Nobody wants to deal with varicose and spider veins, but vein diseases are quite common in the United States. About half of American adults have vein conditions, with more women than men experiencing the disease. And, about two in five women have varicose veins, while one in five men do.

But what are varicose and spider veins? What treatments are available? If you have them or know someone who does, you probably have a lot of questions about them. These are some common questions about varicose and spider veins, vascular surgeons, and varicose vein treatment options.

What causes varicose and spider veins?

Varicose veins are the result of some type of venous insufficiency. Blood is not properly pumped back up to the heart from your legs after delivering oxygen to the tissues in your legs. Instead, it pools in your legs and causes

What are the symptoms of varicose and spider veins?

Varicose and spider veins are visible under the surface of your skin. Both appear twisting. Varicose veins may appear dark bluish and are on your lower legs, while spider veins are purplish, reddish, or bluish and can be on your neck, shoulders, arms, and face. Varicose veins are larger, and can appear bulging or knotted.

When they become bigger, varicose veins can cause discomfort. You can have burning and aching legs, swollen legs, and redness. When varicose and spider veins become too unsightly for you to deal with or they start to cause symptoms, you need to seek vascular surgeons for spider or varicose vein treatment.

What do vein doctors do?

Vein doctors diagnose and treat vein conditions, including varicose and spider veins. They use imaging techniques such as Doppler imaging to get an accurate picture of your veins and the blood flow through them.

Vascular surgeons are vein specialists and medical doctors. Vein doctors often have additional qualifications, such as being members of the American College of Phlebectomy or having board certifications with prestigious medical organizations in the U.S.

How can you get rid of varicose and spider veins?

A variety of options are available for spider and varicose vein treatment. Sclerotherapy is among the most common and effective approaches for spider veins and smaller varicose veins. It involves injection of a solution into your vein so the vein walls die. That leaves no place for the blood inside to pool, so the offending vein eventually disappears. You can do this procedure in less than an hour at a vein clinic.

Vein ligation or stripping is another method, but it is less common nowadays. More modern methods include endovenous laser treatment, or EVLT, which uses a laser to destroy the vein wall and force the blood out. Ambulatory phlebectomy is effective for larger surface veins.