dark lump on leg that may be symptom of phlebitisHave you noticed an area on your leg that’s dark with a lump? This is a common symptom of phlebitis, the inflammation of veins. It can cause blood clots called thrombophlebitis if left untreated.

 

Let’s go over what causes phlebitis so you can better understand how to treat it.

What Causes Phlebitis?

 

Phlebitis has many causes, but the most common are:

  • Local trauma or injury to the vein
  • Prolonged inactivity like long drives or plane rides
  • Insertion of intravenous catheters (IV) in hospitals
  • IV induced after surgery, especially orthopedic procedures
  • Prolonged immobility, as in hospitalized or bed-ridden patients
  • Varicose veins
  • Underlying cancers or clotting disorders
  • Removal of lymph nodes after mastectomies

Phlebitis can also occur in individuals whose blood tends to clot. This is often caused by circulatory issues.

How to Treat Phlebitis

 

A short-term condition of phlebitis will usually subside in 1-3 weeks. During this time, there are many methods you can use to treat phlebitis including simple at home treatments. Here are some things you can try:

  • Blood thinners to prevent clots from enlarging
  • Compression stockings
  • Warm or cold compresses
  • Elevating the legs for better blood flow
  • Over-the-counter drugs such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Indocin
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain and inflammation (prescribed by a doctor)

ways to find relief for phlebitis leg lump pain

There are a number of  preventive measures you can take to avoid phlebitis and thrombophlebitis. Staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and quitting smoking can all help.

Can Phlebitis Turn into Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

 

If left untreated, phlebitis can increase the risk of blood clots in deeper veins. The development of a serious blood clot is known as deep vein thrombosis.

 

One of the primary risks of DVT is a clot breaking free of the blood vessel wall. The clot can then travel through the body into the lungs. It can lodge in a pulmonary artery and block blood flow back to the heart. This situation can be life-threatening.

 

When phlebitis causes deep vein thrombosis, hospitalization is often recommended. Combine this with anti-blood clot or blood thinner medications and close monitoring.

Filed under: Varicose Veins, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , , , , , ,

Brown-stained legs magnified to show blood leaking out of veins just under the skinDo you have any concerns about your legs turning a reddish-brown color? This could be an indication that the veins in question are suffering from hemosiderin staining and potential problems with their health.

 

As we get older, it’s normal for our skin to thin, dry out, and lose elasticity. But it can be more concerning when you notice unusual changes in color and texture on your knees, legs, or ankles. If you notice a brown discoloration on the lower legs, it could point out a problem with your veins. For this reason alone, it’s important to understand why brown skin stains appear and what you can do to treat them.

What Is Hemosiderin Staining?

 

Hemosiderin staining occurs when red blood cells leak through the veins and iron or other byproducts are released. The brown stain shows up on the skin as a result of this symptom, which can happen for several reasons.

 

What Causes Hemosiderin Staining?

Chronic Vein Disease

 

In addition to its unsightly appearance, hemosiderin staining indicates an underlying health condition. The reddish-brown discoloration on the lower legs is caused by chronic venous disease–the abnormal function of veins.

 

When your veins can’t pump blood back up to the heart properly, it pools in your lower legs. Symptoms start with slight skin irritations and itchiness, then manifest varicose veins. Other vein disease symptoms that can lead to brown staining are:

  • High blood pressure – veins force blood through the veins and sometimes through the skin.
  • Vein ulcers – slow-healing or non-healing wounds.

 

As blood continues to pool in the veins, its cells break down and leak iron pigments into the skin. Over time, this shows up as brown patches or stains on the lower leg or ankle. When unaddressed, the stain will darken and eventually may turn black. At this point, these symptoms are unfortunately permanent even when vein disease is treated. BUT! If caught early enough, chronic venous disease can be controlled and hemosiderin staining will fade.

orange personified as a person with brown-red stains on her legs, shows how it is caused by sclerotherapy needle

Sclerotherapy Staining Side-Effect

 

Sclerotherapy is one of the treatment options for vein disease and varicose veins. It involves the injection of a substance known as a sclerosant into the affected veins. This makes the veins reduce in size.

