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What causes varicose veins and spider veins? Is there a way to get rid of them?

Your heart pumps blood to fuel your muscle tissues. That blood returns to the heart, however, in a slightly different way. As you move your muscles, they milk the blood back up the veins. Valves in those veins ensure that the blood moves in the right direction. As you age, those valves can weaken, get pulled apart and leak. "As they leak, they fill those veins with too much blood. And they swell up and look like big worms," Dr. Oz says.

For large, painful varicose veins, Dr. Oz says you should have them removed. "If you're not having any problems with it, don't worry about it, it's not a big deal. But if you really don't like them or they're hurting a lot or they're unsightly, we have operations."

Dr. Oz says there are two common treatments—saline injections and lasering. The saline injections burn the walls of the veins, causing them to collapse so no blood can get in and making them disappear. Laser therapy works similarly by inducing scarring to prevent blood from reaching those same veins.

Why would you choose one procedure over the other? It depends on your skin tone, Dr. Oz says. For instance, lasering doesn't work as well on darker skin tones, he says.

Whichever treatment you choose, both are simple, don't require an overnight hospital stay and last forever, Dr. Oz says.
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FROM: Ask Dr. Oz
Published on February 13, 2007
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

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