arts & sciences

The main causes of spider veins and how to effectively treat them


Spider veins, which are also called telangiectasias, are a complication of varicose veins so they often occur in the legs. About half of all pregnant women have some spider veins during pregnancy. Fortunately, most of them will disappear after pregnancy. Spider veins can also affect men, children and women who aren’t pregnant. They appear as blue or purple spots beneath the skin, connecting thin red lines. They resemble spider’s legs hence their name: spider veins.


How to effectively treat spider veins

There are several effective treatments for spider veins. The method you choose will depend on the extent of your problem, how unsightly it is, and your personal preference. Since spider veins are usually not dangerous, you can try one or more of these treatments to decrease their appearance:

1. Surgery

This is typically only considered if you have large amounts of excess leg skin causing spider veins. The vascular surgeon will remove sagging tissues during surgery by cutting away excess tissue using surgical incisions. A compression dressing will be applied after surgery – you’ll need to wear this for several weeks while your legs heal properly before resuming normal activities. Although this treatment is sometimes accompanied by side effects like bleeding, blood clots, and infection – these are rare due to proper sanitary precautions being taken in an outpatient setting under general anesthesia.

2. Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution into the affected veins, which collapses and eventually fades away. An ultrasound probe is placed against the skin to monitor progress as the solution is injected during this procedure. Your doctor may also apply pressure using his fingers or hands to help blood flow. This procedure has some risks that include infection, skin sensitivity, and allergic reaction, but these are due to advances in technique.

3. Laser Treatment

Laser treatment involves using a laser beam to destroy the affected veins. It works by destroying the lining of the vessel wall. The procedure is done in an outpatient setting, under local anesthesia. There are many types of lasers available – each has its benefits and drawbacks. When choosing a laser type, your doctor will consider several factors, including cost, what other treatments you’ve had (if any), how concentrated the laser needs to be for best results, possible downtime, etc.

4. Vein Stripping

This is usually reserved for small varicose veins that don’t involve deep tissue or telangiectasias/spider veins. A wire is inserted into the vein. The wire is attached to a small rubber tube (called a blood-pressure cuff) inserted into the vein through another tiny incision. The doctor then pumps the “cuff” up until it squeezes shut, sealing off the vein. Then they pull on the wire, removing the varicose vein from your body. This procedure does have some risks that include bleeding and infection – but these are rare due to proper sanitary precautions being taken in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia.


Main causes of spider veins

We’ll take a look at each one individually:

1. Heredity

Although it’s not always possible to tell if you’re going to develop spider veins based on your family history, certain genetic conditions can be inherited which do seem to contribute to the development of spider veins, including Turner Syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and varicose vein syndrome (although this is very rare). These conditions can cause spider veins and other vascular problems like excessive bruising or blood leakage after minor injuries.

2. Pregnancy and hormonal changes

During pregnancy, estrogen levels can increase by up to 50 percent. This causes your blood vessels to widen and increases the likelihood of developing spider veins. Hormonal changes during menopause can also trigger spider veins due to a reduction in estrogen production. Although they’re most common during these times in women’s lives, spider veins can develop at any age.

3. Injury or trauma

If you’ve recently injured or had surgery on your legs – especially if it involved puncturing tissue with needles, this could cause rips or tears in blood vessel walls, which leave them more vulnerable to varicose veins developing later on (this is called “tissue fragility”). Injuries that commonly cause these include injuries from accidents and those sustained during sports and other recreational activities.

4. Obesity

Being overweight causes excess pressure on leg tissues which can lead to an increased risk of developing spider veins and other vascular problems like varicose veins and cellulite. Although you shouldn’t try losing weight through fad diets, especially those that encourage eating disorders like anorexia nervosa (bulimia) and blue (binge-purge), losing weight through regular exercise and eating a healthy diet that is low in fat will help reduce the pressure on your leg veins.


As you can see, there’s a range of possible causes for spider veins to develop. While genetics usually plays a role, the other factors mentioned above are easily controllable and should be avoided where possible. If your legs begin to bulge with varicose veins, you must go to a doctor as they may need treatment to reduce leg pressure and prevent further damage from occurring.

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