Spider Veins

Although they may look like varicose veins- spider veins are often painless, damaged veins on the legs or face. Most people seek treatment for spider veins for cosmetic reasons. The veins are thin, wispy, and resemble a “spider web,” hence the name. Treatments that reduce the appearance of or altogether remove spider veins are available. There are also several ways to prevent spider veins.

Causes of Spider Veins

Spider veins occur because of damaged valves. Veins, which carry blood to the heart, need valves to prevent the backward blood flow. When these one-way valves weaken or become damaged, blood can begin to “pool.” Over time, this pooling blood makes the vein bulge, then branch out, leading to spider veins. Facial spider veins often appear due to sun damage or increased pressure, which can cause tiny blood vessels to burst.

Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins

Spider veins are often blue, purple, or red

Spider veins aretiny, thin threads or lines that are flat or slightly raised.

Spider veins are usually a cosmetic concern for affected patients. However. they may be an indication of an issue deeper within the vascular system.

Varicose veins are typically red or flesh-colored.

Varicose veins are larger, deeper, and tend to be lumpy and twisted.

Varicose veins cause symptoms such as swelling, bleeding, itching, and pain. They increase the likelihood of circulatory issues and blood clots.

Risk Factors for Spider Veins

Pregnancy increases blood flow and puts extra weight on your legs. This dramatically increases the chances of pregnant women developing spider veins on their legs.

Sometimes they disappear after the pregnancy, but in some cases, they can be permanent.

90% of people who develop spider veins have a history of them in their family. The condition is usually hereditary.

Women are more likely to develop spider veins than men.

The valves in your leg veins weaken with age, increasing the likelihood of blood pooling in your veins. Calf muscles give some support to veins, but with age, these muscles weaken, too.

Estrogen weakens valves, so taking hormonal treatments for birth control or menopause increases the risk of spider veins.

Coughing, sneezing, or vomiting forcefully may give rise to spider veins. This is because excessive pressure exerted on your face can cause blood vessels to rupture. Women are especially prone to facial spider veins during childbirth due to the pressure of pushing.

Sun damage can also cause facial spider veins when it breaks through skin and damages underlying blood vessels. Ultraviolet light can burst blood vessels, causing pooling.
Being overweight can add more pressure on leg veins, making valves more likely to malfunction.

Staying in the same position for extended periods makes it harder for veins to pump blood upwards toward your heart. People that stand or sit all day at work are at risk of spider veins.

When there’s already damage to the vein or a clot, your valves are prone to malfunctioning. This increases the likelihood of spider veins occurring.

Treatment Options

What to Expect

Why Monterey Bay Vascular?

A spider vein looks very different from a varicose vein, and generally, they don’t affect you like varicose veins, but spider veins can be just as severe as varicose veins when they are in groups or clumps. Preventing spider veins is possible through self-care and minor lifestyle adjustments. It’s vital to be proactive if your family has a history of the condition. Give us a call and talk to one of our specialists.