Visible veins are either dark or bulging, making them more apparent. While the condition is aesthetically unappealing, it isn’t always an indication of something serious. In some cases, visible veins are completely normal.
On the other hand, visible veins may result from a health condition that could indicate the start of a more serious problem. So if you’re asking “why are my veins so visible,” then determining the answer requires a vascular specialist to conduct a visual analysis as well as possible testing in order to determine if they’re healthy.
When Are Visible Veins Healthy
Visible veins when you exercise indicate you’re healthy, and the cardiovascular system is working as it should.
If you exercise regularly, especially weight lifting, you’ll notice your veins protrude from your skin more because you have less fat. Additionally, it occurs because lifting affects the size and density of the soft tissue, ultimately making the veins more visible when you relax.
Weightlifting places pressure on the veins, which makes them less flexible. As a result, the veins bulge and become more noticeable when you lift.
You might always have visible veins after losing weight. This is also why thinner individuals tend to have more prominent veins.
Skin Complexion and Thickness
People who have fair skin or light hair are more likely to have visible veins. You might notice your veins become more evident as you age as a result of your skin losing elasticity and becoming thinner. You also lose fat and muscle in many cases as you age, which also contributes to veins becoming more pronounced. This is a normal part of the aging process.
Sometimes, the veins are apparent because they’re closer to the surface of the skin. The veins in the legs – the veins responsible for carrying small portions of blood to the heart – tend to be closer to the skin.
Genetics and Hormone Imbalance
Genetics increases your likelihood of having bulging or visible veins. You might notice your veins become better seen during the summer months since heat enlarges the veins. Not to mention, the higher temperatures make your vascular system work harder, causing veins to appear more prominent.
Moreover, hormone imbalances lead to veins becoming more visible. During pregnancy and menopause, hormone levels change and become unbalanced from what your body were accustomed to, which causes the veins to protrude.
In addition to the hormone changes, pregnancy increases pressure on the veins because the blood volume a woman has increased 20 to 40 percent, making the veins work harder to carry blood to the heart. To account for the increase, the blood vessels expand. The changes caused by pregnancy are temporary and usually subside once a woman gives birth.
When Should I Worry About Visible Veins
If you’re asking, “why are my veins so visible,” it may signal a problem like varicose veins or thrombophlebitis.
Both conditions could require treatment to prevent potential discomfort or serious complications.
Spider veins are usually found on the face or legs. These veins have a similar appearance to a spider web, earning them their name. They appear purple, red or blue in color.
Varicose veins are dark blue in color and look swollen or distorted. You might notice the sticking out of your skin. Those who have a job where they’re on their feet frequently – such as a nurse or teacher – experience the condition more frequently.
Another reason veins can become visible is a condition called thrombophlebitis, where the veins bulge as a result of blood clots that usually form in the legs. The clot may break off and flow to the lungs, causing a condition known as a pulmonary embolism.
Cellulitis is an infection caused by bacteria entering the skin. The infection could spread to the blood vessels and cause redness and swelling that can make the veins look more visible.
You should contact a vascular specialist if you have any of the following symptoms in addition to visible veins:
- Veins that bleed
- Veins that are red in color
- Veins that are sore
- Veins that are warm to the touch
You’ll also want to take note of any changes in the texture or color of the skin surrounding the protruding veins. Look for sore skin or rashes around the veins. You’ll also want to seek the assistance of a specialist if you have painful varicose veins.
May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS)
May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS), also otherwise called an Iliac Vein Compression Syndrome, is a condition that causes asymmetrical swelling in your lower extremities. The left leg will swell but not the right. It stems from the left iliac vein preventing normal venous drainage and leading to swelling. Although this condition is rare, an expert at USA Vein Clinics is able to diagnose it and determine the underlying cause. We treat the underlying cause, which helps relieve swelling and your discomfort.
What Should I Do About Unhealthy Visible Veins?
If you have visible veins that are just unpleasant looking, you could opt to have them surgically removed. It could also be an indication that you require treatment from a vascular specialist.
The first step of the treatment process entails determining the problem. If you visit the office inquiring, “why are my veins so visible” and the specialist isn’t completely positive about the reason, testing may be necessary. For instance, the doctor may utilize ultrasound technology.
The doctor moves a wand-like device over the area with the pronounced veins. The wand sends sound waves throughout the legs to view inside of them. Ultrasound technology is able to distinguish between superficial and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which helps confirm or diagnose the problem.
Another possible test the vascular specialist will conduct is blood testing. In almost all cases of blood clots, the patient has a natural increase in the clot-dissolving substance known as D dimer. This test isn’t 100-percent effective since other conditions cause an increase in this substance, but an increase in D dimer signifies the doctor needs to conduct further testing.
Treatment of Varicose and Spider Veins
Endovenous Laser Vein Ablation
An endovenous laser vein therapy (EVLT) procedure is a treatment for varicose veins that causes the diseased veins to shrink and collapse. When the malfunctioning veins collapse, healthy veins are able to take over. The specialist makes a tiny incision in the skin using a small laser fiber catheter using radiofrequency energy or laser energy. The specialist may use an ultrasound to position the laser perfectly. It treats spider veins and varicose veins of any size located close to the surface of the skin and takes about 15 minutes.
When we use lasers, we use highly focused beams of light. The heat from the laser damages the vein, creating scar tissue that closes it. Over time, the vein closes and eventually fades away once the vein doesn’t have a blood source. Generally, the vein disappears after a year or two.
Another treatment is sclerotherapy – an injectable treatment that irritates the vein. The latest sclerotherapy is a foam. Then, scar tissue forms that closes off the vein and reroutes your circulation around the area. The vein reabsorbs into your body. Typically, this treatment causes the veins to fade over the course of a few weeks, although it could take up to a month to see the full extent of the results. Sclerotherapy works on both varicose and spider veins. The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes and has minimal side effects, unlike traditional treatments.
Before EVLT, doctors would use vein stripping to treat varicose veins. The vein specialist would use this treatment to tie the superficial saphenous vein in the leg and treat varicose veins. This procedure isn’t used often, because it’s both painful, and outdated. Usually, our expert will perform EVLT or sclerotherapy because these procedures are more comfortable. Additionally, EVLT and sclerotherapy don’t require any downtime, and the results tend to be more inline with our patients’ expectations.
Compression stockings are tightly fitting stockings that help venous conditions as well as various other causes of leg swelling and discomfort. They might be used solely or in conjunction with other treatments. These stockings improve the flow of blood in your legs and prevent it from pooling. They have the potential to relieve symptoms of varicose veins and complications associated with them including deep vein thrombosis or leg ulcers. They reduce swelling, which lessens your pain and discomfort.
Peripheral Artery Disease Treatment
Although peripheral artery disease isn’t a condition that causes varicose veins, we treat this particular problem similarly since it causes some of the same symptoms such as leg swelling, cramping, and pain. We might use compression stockings or lifestyle changes to help manage your pain and discomfort. Our goal is to assist you in executing your daily activities as normal as possible.
If you have any of signs of unhealthy visible veins, contact us at 888-768-3467 or visit our contact page. You can find more information about us on our Facebook page. We remove healthy visible veins as well if they make you feel self-conscious. We have over 60 locations across the U.S.