 

In some cases, this treatment may leave the patient with brown skin discoloration as a result of hemosiderin (iron) deposits. This discoloration is usually transient and disappears in a couple of weeks; however, in some people, the stain ends up being permanent.

 

If you are considering sclerotherapy treatment, consider the following factors that are associated with the hemosiderin staining side effect:

  • Dark skin type
  • Sensitive skin
  • Older patients with fragile veins
  • Taking certain medication
  • Experience of the vein doctor

Treating the Condition, NOT the Symptom

 

Most patients will go to a dermatologist or primary care physician for the skin condition, not the underlying vein disease of hemosiderin staining. As a result, they may not get an accurate diagnosis.

 

If you have brown skin discoloration on the knees, lower legs, or ankles, make an appointment with a vein specialist as this could be early signs of vein disease…especially if accompanied by achy, heavy, and swollen legs.

 

Early treatment of your vein disease may help lighten the brown stains caused by hemosiderin staining, and even keep them from getting darker. Once diagnosed, the goal is to reroute the blood to healthier veins and fade unwanted veins, stains, and pains. The sooner you treat your vein condition, the better you’ll feel and the fewer complications you’ll experience.

Filed under: Varicose Veins, Vein Health, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , , , , , ,

looking in mirror at veins on the face
Just when you thought the spider veins on your legs were a problem, you notice them on your face. Yikes! But not to worry, this is completely normal. The skin on the face is thin, sensitive, and constantly exposed to the elements. It’s the perfect storm to develop spider veins.

 

The good news is, facial spider veins are preventable…or if it’s too late, treatable! In this article, we’ll talk you through why the happen and how you can remove them for good. 

What Causes Spider Veins on the Face?

 

Spider veins form when the capillaries in the skin on your face become dilated. This happens from poor blood circulation and aging, damaged skin. Broken blood vessels on the face can develop at any age, but some people may have a higher chance of developing them than others.

 

Some causes of broken blood vessels on the face include:

  • Genetics: People with family members who experience spider veins are more likely to have them.
  • Excessive sun exposure: Sun damage can enlarge the blood vessels and draw them closer to the skin.
  • Changes in weather: Drastic changes in the weather can affect blood circulation, causing the skin in the face to flush. The blood vessels may burst and cause a spider vein. 
  • Changes in pressure: A sudden, extreme change in pressure can cause spider veins to appear. A hard sneeze or vomiting can cause this change in pressure. 
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy may also cause spider veins on the face. But they usually disappear after birth. 
  • Environmental irritants: Exposure to certain chemicals or environmental pollutants may damage the skin and make blood vessels more visible.
  • Rosacea: Rosacea is a common condition that causes fair skin to become flushed and red due to enlarged veins.
  • Alcohol consumption: Alcohol can dilate the blood vessels temporarily. Frequent alcohol consumption can lead to longer-lasting broken blood vessels and redness on the face. 
  • Injuries: Head injuries that cause bruising may cause broken blood vessels. In this case, the blood vessels usually heal when the bruise does. 

Treatment for Spider Veins on the Face

  • Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy uses injections of sclerosing agents to help spider veins disappear in a short period of time. 
  • Laser Therapy: Laser therapy uses intense laser lights to destroy spider veins. However, laser therapy can also damage the skin, which could make it sensitive during recovery.
  • Intense Pulled Light (IPL) Therapy: IPL therapy uses special lights that penetrate into the deeper layers of skin without damaging the top layer. This treatment may mean less recovery time and less damage to the skin. 

 

figure wearing a sun hat to prevent veins on the face

Home Remedies for Spider Veins on the Face

  • Cold compress: A simple cold compress, such as an ice pack or bag of frozen peas, can be applied to the face after sun or heat exposure. The cold may help reduce the appearance of burst blood vessels in the face.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar acts as an astringent on the skin, pulling it tight to reduce redness. This may help with the appearance of spider veins in some people.
  • Aloe vera: The gel from an aloe vera plant may be helpful in treating skin redness. Research has found that aloe vera could reduce redness but it tends to dry out the skin cells.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C supplements may help reduce the appearance of broken blood vessels on the face. It plays a key role in keeping the blood vessels healthy.

