Spider vein treatment
Chandroutie Santoo-Vazquez, FNP-BCOnline skin consult
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About Spider veins
Spider veins are small, damaged blood vessels that commonly appear on the surface of the legs or the face. These broken blood vessels are usually blue, purple, or red in appearance. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but are smaller in appearance and only raise slightly from the skin.
Weakened valves in the legs make it difficult for veins to carry blood from the lower body back to the heart. Blood begins to pool in the vein, causing it to bulge. Spider veins are generally painless, and cause few - if any - symptoms. Individuals usually choose to treat spider veins based on appearance, not a medical emergency.
Spider veins are highly common.
- Genetics: Nearly 90% of people with spider veins have a family history of them.
- Age: Valves in blood vessels weaken as you get older. Weakened valves can result in a lack of blood flow from the legs back to the heart, causing spider veins.
- Sex: Women generally are affected by spider veins more than men.
- Weight: Being overweight can put extra pressure on veins in the lower body, weakening valves in the blood vessels.
- Pregnancy: Hormone changes during pregnancy, and the extra pressure put on the legs through added weight can affect blood flow from the lower body. In many cases, spider veins go away after pregnancy.
- Prolonged sitting: Veins have to work extra hard to push blood back to the heart when you sit for a long period of time. Because of this, you may begin to notice spider veins appearing in the legs if you spend too much time sitting.
- Blood clots: If you have a history of blood clots, you may experience blood flow problems. This can result in spider veins.
- Hormone changes: Hormone changes caused by pregnancy, menstruation, or birth control medication can increase the risk of spider veins.
Most individuals seek treatment for spider veins based on their appearance. However, swollen blood vessels can lead to complications if they burst or cause pain in the legs. If spider veins begin to feel tender, itch, or if you experience swelling in the legs or feet, contact your health care provider right away. If left untreated, severe spider veins can result in infection and inflammation.
Below are common treatment options for spider veins. During your appointment, talk to your health care provider about the treatment plan that’s right for you.