Understanding the Causes and Treatments of Spider Veins
Spider Vein Causes
Women are more likely than men to develop spider veins, and the condition can be hereditary. While the specific causes are not fully understood, they appear to develop when blood pools in the veins, possibly due to a failure of the venous valves to keep blood moving or perhaps because the walls of the veins become weak and bulge outward, allowing the blood to pool.
Hormonal changes also play a role in the development of spider veins. They can be precipitated by the changes to hormone levels caused by pregnancy, puberty or menopause. Ingestion of hormones in the form of birth control pills or postmenopausal hormone replacement can also bring about spider veins.
Home Remedies for Spider Veins
You can help alleviate spider veins in the legs by keeping your feet elevated while sitting. This makes it easier for your circulatory system to pump the blood away from your lower extremities and back up toward your heart. Compression stockings can also help improve circulation and decrease the possibility of spider veins developing. These stockings can be bought at any drugstore, and prescription-strength stockings are also available. Lifestyle changes including weight loss and proper skin care can also help treat spider veins.
Medical Treatments for Spider Veins
Medical treatment for spider veins varies depending on the location of the veins and the severity of the condition. In sclerotherapy, the most common medical treatment for spider veins, a doctor injects a chemical into the veins that causes them to swell shut, stopping the flow of blood. Over a period of four to six weeks, they turn into scar tissue and eventually fade from view. Sclerotherapy may need to be repeated in order to be effective. Laser treatments and radiotherapy occlusion work in a similar way, with light or radio-frequency energy, respectively, applied to the veins, causing them to collapse and seal up. All these treatments can be performed on an outpatient basis.
Spider veins are small blood vessels that are visible through the skin, typically on the legs, feet and face. In contrast to varicose veins, which tend to bulge, spider veins more typically look like a fine maze or web of tiny, bluish lines. They tend to be closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins, and they can cover a very small or large area.
While some people experience minor pain or discomfort as a result of spider veins, most patients want them removed for cosmetic reasons. Compression therapy should always be the initial course of action before moving on to the various medical treatments designed to destroy the veins. While treatments for spider veins tend to be very successful, new spider veins can subsequently develop.