
  • Transilluminated powered phlebectomy: Largely noninvasive, this procedure removes varicose veins from under the surface of the skin using a suction tube following a minor incision.

If you would like more information about treatment for varicose veins or spider veins and you are located in the Greater Houston area, please contact us by calling (281) 586-3888, or filling out an appointment request to request a consultation with one of our varicose vein doctors in Houston, Spring, The Woodlands, or Cypress today.

3 Ways Your Clothing and Footwear Could Be Damaging Your Veins

Updated: August 25, 2017

There’s much to love about clothing and footwear. For example, they provide you with opportunities to showcase your personality, creativity and style. At the same time, some types of clothing and footwear can be damaging to your health, more specifically you could be causing damage to your veins. Below, you’ll find our vein specialist has shared some ways in which you could be harming your veins without knowing it.

1. You Wear High Heels

If you wear high heels often, your veins could be in trouble. The good news is that your health is probably not at risk, but the appearance of your legs could be. Spider veins and varicose veins may be common among high heel lovers because the shoes change your regular gait. Your toes bear more weight, causing your calf muscles to contract. Blood does not move through your legs as efficiently, and when it pools, varicose veins may result. And in some cases, varicose veins prove to be dangerous to a person’s health. Blood clots or ulcerated skin are potential outcomes.

If you love wearing high heels, you don’t necessarily need to quit. You may just want to reserve the heels for special occasions. Also visit a varicose vein specialist sooner rather than later, if you have any concerns.

2. You Pull on Skinny Jeans Most Days

Skinny jeans may look great (and feel great) on you. However, too-tight jeans may decrease blood circulation in your body; your pelvic area could be especially at risk. The danger to your veins is that sluggish circulation could cause blood to pool. As with high heels, wearing skinny jeans selectively can help combat this problem. This will cause vein damage that will result in leg pain.

3. Girdles Are Your Best Friend

Girdles are tight. Really tight. So approach them with caution if you want to avoid unsightly and damaged veins. Ditto with other kinds of shapewear, as well as control top pantyhose.

You’ve probably noticed a pattern by now: Tight fits aren’t great. With that in mind:

  • Ditch any super-tight pants that leave angry red indentations on your skin when you undress. You need bigger pants.
  • Give your belt more space to work with if it’s leaving these red marks, too.
  • Wear compression stockings if you want. Yes, they’re tight, but they actually promote blood circulation in your legs which will discourage vein disease.

Speaking of compression stockings, you may find a lot of information online that high heels and too-tight clothing causing varicose veins and spider veins is a myth. While there’s no smoking gun that definitely proves a connection between the clothing and varicose veins or spider veins, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence. Plus, if you wear high heels, girdles or skinny jeans repeatedly for years, they will take a toll on your body. That’s a lot of pooled blood. These garments are not good for your health in general, so you are doing your health a favor if you reduce how often you wear them.

Unfortunately, even if you skip the girdles, skinny jeans and high heels, you could still end up with unattractive veins. Most vein doctors will agree that common causes of spider veins and varicose veins include obesity, skin injuries, blood clots, birth control pills, frequently standing for long periods and genetics.

How Do You Prevent Spider Veins or Varicose Veins?

To possibly starve off spider or varicose veins, try to walk for at least 30 minutes daily, maintain a healthy weight and avoid prolonged standing.

If you suspect that you already have vein damage make an appointment with a vein specialist. They will review your vein treatment options that might include surgery, intense pulsed light therapy, sclerotherapy, radiofrequency occlusion and endovenous laser treatment. Each of these treatments can help reduce the appearance of these veins. If you are located in Houston, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, The Woodlands, or any of the surrounding areas, you can make an appointment with one of our vein doctors.