Spider veins in the legs are small, thin lines that are flat or only slightly raised. They appear most often on the backs of the legs are often blue, red, or purple in color. The good news is that although they can cause some discomfort, they are painless most of the time and generally do not lead to serious health problems.
But just because they are not considered a serious health risk does not mean you have to live with them. Spider veins can cause people to be self-conscious and avoid wearing their favorite pair of shorts or hitting the beach.
There are several things you can do to keep spider veins from getting worse. But first, it’s important to understand the causes of spider veins and the risks for developing them.
Causes of Spider Veins
Spider veins are caused by venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency, which also leads to varicose veins, is when your veins have trouble sending blood from your arms and legs back to the heart. The valves in your veins don’t work properly and cause poor circulation leading blood to pool in your veins and become more visible.
Varicose veins and spider veins share some of the same causes and risk factors including:
- Genes: Nearly 90% of people with spider veins have a relative who has also suffered from them. Chances are if your mom had them, you may develop them, too.
- Obesity: Carrying extra weight can cause all kinds of health issues including spider and varicose veins. Even a few extra pounds puts a strain on your veins, increasing the chances that you’ll develop spider veins.
- Age: As you age, the valves in your veins tend to become weaker. Age isn’t always a factor, though. Some children and teenagers develop spider veins because of other risk factors like obesity and genes. Spider veins in children can be a sign of a medical condition and should be examined by a pediatrician.
Spider Vein Prevention Tips
Overall, the best way to prevent varicose veins and spider veins is to take good care of your overall health. It’s not too late to start taking preventative measures to keep spider veins from getting worse including:
- Grab the sunscreen. Not only does sunscreen prevent skin cancer and keep your skin looking young and healthy it also can help prevent some spider veins from getting worse.
- Adopt a healthier lifestyle. Spider veins and venous insufficiency is linked to carrying extra weight. By losing weight, you reduce pressure on your veins.
- Wear compression stockings. Compression stockings, either from a local pharmacy or prescribed by a doctor, can help prevent spider veins. If your family has a history of them, consider opting for compression stockings or pantyhose.
- Take breaks. Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. Get up and take a break – even just a short walk around the house or office – every 30 minutes.
- Wear loose clothes. Clothing that is too tight around the midsection can restrict blood flow and may increase the risk of spider veins or make them worse.
- Get active. Physical activity is great for overall health. For varicose and spider veins, exercise can help improve circulation and prevent blood from pooling in the legs.
Treatments for Spider Veins
Even with proper preventative care, spider veins may not get better on their own. The good news is there are easy, safe treatments available for spider veins.
Sclerotherapy is the most common spider vein treatment. This 15- to 30-minute treatment involves a very fine needle injecting a solution called Polidocanol into the vein. Polidocanol causes the vein walls to be irritated, swell, and then close. This stops the flow of blood, and your body eventually absorbs the vein.
In a few weeks, the appearance of the vein should fade. This treatment does not require anesthesia and can be done in your doctor’s office. You can return to normal activity right after treatment. More than one session may be required.
Treatments for varicose veins are different because the veins are swollen and raised. If you have symptoms of varicose veins, a doctor can discuss treatment options with you.
Love Your Legs again with Premier Vein Specialists
At Premier Vein Specialists, we help our patients love their legs again. Dr. Mathai, director and leading physician, offers a free vein health screening so you can find a treatment plan that works for you. After a free, confidential vein health screening, Dr. Mathai will explain the best way for you to realize optimal vein health. With more than three decades of experience, he is ready to help you love your legs again.
Complete our vein health screening form, or call 717-412-7226, to get scheduled today.
At Premier Vein Specialists, your health is our priority. Our offices in York and Hanover only admit one patient at a time, and we follow all health and safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.