Author: Dr. Oreste Di Mattei Di Matteo

Date: 21/11/2019

Sclerosing agents are the solutions used in sclerotherapy, the treatment used to effectively address problems related to blood vessels.
This particular medical procedure, sclerotherapy, although used in the vast majority of cases for purely aesthetic reasons, can also prove to be very valuable in combating swelling and localised disorders.  

Sclerosants: sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a foam or solution into the veins.
The injection is guided by an ultrasound scanner, which allows for more than one vein to be treated in the same session under local anaesthesia.
Varicose veins should disappear within a few weeks of treatment, but more treatments may be needed and there is a possibility that the veins may reappear. 

Sclerosants: how is it done?
Sclerotherapy, should only be carried out exclusively by experienced professionals as it is based on the use of special substances, the sclerosing agents or sclerosants.
The sclerosants are injected directly into the veins requiring treatment through special needles.
Due to their mechanism of action, these particular injectable chemical solutions, the sclerosants, once injected into the damaged blood vessels (veins, arterioles or capillaries)obstruct and close them. Specifically, the substances used in sclerotherapies act by irritating the lining of the blood vessel thereby causing them to swell and then clot; the end result of this process is the reduction of the unsightly appearance caused by damaged vessels and veins.

Sclerosants: causes
Damaged blood vessels are a problem that can manifest themselves in different ways.
The following all have an important influence on the health of the veins:

  • hereditary factors
  • lifestyle
  • smoking
  • alcohol
  • the use of certain types of medicines
  • biological ageing(varicose veins and similar conditions present themselves with a much higher incidence among older people).
  • obesity
  • standing for long periods of time
  • pregnancy
  • menopause
  • inflammatory skin diseases, such as rosacea
  • exposure to sunlight can also be a negative factor
  • taking oral contraceptives (according to many doctors, this may contribute to the emergence of these problems)

Sclerosants: venous insufficiency
Venous insufficiency
 occurs when the circulating venous blood stagnates due to excessive pressure and the drainage function is impaired.
Venous insufficiency is also caused by damage to the venous valves which normally prevent blood from flowing backwards.

Sclerosants: why do capillaries break and varicose veins form?
Certain factors can determine the onset and formation of capillaries and varicose veins, the most common causes of capillary fragility are: 

  • high blood pressure (pressure fluctuations affect blood drainage thus contributing to the formation of both broken capillaries and varicose veins).
  • weakening of the vessel walls
  • age
  • endocrine system and hormonal levels
  • obesity
  • yo-yo dieting, the increase and the sudden loss of weight repeated over time
  • physical exertion
  • sun exposure
  • gravity

What problems can be solved with sclerosants? Through sclerotherapy it is possible to counteract problems of various kinds:

  • Varicose veins, as we know, are a defect affecting the lower limbs, and consist of rather pronounced and unsightly dilations of the veins in which the vessels in question are visibly swollen and twisted.
  • Telangiectasia or spider veins are a problem affecting the blood vessels that can be counteracted with sclerotherapy and especially affects capillaries and other very small vessels. Where a case of telangiectasia occurs, the vessels in question are quite noticeable, albeit small, and lead to the onset of obvious skin discolouration in connection with the inflammatory process in which the skin is affected.
  • Haemorrhoids, vascularised lumps found at the end of the rectum and which can lead to a discharge of mucous.

Sclerosants: treatments
Unfortunately, once the capillaries have broken, conservative treatments, such as medications, oral supplements and topical products, are not very effective.

What results does sclerotherapy offer?
Treatments with sclerosants are especially important from an aesthetic point of view: the fact that blood vessels are visible on the legs or other points of the body, and perhaps even rather swollen as in the case of varicose veins, can be a great discomfort to the person affected, to the point of avoiding, as far as possible, anyone seeing them.

In addition to the aesthetic aspect, treatments with sclerosants can help to alleviate various discomforts such as:

  • heaviness
  • tiredness
  • localised swelling
  • discolouration of skin

Sclerosants: side effects
Sclerotherapy may have some side effects, including:

  • blood clots in other leg veins
  • headache
  • back pain
  • skin blemishes
  • fainting
  • vision problems (temporary)
  • stroke or transient ischaemic attacks

Sclerotherapy, in general, is safe, but you should rely on a professional who has a wealth of relevant experience in this field.
Side effects can occur, although in the vast majority of cases they are temporary.
If you undergo sclerotherapy, you may experience:

  • inflammation
  • allergic reaction
  • blood clots
  • blemishes
  • neo-vascularisation

Sclerosants: after treatment
Sclerotherapy treatment allows you to immediately return to normal activities. Graduated compression stockings or bandages should be worn for 1 week.
At the end of the treatment, it is very important to follow the doctor's suggestions carefully, in any case. Among the most common advice to follow is avoiding:

  • hot baths
  • sun exposure
  • saunas

avoiding exposure to significant sources of heat will be for a period that your doctor will specify precisely on a case by case basis. 

 Treatments with sclerosants help to improve the appearance of the skin in areas affected by blemishes related to veins and capillaries. 

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