If you’ve noticed red, blue or purple clusters or webs of tiny veins on your face or legs, then you’re probably dealing with spider veins. Here are some frequently asked questions about spider veins and treatment options.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are the small, purple, red or blue veins that appear on the face or legs. They often look like thin webs or branches, which is where spider veins get their name. These damaged veins aren’t painful or harmful, but often patients want them removed because they are a cosmetic concern.
What are risk factors that increase your chances of developing them?
Genetics play a huge role. If you have a family history of spider veins, you are likely to have them yourself. Women who are pregnant may notice spider veins as the extra weight and pressure on their leg veins during pregnancy can cause them. Women in general tend to get spider veins more often than men.
As vein valves get weaker over time, it’s no wonder that aging is a factor. Being overweight can contribute to the development of spider veins. Hormones also play a role because estrogen is known to weaken vein valves.
If you sit or stand for long periods of time, the veins in your legs have to work harder to pump blood toward the heart. If you have previous vein damage or a blood clot, you are more at risk.
What are treatment options for spider veins?
Your doctor may begin with conservative treatment such as suggesting that you wear compression stockings or socks to put pressure on the veins of the lower legs and encourage blood flow to prevent further vein damage.
Your doctor may recommend sclerotherapy, which is a highly successful treatment that involves injecting a saline solution into the diseased vein that irritates the wall of the vein. This causes the vein to stick together and close off from blood flow. The vein will fade or disappear over time.