Spider Veins: Symptoms, Treatment

Overview

Spider veins are thin and usually red capillaries that may occur when the vein wall is weakened for some reasons. They are so named because they have the appearance of a spiderweb. Sometimes, spider veins are also called telangiectasias.

Spider veins can appear in every part of the body, but most often appear on the legs and face. The disease becomes more prevalent with age and affects about 30-50% of adults in America. They are more common in women than in men.

Causes

Spider veins are caused by structural abnormalities of blood vessels. Veins carry blood back to the heart from other parts of the body. They use a group of one-way valves to avoid backflow of blood. If these valves are damaged, the backflow of blood within veins may occur. When the pooling of blood and pressure increase within the vein, the blood vessel wall may be weakened. Spider veins then develop from the engorgement and dilation of the affected blood vessels.

Conditions that may increase your risk of developing spider veins include:

  • Age over 50
  • Female gender
  • Prolonged sitting/standing
  • A family history of spider veins
  • Prior injury or surgery to the veins
  • Using birth control pills

Symptoms

In most cases, spider veins cause no symptoms or signs other than red or bluish-purple blood vessels visible on the skin. But some people may experience these symptoms:

  • A mild dull discomfort
  • Burning sensation in the affected area
  • Pain and achiness after standing or sitting for a long time

Diagnosis

Diagnosing spider veins is rather easy because of its typical symptoms. Your doctor can confirm the diagnosis by looking at the red or bluish-purple blood vessels that are shaped like spiderwebs through your skin.

Treatment

Generally, spider veins do not need treatment plans. In some people, support stockings may decrease the size of existing spider veins and help to prevent new ones. Two other treatment options for spider veins include:

  • Sclerotherapy

This procedure involves injecting a salt solution directly into the affected area, causing the veins to collapse. The area may be tender for a few days and it may bruise, but bruising should fade over a few weeks.

  • Laser surgery

Laser surgery works by sending strong bursts of light into the vein that make the vein slowly fade and disappear. No incisions or needles are used.


Keyword: spider veins; telangiectasias.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.