Veins are the blood vessels responsible for moving blood from your extremities back to the heart to be replenished with more oxygen. Veins can be large, such as the veins in your legs that push blood from your feet back up to your heart. Other veins are very small and may be less than 1 mm in diameter. When these tiny veins become enlarged, they are known as spider veins.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins look just like their name implies: like a spider’s web. Spider veins occur when the walls of a vein become weakened, causing the vein to enlarge. As a result, spider veins look purple, blue, or red. They can be found on any part of the body, although they are perhaps most common on the legs.
Are Spider Veins Dangerous?
Spider veins occur when there is increased pressure in the veins. This could be due to sitting or standing for long periods each day, being overweight or obese, failing to get enough physical activity, or for hereditary reasons. In other cases, people with no discernable risk factors may develop spider veins.
Although spider veins are not inherently dangerous, they may be a sign of poor overall vein health. Spider veins often co-occur with varicose veins, which are larger, bulging veins that result when vein walls become very weak. Furthermore, people susceptible to spider veins may be at greater risk for more serious, chronic vein disease.
The Best Vein Treatment Options for Spider Veins
Fortunately, you do not have to live with spider veins. There are several treatment options that are effective at getting rid of these unattractive veins. Make an appointment with your vein doctor to learn more about spider veins and the treatment options that may be best for you. Two of the most common spider vein treatments are as follows:
- Sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a common vein removal technique. In this treatment, your vein doctor will inject a special solution into the affected veins. This solution, known as a sclerosant, causes the vein walls to collapse. Over the next few weeks, the body will reabsorb the vein material and the vein will disappear. Sclerotherapy is one of the most common treatments for spider veins and has a high effectiveness rate.
- Laser treatment. A more recent development in spider vein treatment is the use of lasers to get rid of unsightly spider veins. During a laser treatment session, your vein doctor will direct laser energy at the spider vein. This heats the vein, causing it to collapse and be destroyed by the body. Laser vein treatment is highly effective for spider veins, although it may take multiple sessions to see results. Your doctor can advise you about the best spider vein treatment options for your situation.