Treatment for Not-So-Itsy-Bitsy Spider Veins

Treatment for Not-So-Itsy-Bitsy Spider Veins

Whether you’re a hair stylist, nurse or stay-at-home mom, you’ve got a lot to do. And your veins are feeling the strain.

Veins carry blood back to the heart. To keep blood going in the right direction, veins have one-way flaps called venous valves that prevent the blood from flowing backward. When they get weak, blood can build up and cause spider and varicose veins.

Spider veins are small, red or blue, and close to the skin, and varicose veins are large, dark purple or blue, and bulging. While these veins are predominantly seen on the legs, they can appear anywhere on the body.

A common cause is prolonged standing, which can weaken valves in the leg veins causing spider and varicose veins. Another cause is hormonal changes. Puberty, pregnancy, menopause, birth control pills and other medications containing estrogen and progesterone contribute to vein problems. Because most of the causes are gender specific, 40 percent of women have leg vein problems.

Other causes include age, family history, obesity and sun exposure.

The good news is that there are many ways to prevent spider and varicose veins. Recommendations include: 

  • Wear sunscreen
  • Exercise
  • Don't cross your legs when sitting
  • Elevate your legs when resting
  • Avoid tight clothing around the waist or groin

If these preventative measures don’t work, treatment is available.

While spider veins don’t pose a health risk, some women want them removed for cosmetic reasons. Varicose veins, on the other hand, should be checked by a doctor because they can become painful and cause life-threatening blood clots.

Depending on the type and severity, there are different removal methods.

Varicose veins can be completely removed, injected with a chemical or treated with a laser to collapse the vein. Once treated, those veins are typically gone for good. While new veins can appear, they rarely do.


Updated December 19, 2017

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