How to Prevent Spider Veins on the Face

  • Avoid extreme heat: Very high temperatures from spas, saunas, or hot water may dilate the blood vessels and increase the chances of spider veins appearing.
  • Limit sun exposure: Wearing sunscreen, a hat, and long layers of clothing can help reduce the chances of spider veins from sun damage.
  • Wear protection: Protective gear may help avoid spider veins caused by an injury. Examples include facemasks and helmets for baseball, cycling, or riding a motorcycle.
  • Avoid vasodilators: Vasodilators cause vessels to fill with blood and may make spider veins more noticeable. Common vasodilators include caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol. 

Spider veins cause no pain or additional symptoms. But it’s normal to be bothered by their appearance. If this sounds like you, try to determine the direct cause and take steps to treat it and avoid it from happening again. In some cases, broken blood vessels on the face may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Anyone uncertain about the cause of their spider veins should visit a vein specialist for a proper examination and diagnosis.

Filed under: Spider Veins, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , , , , ,
Leg with varicose veins on the left, doctor showing an image of a rectumTwo conditions may come to mind when you think of painful, bulging veins:
 
Hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
 
While both conditions affect the veins, they affect different body parts and require different treatments.
 
Hemorrhoids and varicose veins are both caused by malfunctioning venous valves. When your veins don’t function properly, blood flows backward, resulting in enlarged, sometimes painful veins.
 
The good news is both conditions are common and treatable.
 

Signs & Causes of Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum area. They can be internal, inside the rectum, or external under the skin around the anus.
 
Symptoms
Symptoms of external hemorrhoids include pain, swelling, itching, and bleeding.
 
External hemorrhoids cause discomfort. Straining or irritation when having a bowel movement can cause some bleeding.
 
Causes
Common causes of hemorrhoids include:
  • Pregnancy
  • Straining during a bowel movement
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Overweight
  • Eating a low fiber diet

Are Hemorrhoids and Varicose Veins the Same?

Hemorrhoids and varicose veins have the same root cause but different treatments.
 
Treatment for hemorrhoids:
  • over-the-counter creams
  • pads containing witch hazel or numbing agents.
  • regular soaking in a warm bath
  • taking oral pain relievers to control inflammation.
Treatment for varicose veins:

Can You Use Hemorrhoids Cream on Varicose Veins?

The ingredients used in hemorrhoid creams are ineffective in treating varicose veins. It is best to have your veins checked out by a vein specialist.
 

When to Seek Medical Treatment

See a doctor for hemorrhoids when:
  • you are experiencing blood in your stool or rectal bleeding
  • your hemorrhoids are painful and not healing
See a doctor for varicose veins when:
  • you have a sudden increase in pain
  • you experience calf swelling
  • you develop leg sores, throbbing, fever, red/discolored skin,
  • your leg feels warm to the touch
Filed under: Varicose Veins, Vein Health, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , ,
Paying for vein treatment
Getting rid of spider veins or varicose veins can seem like a daunting task. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, compression stockings, or non-invasive procedures.
 
Before you even consider making a doctor’s appointment, you may have a lot of questions like:
  • What treatments are available?
  • Does insurance cover it?
  • And of course, how much is it going to cost?
Let’s dive into pricing and insurance for spider veins and varicose vein treatment.

Common Vein Removal Treatments and Their Cost

How much it will cost to finally say goodbye to painful, unwanted veins for good?
 
Now, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer because different procedures have different costs. Let’s break down the price tags associated with each.
  • What is it? A common treatment for spider veins and small varicose veins. The vein is injected with a solution that breaks down the vein walls.
  • Does insurance cover it? No. It’s considered cosmetic.
  • How much does it cost? The average cost of a sclerotherapy treatment is about $350. The provider’s fee and geographic location will affect the cost.
  • What is it? Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) is a procedure used to treat varicose veins and patients with venous insufficiency. A catheter is inserted into the vein and delivers a high-frequency current to collapse it.
  • Does insurance cover it? Vein ablations for varicose veins are covered by most insurance plans. You will need to check your plan’s coverage as you may be responsible for a portion depending on your plan.
  • How much does it cost? The average cost of a vein ablation is about $1500-$2000 per vein out of pocket.

What Can Affect the Cost of Vein Procedures?

