When you have varicose veins, you kinda feel like you’re the only person in the entire world who has them — even though roughly 50 percent of the female populationdeals with the same situation.
But you don’t have to resort to wearing pants for the rest of your life. There are treatments that can help get rid of spider and varicose veins, so you can gain regain confidence in your beautiful stems.
Varicose veins explained
They seem to come out of nowhere. One day, you have flawless legs and the next they are marked by blue-tinged, raised veins. So where ever did they come from? Blame pregnancy, weight gain, or your body type. All three of these factors are thought to be the culprits leading to faulty valves in your veins, which in turn slows down regular blood flow and causes veins to become swollen and twisted at the surface of your skin, according to Assistant Professor of Surgery and Director of Johns Hopkins Vein Centers, Jennifer A. Heller, MD, FACS.
Varicosities (and their cousins, spider veins) may first rear their ugly heads in your late twenties and continue to worsen with age. Though mostly a cosmetic concern, the condition can also be quite painful. Some women complain of leg discomfort and pain, especially after standing for long periods of time.
Treatments for varicose veins
So, what can you do about varicose veins? For decades, doctors recommended simple steps like pulling on compression socks and elevating your feet to combat swelling and pain. But modern treatments are much more savvy — and, best yet, successful.
VNUS Closure: VNUS Closure (also known as “Closure Fast”) uses radiofrequency energy to close and eliminate varicose veins. Doctors place a tiny catheter into the troubled vein, which delivers heat (via radio waves) and causes the vein to shrink, and eventually close. Blood is then re-routed to healthier veins. VNUS Closure generally takes minutes to complete, is practically painless, and is covered by most health insurance plans.
Endovenus Laser Treatment: Another option, called Endovenus Laser Treatment (EVLT), uses a laser instead of heated radio waves to shrink and close down varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy involves an injection of a solution (generally a salt solution) directly into the vein, according to Web MD. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to collapse and stick together and the blood to clot. Over time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view. Sclerotherapy has been in practice since the 1930s.
All three methods are far less invasive procedures than vein stripping, which involves the removal of the troubled vein through surgery.
Quick ways to cover up
Looking for more of a quick fix? While you can always cover up with a pair of fun tights or stockings, nobody wants to wear those in the summer. So when it is time to pull on the shorts and skirts, try camouflaging your veins with makeup like Cover FX and Dermablend Leg and Body Cover. Both match your skin tone and stay put for hours, even after swimming. Beauty experts recommend first using an all-over body moisturizer, then applying makeup with your fingertips in a sweeping, up and down motion, blending well.
Whether its makeup or a more permanent procedure, talk to a specialist about which one is right for you. To find a specialist in varicose veins near you, check out the Vein Directory.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.
Originally published June 2008. Updated March 2017.