Spider Veins: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments and How They Differ From Varicose Veins

Spider veins or telangiectasias are small, widened, visible blood vessels close to your skin’s surface. Depending on your skin color, they may appear red, blue, or purple but are generally unsightly. Spider veins often appear in clusters that resemble spider webs or tree branches and can form anywhere in your body, but they are common in your face and legs. Many people with spider veins New York seek treatment to get rid of their displeasing appearance. Treatment is often successful in getting rid of spider veins.

What are the symptoms of spider veins?

Spider veins don’t cause symptoms, but some people with spider veins experience burning, cramping, itching, pain, and legs that feel tired. These symptoms are often present after standing for a while. However, these symptoms are often unassociated with the spider veins since treatment does not always improve these symptoms.

Causes of spider veins

Spider veins form when the blood vessels beneath your skin weaken and enlarge. There is no clear reason for this, but some known causes include injury, hormonal changes, genetic syndromes, and connective tissue diseases. Some people also have higher chances of developing spider veins than others. For example, you face a higher risk of spider veins if you are overweight or pregnant. A sedentary lifestyle or sitting or standing for an extended period also puts you at risk of spider veins. Other risk factors for spider veins include smoking, excess sun exposure, hormone therapy, and having a family history of spider veins.

Spider veins versus varicose veins

Spider veins are not veins but damaged capillaries, venules, and arterioles. These small blood vessels connect with larger blood vessels like veins and arteries as part of your circulatory system. On the other hand, varicose veins are damaged veins; they are usually larger than spider veins and tend to bulge outward from your skin. Spider veins hardly cause symptoms, and treatment is for aesthetic purposes. But varicose veins can cause symptoms like leg pain and discomfort; people seek treatment for cosmetic reasons or to ease symptoms. In most cases, spider veins and varicose veins occur together because they share many of the same causes and risk factors.

What are the treatments for spider veins?

Sclerotherapy, a minimally invasive procedure, is the most common treatment for spider veins in your legs. It involves injecting a chemical solution into your spider veins, causing them to constrict and close off. As such, blood reroutes to healthier vessels, and the spider veins fade away as blood no longer flows through them. The collapsed veins are reabsorbed by your body and fade in about three to six weeks. Sometimes you may need several sclerotherapy treatments to eliminate spider veins.

Your doctor can also use laser therapy to treat spider veins, usually those in your face. Unlike sclerotherapy which uses a chemical solution, laser therapy harnesses the power of a laser to create heat and destroy the damaged vessels. Small veins may disappear immediately, but larger spider veins may take one to three months.

If your spider veins are causing discomfort or you are unhappy about their appearance, visit your doctor at Upper East Side Cardiology to discuss your treatment options.