Have you suddenly noticed small, discernable veins near the surface of your skin? If these veins remind you of the thin, threadlike design of a spider’s web, you probably have spider veins.
Spider veins can sound a bit intimidating, but are they something you should worry about? Could they cause medical complications or be a sign of a more serious medical problem?
This article covers everything you need to know about spider veins, how they form, why they form, and how you can treat them.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are a type of damaged vein categorized by a thin appearance and superficial placement. Spider veins usually appear to be threadlike or weblike and are delicate looking, especially when compared to the larger, protruding varicose veins.
The other qualification for defining spider veins is where they are located in the body. While varicose veins are located beneath the skin, spider veins are superficial, existing either in the layers of skin or within the epidermis, which is the top layer of skin.
How Do Spider Veins Form?
Spider veins form when they become damaged or when blood vessels burst.
Think about your circulation system and all the work your veins do to keep your blood moving to your heart. Your veins are designed to keep blood moving forward. Your veins have valves built into them that prevent backward blood flow so that everything keeps moving.
When these veins experience damage or are weakened, the blood isn’t able to flow as efficiently as it does through healthy veins. For this reason, blood starts to pool at the site of the damaged or weakened vein.
This damage and pooling are what cause both spider veins and varicose veins to form.
Why Do Spider Veins Form?
Some example causes that weaken or damage veins include:
- Excess pressure (such as trauma from a fall)
- Hormonal fluctuations (like pregnancy or menopause)
- Genetic factors (some individuals are predisposed to getting spider veins)
- Obesity (extra weight causes stress on the veins, which can make them rupture)
Spider veins, for reasons that are at this time unclear, become more prevalent in individuals who are over the age of 30.
Where Do Spider Veins Form?
While varicose veins usually appear on the legs and feet, spider veins can form anywhere on the body. Spider veins have been documented in areas like the face, ankles, and even the pelvic area. Of course, spider veins can also affect the legs.
When to Worry About Spider Veins
Spider veins are usually harmless. Their counterpart, varicose veins, are typically the painful, trouble-causing veins.
Although spider veins don’t usually cause any serious issues or complications, that doesn’t mean you can’t treat them. If you experience any sort of pain or discomfort near your spider veins, see a vein specialist for a consultation.
Spider Vein Treatments
There are several at-home and in-clinic treatments you can use to treat your spider veins.
Wearing compression garments, like compression socks, can help reduce the appearance of spider veins on your body.
This works because the compression improves blood flow, which helps slow the progression of your spider veins. Although this at-home treatment can help reduce the appearance of veins, it doesn’t eliminate them completely.
Exercise and Balanced Diet
A healthy lifestyle consisting of movement, exercise, and a balanced diet can help with spider veins also. Exercise improves circulation, and a balanced diet is critical for maintaining a healthy weight.
This in-clinic treatment is one of the most successful treatments for spider veins. Sclerotherapy involves injecting sclerosant into the damaged vein, which causes it to break down and eventually be absorbed by your body.
Your blood, in the meantime, is directed to healthier veins, which allows your body to maintain circulation while getting rid of the troublesome spider veins.
Laser therapy is another spider vein treatment option. It involves heating a vein until it dissolves and gets absorbed into the body. This treatment can successfully eliminate the appearance of spider veins.
How to Get Spider Vein Treatment
To learn more about spider vein treatments and to schedule an appointment, contact Metropolitan Vein and Aesthetic Center today.