Do you have thin blue, purple or red veins on your legs, feet or face? These unsightly veins, called spider veins, emerge for many reasons including pregnancy changes, genetics and lifestyle. While not dangerous to your health, spider veins can be a sign of underlying health concerns that you may want to address with your physician.
What Are Spider Veins?
Technically, spider veins are recognized, as extremely thin veins less than 1 mm in diameter on your face or legs that look like a fine pen line, spider web-like maze, or “starburst”. Because these veins are just under the surface of the skin, you can most likely see the reddish or bluish color that indicates their presence.
Are Spider Veins a Sign of Poor Circulation?
While men and women can develop spider veins, women are almost three times more likely, largely due to pregnancy. If your family has a history of varicose and spider veins, you are also more likely to develop them.
However, are spider veins a sign of poor circulation? Many times, the specific cause of spider veins is unknown, but there are a few potential culprits. Veins returning your blood from your body back to your heart and lungs. As you age, gain weight or have valves that weaken, your veins may allow your blood to flow backward ‘reflux’ or to pool in your legs. This reversed or stagnant blood flow enlarges your veins, making them more visible causing spider and varicose veins.
In this case, your circulation and spider veins are related. Because your blood is not efficiently moving in the correct direction, you begin to see the blue and red lines beneath the surface of your skin. Your poor circulation is causing the spider veins to develop and expand.
However, there are other reasons for poor circulation and spider veins. The walls of your veins may have weakened over time. You could also have suffered from an inflammation of your veins, called phlebitis, or a congenital abnormality of your veins. However, there is no association between spider veins and significant arterial disease or PAD.
What Treatments are Available for Spider Veins?
Because they are typically more of a cosmetic issue than a functional one, spider veins are commonly ignored. However, some people do experience pain or a feeling of burning in the area or simply don’t like how they look. In this case, we would recommend Sclerotherapy or Laser Therapy to treat spider veins.
Sclerotherapy is the worldwide ‘gold standard’ for the treatment of spider veins. Several approved solutions are available for treating spider veins: polidocanol, sodium tetradecol sulfate and chromated glycerin are the most common agents used, though many still refer to ‘hypertonic saline’ which is rarely used in modern phlebology.
Laser therapy for surface ‘spider veins’ in our practice is reserved for leg spider veins that do not respond well to sclerotherapy and facial veins. Both sclerotherapy and laser therapy are a process requiring 3-4 treatments to get an average of 70-80% resolution of the spider veins. Maintenance work over time is needed.
If you’re tired of uncomfortable, unsightly spider veins and would like to know more about spider vein treatment options, contact our team at Vein Specialists of the South to schedule a consultation today. The consultation is your introduction to VSS WOW service and allows us to determine if there are underlying vein conditions that may need to be treated before beginning the treatment for your spider veins. Our understanding of the use of history, physical exam, doppler, duplex ultrasound and specialty vein lights help us make the right recommendation for you.
We have two convenient locations in Middle Georgia to serve your needs and look forward to meeting you soon. It’s time for us to help you enjoy “Healthy Veins for life.”