Spider Veins Symptoms and Causes

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If you have noticed web-like veins on your legs, hands, face, or other areas of your body, they may be spider veins, also known as spider telangiectasias. These visible veins are dilated capillaries located near the skin’s surface. They can be colorful in appearance, showing up as red, purple, or blue. Spider veins are not usually raised, bulging, or painful, unlike varicose veins.

Although many people believe that spider telangiectasias are a cosmetic issue, they are also a sign that something is wrong. Spider veins are a symptom of underlying vein disease or venous insufficiency. If left untreated, vein disease can lead to serious health conditions like blood clots and venous ulcers (open, non-healing wounds).

Our vein specialists at USA Vein Clinics are experts on spider veins causes, symptoms, and treatment. The good news is that spider veins can be effectively treated with minimally invasive, office-based vein treatment. A technique called visual sclerotherapy is often used to redirect blood flow away from disease veins.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about spider veins’ symptoms and causes, along with how to prevent and treat these visible veins. For additional information, we recommend consulting a vein specialist.

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Spider Veins Symptoms

Along with the telltale web-like appearance of spider veins, there are several other symptoms to look out for. If you have spider veins on legs, your symptoms may include:

  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Leg restlessness, especially at night
  • Sensation of tingling, numbness, burning, or itching
  • Tenderness or redness surrounding impacted veins

It is also possible to have spider veins without any symptoms, or to experience spider veins symptoms without seeing any visible signs on the skin’s surface. If you are experiencing spider veins symptoms, we recommend contacting a vein specialist for evaluation.

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What Disease Causes Spider Veins on the Legs?

Spider veins are caused by underlying vein disease. Risk factors that can impact your likelihood of developing vein disease include:

  • Family history of vein disease: When it comes to developing problems with your veins, there is a strong genetic component involved. If you have a close family member (or multiple ones) with vein disease, you will develop varicose and spider veins.
  • Standing for long periods of time: Vein issues can develop when you have to stand or walk for an extended amount of time because your veins strain against gravity to pump blood back up to the heart. This often results in blood collecting in the veins of your legs, ankles, and feet.
  • Obesity: Along with impacting your overall physical health, excess weight puts extra pressure on leg veins. This can increase the likelihood of developing spider veins on legs.
  • Pregnancy: Increased blood flow and extra weight during pregnancy can cause spider veins to develop. Changes in hormones during pregnancy can also contribute to developing vein issues. While spider veins should not pose a risk to you or your pregnancy, you may wish to consider treatment if they persist after pregnancy.
  • History of blood clots: If you’ve ever had a blood clot, you may be more likely to experience spider veins on legs and other symptoms of vein disease. Malfunctioning veins can also raise your risk of developing blood clots.
  • Use of birth control pills: An influx of estrogen and progesterone, such as may occur with birth control pills, can weaken vein valves and lead to spider veins.

For more information on what causes spider veins, consult a vein specialist. If you are at risk of developing spider veins, we recommend close monitoring by a highly experienced, compassionate specialist at USA Vein Clinics.

What Are the Risks of Spider Veins?

Spider veins do not usually pose an immediate risk to your health. However, they can cause symptoms like swelling, tenderness, itching, and more when left untreated. They may also place you at risk for a number of dangerous health conditions.

One issue is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a type of blood clot that forms in the deep venous system. In some cases, DVT can lead to pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Additionally, spider veins can lead to venous ulcers on your legs. Venous ulcers are open, non-healing wounds that can place you at risk for serious infection.

At USA Vein Clinics, we offer minimally invasive, office-based spider vein treatment that can redirect blood flow around these malfunctioning veins. We also offer varicose vein treatment. After treatment, most of our patients report relief from painful, uncomfortable, and visible symptoms of vein disease.

Spider Vein Treatment

If you believe that you have spider veins on legs or elsewhere on the body, we encourage you to seek evaluation from one of our leading vein specialists. During an initial consultation, your specialist may perform a leg ultrasound to look inside your veins. They will also ask about your spider veins symptoms and health history, conduct a physical examination, and make personalized recommendations. When necessary, your doctor can provide spider vein treatment.

Spider veins are usually treated with a technique called visual sclerotherapy. This minimally invasive, office-based treatment involves only a tiny needle and a sclerosant solution. Spider vein treatment is designed to irritate targeted veins, causing them to seal closed intentionally. At that point, blood flow will reroute to healthy, surrounding veins.

Over time, treated veins will be naturally reabsorbed by the body. Sometimes, multiple treatments or more than one type of treatment is required to achieve desired results.

Many of our patients are pleasantly surprised to learn that spider vein symptoms can be conveniently treated in less than an hour, from start to finish. Afterward, most patients leave immediately and return to their normal activities. Spider vein treatment does not involve invasive surgery, a hospital stay, or a long recovery time.

Schedule a Consultation at USA Vein Clinics.

To learn more about spider veins symptoms and causes and your treatment options, schedule an appointment today with one of our leading vein specialists. If you prefer a virtual visit, we also offer telemedicine consultations. Whether we see you online or at one of over 100 clinic locations, we can help you find relief from painful, visible spider veins.

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Spider Veins Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do spider veins disappear on their own?

Making certain lifestyle changes, such as eating a well-balanced diet, losing weight, and exercising regularly, can benefit your veins and overall health. That said, weakened or malfunctioning veins will not simply go away independently. While you may experience temporary relief from spider vein symptoms with lifestyle changes, the best way to get rid of spider veins on your legs is to obtain medical treatment from an experienced vein specialist.

What exactly does the phrase “spider veins” mean?

Spider veins, also known as spider telangiectasia, are thin, colorful, web-patterned veins located near the skin’s surface. Although they can appear almost anywhere on the body, they most commonly impact the legs, face, and hands. Spider veins are a visible sign of underlying vein disease and do not usually cause symptoms.

Is it possible for spider veins to feel painful? 

Although spider veins do not usually cause symptoms, some patients experience spider veins symptoms. For instance, you may suffer from painful or uncomfortable leg swelling, tenderness, itching, and restlessness. Vein treatment can help alleviate any pain and discomfort.

How do you prevent spider veins?

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to prevent spider veins. This is because age, genetics, and lifestyle factors can all play roles in their development. To reduce risk, our vein specialists generally recommend eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, losing excess weight, and avoiding prolonged periods of standing and sitting.

Do spider veins completely go away after treatment?

Generally speaking, visible spider veins and spider veins symptoms go away after treatment. However, you may be predisposed to developing additional venous issues. Your vein specialist may recommend close, ongoing monitoring if you are at risk. Early intervention can lead to the best health outcomes.

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