  • Medical versus Cosmetic: If you have a medical diagnosis of vein disease, your insurance may cover treatment. You still may be responsible for your copay or deductible depending on your plan. If it’s purely cosmetic, insurance will not cover it. 
  • The Number of Treatments: The reality is, you may need more than one treatment to get the best results. It can require up to four depending on the severity of your veins.

Insurance That May Cover Vein Removal Treatment

Medicare, most HMOs, and other major insurance plans will cover vein treatment if medically necessary. You may need to get prior authorization before the procedure. In most cases, your doctor’s office will get the necessary authorizations for you. Find out what insurance plans we take.
 

How to Identify Your Insurance Coverage

The best way to find out if vein treatment is covered by your insurance plan is to call. Give them detailed information about what treatment you need. You may need the provider’s information and procedure code, which you can get from the doctor’s office that is going to do the procedure.
 

What to Do if the Procedure Isn’t Covered

If your insurance does not cover the vein procedure, you may be able to pay out of pocket. You can also set up a payment plan with your doctor’s office or apply for Health Care financing through Care Credit.

Why Vein Procedures Are Worth It

Remember, paying for spider or varicose vein treatment is an investment in yourself. It continues to prove worthwhile to a growing number of our patients.
 
There will be no more leg pain or discomfort. You can get back to activities you love and show off your vein-free legs!
Filed under: Spider Veins, Varicose Veins, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , , ,

bulging veins on handsOur blood moves throughout the body via blood vessels. Sometimes they’ll appear as bulging or popping veins in the hands and feet.

These swollen veins can look weird and show off our age. The good news is most bulging veins aren’t really a sign of poor health. But there are instances where they may arise from an underlying disease.

Either way, we’ll go over what you need to know about bulging veins.

What Causes Bulging Veins in the Hands and Feet?

  • Aging: As we age, our skin gets thinner and less elastic, making our blood vessels more visible. It’s all a normal process of getting older.
  • Genetics: Having family members with bulging veins increases your chances of getting them.
  • Hot Weather: Heat can make veins more prominent and enlarged. They’ll work harder and become more visible.
  • Hormone Imbalance: Pregnancy or menopause can lead to a hormone imbalance. One of the symptoms is bulging veins. Varicose veins or bulging Pregnancy may also put pressure on veins, making it harder for blood flow to get back to the heart.
  • Exercise: Heavy lifting for long periods of time can make the blood flow increase. The muscles harden, causing more visible blood vessels. Over-stretching can also play a role in making veins pop out.
  • Blood Clots: Also known as thrombophlebitis, this condition can cause swollen veins that feel tough.
  • Body Fat Loss: Our skin has a layer of fat that serves as an insulator. When you lose weight, that layer thins, and can makes veins more visible.
  • Health Conditions: Underlying heart problems can cause a chronic increase in blood pressure. This weakens the veins and can cause popping.

Are Bulging Veins the Same as Varicose Veins?

Not all bulging veins are varicose veins and are generally harmless. If the popped-out veins cause pain and discomfort, that signals underlying problems from untreated varicose veins.

Can Bulging Veins Go Away?

Usually, bulging veins will go away on their own, especially from exercise or hot weather. If popping veins run in your family or come from underlying conditions, then you may need treatment to help them go away. That may include:

  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs can help decrease the swelling of bulging veins.
  • Sclerotherapy injects a chemical solution into targeted veins and makes them close.
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy is the removal of the targeted veins via small incisions. While you’re under general anesthesia, your doctor will make an incision, tie off the vein, and remove it. The blood that used to run in the vein is automatically shifted and the closed vein eventually fades away.

Cosmetic or Medical, Bulging Veins Can be Fixed

Bulging hand and foot veins are not a serious medical issue for the majority of people. But if you’re concerned that your popping veins are something serious — or you don’t like the way they look — make an appointment with a vein doctor.

If there’s a serious problem, they can recommend treatment. If you want them removed for cosmetic purposes, your doctor will make a suggestion for the best procedure. In the unlikely event, your bulging hand and feet veins are a sign of a more serious condition, your doctor will offer specific medical treatment.

Filed under: Vein Health, Vein TreatmentTagged with: , ,