Problematic Skin In-Depth: Spider Veins

Even if creepy crawling spiders don’t bother you, there’s no doubting the annoyance that comes with living with spider veins. More common in older individuals, this condition gets its name from the way your veins seem to twist and turn up your legs and (possibly) over your face. However, spider veins are easier to see than regular veins due to their bluish-purple coloring – leading to a cosmetic nightmare for patients.

Causes Of Spider VeinsScreen Shot 2015-03-16 at 9.43.39 AM

There isn’t a lot of consensus on what exactly causes spider veins to develop. However, it’s generally believed that some likely causes of – or contributing factors to – spider veins are:

  • Genetics passed down from earlier family members
  • Excessive sun damage
  • Stress due to standing for long periods of time, particularly in occupations such as nursing or teaching
  • A history of living at a weight that’s considered obese
  • Hormonal imbalances due to pregnancy or menopause
  • A history of blood clots
  • Abdominal pressure issues such as tumors

Physical Symptoms of Spider Veins

Spider veins don’t only leave a patient with discolored legs. Aside from the unfortunate cosmetic side effects of spider veins, those who suffer from the condition also have a number of physical symptoms. Most people complain of aches and pains, swelling, cramping, and itching in the parts of the body affected by the condition. Aside from these issues, it’s also common to feel fatigued more often than one normally would. In more serious situations, spider veins can also lead to thrombophlebitis (a blood clot in the affected vein), skin ulcers, or atopic dermatitis (an extreme eczema).

Treatment Options For Spider Veins

Luckily for patients, a couple different types of treatments exist for the cosmetic and physical symptoms of spider veins:

  1. Support Stockings – This approach involves wearing special socks that hug the legs and offer support to the veins and muscles.
  2. Lifestyle Changes – Sometimes, doctors may suggest a simple lifestyle change to treat the condition. Simply practicing good hygiene or losing weight could reverse the physical and cosmetic effects of spider veins.
  3. SclerotherapySclerotherapy has been around since the 1930 as a way to reduce the effects of spider veins. Doctors inject a saline solution directly into the veins, which reduces swelling and lessening the pain for spider vein patients.
  4. Laser Skin Treatment – In this situation, trained professionals use medical lasers to target the problematic veins. Patients normally endure one or two sessions before leaving with spider vein free legs.

Reducing Your Risk Of Spider Veins

Although some of the causes of spider veins may be out of your control, there are some things you can do on the daily basis to reduce your risk of developing the condition. For example, maintaining a healthy weight keeps additional pressure off of the veins in the legs and reduces your risk of developing spider veins. Following a regular walking/jogging schedule will do wonders in keeping a normal blood flow in your legs as well. If you work outside, lather up with sunscreen and when you know you’re going to be standing for a while, and use compression socks to help with blood flow.

Spider veins may not be as scary as their insect counterparts, but they’re still an issue that many people have to deal with on the regular basis. However, if you live a healthy lifestyle and stay on top of your circulation needs, it may be possible to avoid future problems with this condition.


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