Leg Veins / Varicose Veins
Our vascular system in very simple terms enables blood to be transported around the body delivering oxygen and essential nutrients to our cells which are vital for life. We have veins which carry de oxygenated blood from the body back to the heart and arteries that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the body. We have layers of deep and superficial vessels.
On some thin skinned individuals we can see the blue veins and also networks of capillaries which are commonly referred to as red thread veins.
The squeezing of leg muscles pumps blood back to the heart from the lower body. Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps. These valves prevent the blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs. If the one-way valves become weak, blood can leak back into the vein and collect there. This problem is called venous insufficiency. Pooled blood enlarges the vein and it becomes varicose. Spider veins can also be caused by the backup of blood. Hormone changes, inherited factors, and exposure to the sun can also cause spider veins.
Many factors increase a person's chances of developing varicose or spider veins. These include:
- Increasing Age;
- Having family members with vein problems or being born with weak vein valves;
- Hormonal changes. These occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Taking birth control pills and other medicines containing oestrogen and progesterone also increase the risk of varicose or spider veins;
- Pregnancy. During pregnancy there is a huge increase in the amount of blood in the body. This can cause veins to enlarge. The expanding uterus also puts pressure on the veins. Varicose veins usually improve within 3 months after delivery. A growing number of abnormal veins usually appear with each additional pregnancy;
- Obesity, leg injury, prolonged standing and other things that weaken vein valves;
- Sun exposure, which can cause spider veins on the cheeks or nose of a fair-skinned person.
On the legs and body Sclerotherapy is a treatment that is commonly used with great success and can also be used on smaller varicose veins, reticular veins, superficial visible veins and thread veins (fine veins that can be seen through the skin, also sometimes known as spider veins).
Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a substance into the unwanted veins to cause them to close down.
The injections are virtually painless, but the number of sessions you require may vary depending on the size or number of areas which need treatment.
For more advanced varicose veins where there are incompetent valves in other parts of the network surgical intervention is required. Click here to read more about our surgeons.
Sclerotherapy is a procedure designed to decrease the visibility and appearance of unsightly spider veins commonly found on legs and occasionally on other areas of the body.