Are you bothered by bulging veins in your lower legs? Do you feel discomfort or pain, especially after a long day of work? Do you experience swelling in your calves or ankles? If so, your veins are most likely diseased. Diseased veins don’t just affect your aesthetic or comfort problem. They can severely affect your health. At Coastal Vein in Corona Del Mar, CA, we are proud to offer several FDA-approved treatments for diseased veins. Today, we highlight sclerotherapy and how this amazing treatment can change your life.
What Is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is an FDA-approved treatment method for the elimination of diseased spider veins and varicose veins. It involves the injection of a solution, usually a saline (saltwater) solution, into the walls of diseased veins at strategic points. This solution irritates the walls of the veins, leading to their eventual collapse. Once the vein collapses in on itself, no blood can pass through it, and it will eventually starve and die.
Don’t I Need All My Veins?
There are two types of veins in your body. There are superficial veins, which are the smaller blood vessels found closer to the surface of your skin, and deep veins, which are larger blood vessels found deeper within your body. There are so many veins in your body that you don’t need every single one for your blood to be pumped efficiently.
More importantly, your diseased veins pump blood ineffectively. That’s why localized blood pooling, edema and other side effects occur. Once the sealed veins die, your blood is re-routed to healthy veins. The venous blood in your legs will pump against gravity back to your heart more efficiently and you will no longer experience pooling or swelling in your lower extremities.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
The injection process itself only takes between 15 and 30 minutes. During your initial consultation, we will assess how many veins you need to be treated, their size and their location. We will also conduct a physical examination to evaluate your current health. After that, we can tell you approximately how long the treatment will take.
One of the best things about this treatment is there isn’t a lot of downtime involved. Once your treatment session is finished, you are free to return to work. The biggest thing you have to do after treatment is to avoid aerobic exercise for two to three days and wait patiently for your veins to die off.
What Else Do I Need to Avoid?
For the first 48 hours after your treatment, avoid taking NSAIDs and other drugs and supplements that can thin your blood. You may use Tylenol if necessary. You should also avoid hot compresses, direct exposure to sunlight, whirlpools or saunas and hot baths. Effectively, you need to keep the treatment site from getting too hot.
What Is Encouraged After Treatment?
There are two things we strongly recommend for the first several days after your treatment. First, walk regularly. Walking helps your body circulate blood and strengthens the tissues around your blood vessels.
Second, wear your compression hosiery as instructed. If you already have compression garments from prior varicose vein treatments, bring them in with you to your consultation. We will ensure they still offer adequate compression. If not, we will provide you with a prescription for the ideal compression garments.
What Should I Do to Prepare for Treatment?
Just as there is nearly no after-care required, there’s not a lot you need to do in advance of your injection therapy. Bring a list of all OTC and prescription drugs you’re taking, as well as any herbs or dietary supplements to your first appointment. We will advise you on what you need to stop taking for 48 to 72 hours before your treatment. Such medications include ibuprofen and aspirin. You may take Tylenol if you feel any pain or discomfort before your treatment.
Contact us if you are taking an antibiotic within two weeks of your scheduled treatment. We may have to reschedule your appointment as antibiotics may affect the results of your treatment. Finally, do not apply any lotions or creams to your legs the day of your treatment.
How Long Do the Results of Sclerotherapy Last?
The results of sclerotherapy are considered permanent. Once the veins die, they cannot be revived. Once they shrivel up and are absorbed by surrounding tissues, they are gone for good. It’s essential, however, that you understand your varicose or spider veins may reoccur in the future. This is because sclerotherapy treats the symptom of the condition (diseased veins) rather than the root cause.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are caused by damaged or weak vein valves and walls. This occurs when there is an excess of blood pressure inside your veins. Common causes of excessive venous blood pressure include constipation, tumors, pregnancy and obesity.
Inside your veins are one-way valves that open and close to ensure your blood remains flowing back towards your heart. When the valves or walls in your veins become damaged or weakened, blood can pool. In severe cases, it can even flow backwards due to the powerful effect of gravity. This condition is known as reflux.
How to Cure Varicose Veins
While sclerotherapy treats varicose veins, it doesn’t cure them. The cure for varicose veins depends on the cause of the ill veins. If your varicose veins are caused by pregnancy, there’s nothing you can do but wait to give birth. During pregnancy, the volume of blood in your body can increase by up to 35%. This causes enormous pressure inside your veins, resulting in their weakening and failure.
Pregnancy also makes you carry a lot of weight in your lower abdomen. In turn, this puts pressure on the veins in your lower extremities. To treat varicose veins during pregnancy, wear compression garments as recommended by your vein specialist and keep your legs elevated above your heart when you sleep or rest.
Obesity is one of the leading causes of varicose veins. To cure varicose veins so they do not occur again, you need to eliminate their trigger. If your varicose veins are caused by obesity, lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. Even a 10% loss in body weight can make an astounding difference on your quality of life.
Eating healthy, appropriately portioned meals accounts for 90% of your weight loss journey. While it’s easy to eat half a pizza while you’re inebriated, there isn’t enough time in the day to burn off all those excess calories. Try to add more whole foods by shopping the outer edges of the grocery store. If you can’t live without pasta, make your own with whole wheat flour, quail eggs and water. Avoid buying heavily processed pasta from the store.
Besides a healthy diet, you need to exercise regularly to stay healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Heart Association, you need to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular workouts in each week. Alternatively, you can get 75 minutes of intense cardiovascular activity weekly.
If your goal is weight loss, aim for at least 300 minutes of moderately intense cardio or 150 minutes of extremely intense cardio each week. If you don’t have time for an hour of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week, break it up into 15- or 30-minute workout sessions. You can wake up 15 minutes earlier and get a cardio session in, then go for a 15-minute walk on your lunch break. You just need to manage your time effectively and listen to your body when it needs hydration or rest.
Alternative Treatment Methods for Varicose Veins
During your initial consultation, we may find that sclerotherapy is not the ideal treatment method for your varicose veins. If this is the case, there are alternative therapies. For example, compression garments are often recommended for mild cases of damaged veins. Compression garments, such as compression stockings, provide pressure which supports the health and function of your blood vessels. It prevents your condition from deteriorating and helps your blood flow in the right direction, preventing swelling.
Moreover, elevating your legs above your heart is a great way to help your blood flow. It allows the powerful force of gravity to help your blood return to your heart. Other things you can do to prevent mild cases of swelling are moving regularly. Prolonged periods of sitting or standing can cause swelling or blood pooling. If you have a job where you sit or stand for long periods, walk to the restroom or kitchen periodically to help get your blood flowing again.
Learn How to Get the Legs of Your Dreams Today
To learn more about sclerotherapy and discover if it is right for you, contact the dedicated vein experts at Coastal Vein in Corona Del Mar, CA today to schedule your initial consultation. We will assess the health and function of your veins and help you determine the best diseased vein treatment for your unique aesthetic and health needs.
Once treated, with either sclerotherapy or an alternative, you can confidently lounge in your favorite bathing suit on Newport Beach alongside everyone else with perfect legs. Contact Coastal Vein in Corona Del Mar, CA at (909) 584-3515 today to set up your appointment.