Most people don’t think about their vascular health until they notice something that worries them. Then it’s hard to stop thinking about it.
If you’ve developed spider veins, you might wonder if you did something wrong or if they’re a warning sign of a more serious condition. While spider vends tend to be harmless, if they appear in a highly visible area or are painful or irritating, the concern grows into anxiety.
The short answer: you have nothing to worry about. Here, we’ll discuss what they are, how they form, and our recommended treatments.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are small, thin blood vessels that rise to the surface of the skin and are easy to see as a result. They tend to look like strands of spiderwebs or tree branches and are much darker and more prominent than most veins.
They are very common; nearly half of all American adults develop spider veins. Even though they’re common, they can still cause anxiety.
Backflow of blood from damaged vessels (called “venous reflux”) causes spider veins. Since the valves don’t work as well, blood builds up in the vessels and makes them swell beyond their normal boundaries.
Aging, changes in hormones, obesity, and a lack of exercise all increase the risk of spider vein development, as can exposure to sunlight and an existing family history of spider veins.
How Are Spider Veins Treated?
Non-surgical spider vein treatments are ideal compared to many other medical procedures. They are very effective, go no deeper than the surface of the skin, and require minimal recovery time. Spider veins can be treated in several ways.
Compression stockings around the affected limb put pressure on the veins, which reduces their swelling and forces blood through the valves at a normal rate. While these sleeves don’t remove the veins themselves but do improve their symptoms.
In sclerotherapy, your doctor injects a solution that collapses the swollen spider veins. The body absorbs the destroyed veins into the body and automatically redirects blood flow. A single treatment takes about an hour, and most patients only require 2-4 treatments.
Laser probe treatment and surgical vein removal are also options.
How Can I Prevent Spider Veins?
Ultimately, there’s no way to prevent them entirely. But weight loss, exercise, support stockings, and wearing flat, comfortable shoes help reduce your risk.
Frequent leg movements also help, especially when sitting or standing in one place for long periods of time. This is especially helpful if you work a job at a desk, and don’t get the chance to move around very often.