Spider veins are a common problem for millions of people. They are those very thin, tiny blood vessels that look red or purple in color and tend to look like branches on a tree or even spindly spider legs (hence the name). While spider veins are generally harmless by themselves, they can be a symptom of a larger illness. The biggest problem with spider veins is that they simply don’t look good. Because they appear most commonly on the legs and face, many patients become self-conscious about their appearance. In some cases, spider veins can also cause physical discomfort, like swelling, burning, and aching.
Luckily, there is help for patients suffering from spider veins. Many patients have successfully gotten rid of their spider veins with one of many highly-effective treatments that doctors are able to perform all around the country. The best part is that these treatments are generally comfortable for the patient and have no downtime – so a patient can get back to his/her life the very same day.
What Causes Spider Veins?
Spider veins are caused by a number of factors, including age, heredity, use of birth control pills, hormonal changes, blood clots, and even obesity. Further, people who are in occupations that require a lot of time on their feet are more at risk for developing spider veins
For a spider vein to form, there has to be a backup of blood in a vein, caused by the valves in the vein not effectively controlling the movement of the blood. This backup of blood will cause the vein to expand, making it visible on the surface of the skin. One reason why spider veins are so common in the legs is because the blood has to fight gravity to get back to the heart. This makes it easier for a backup of blood to occur. Almost 50% of adults over the age of 50 will develop spider veins at some point in their lives.
How Are Spider Veins Treated?
Most spider vein treatments currently available are non-invasive. While their effectiveness can vary, medicine has come a long way in the treatment of spider veins, so you can expect satisfactory results.
One of the more popular treatments, however, is called sclerotherapy. During this treatment, a doctor will inject a sclerosing solution directly into the vein. After the injection, the vein will slowly begin to shrink and is eventually absorbed back into the body. Studies show up to 80% of veins injected with this sclerosing solution will disappear. This treatment can take about thirty minutes to complete, depending on the number of veins that need injections.
Another treatment option for spider veins is the endovenous laser treatment (EVLT). This procedure is a little more invasive than sclerotherapy because it involves passing a laser fiber directly into the vein via a catheter. The laser basically cuts the vein off from the blood supply and the vein will eventually get absorbed back into the body. The blood that went through the spider veins gets redirected to healthy veins.
Some spider veins don’t even require a doctor to treat. For smaller spider veins, compression stockings are all that might be needed. Regardless, you should still see a doctor about your spider veins to make sure there’s no serious underlying cause and the doctor can also recommend the best course of treatment.