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Many individuals in the United States suffer from social embarrassment with thin or thick bulging veins sprawled across the legs, hands, and other areas. Instead of feeling embarrassed and socially shy, you need to know what the probable causes of this condition are and which solution would be the best for you to get rid of these unwanted swollen veins.

The venous condition which is associated with thin, raised, swollen, reddish, bluish or purplish twisted blood vessels, are known as spider veins. These occur on the surface of the skin and usually found in the legs, hands, cheeks, breasts, and other areas. These are typically visible through the skin.

Root Causes of Spider Veins

This condition can occur due to a number of factors, which include:

  • Genetic (when the condition is inherited from parents or grandparents)
  • Obesity (overweight gives rise to this condition)
  • A profession that involves a lot of sitting (data entry or computer jobs) or standing (hair stylists, nurses, factory workers, hotel staffs, teachers)
  • Hormonal changes (due to puberty, pregnancy or menopause)
  • History of blood clots
  • Usage of birth control pills
  • Conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen, like constipation, tumor, wearing externally worn garments like girdles, and so on
  • Post-menopausal hormone replacement
  • Advancing age
  • Factors like previous vein surgery, injury to skin, trauma or exposure to ultra-violet rays

Risk Factors for Spider Veins

Spider vein condition is prevalent more in women and increases in frequency with age for both men and women. On an average it is estimated that nearly 30-60 percent of adults have spider veins.

Symptoms of Spider Veins

Many individuals with spider veins, complain of pain associated with cramping or aching in the legs. Some other common symptoms of spider veins include restlessness, tiredness, throbbing, burning, heaviness or tingling sensation in the legs. You can get relief from such pain by elevating the legs or by wearing compression stockings or support hose.

In case of women, the condition could become worse especially during pregnancy or parts of menstrual cycle. The common symptoms are swelling, darkening of the skin (around the ankle region), and ulcers. Occasionally, spider veins can form a painful blood clot associated with inflammation of the vein, a condition known as thrombophlebitis.

Options for Spider Vein Treatment

There are various forms of treatment for spider veins, which can be categorized into non-surgical and minimally invasive surgical.

=> Non-Surgical

  • Lifestyle changes: If you can maintain weight reduction, good skin hygiene, and walking or any such light exercise, these can help in spider vein treatment.
  • Support stockings: The most conservative approach to tackle venous condition is to simply wear compression stockings, especially when the condition is causing you uncomfortable or painful symptoms. You can get these support hoses at any surgical supply online or physical store. Some pharmacies also sell these stockings. These are available in three sizes – pantyhose style, above-the-knee, and below-the-knee.

=> Minimally Invasive Surgical

  • Sclerotherapy: This technique, which has been in practice since the 1930s, utilizes an saline (salt) solution infused specifically into the affected vein, making the vein vanish progressively in about three to six weeks. The method is basic, relatively affordable, and can be performed in an office setting.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: A thin catheter is embedded into the affected vein. The catheter passes radiofrequency energy to the wall of the vein, causing it to heat, crumple, and close. The method is done in an office or a clinical setting, under local anesthesia.
  • Endovenous laser ablation: It is a system in which a small laser fiber is embedded into the affected vein. Then pulses of laser energy are passed inside the vein, which makes the vein crumple. The treatment is done under local anesthesia in a clinical setting.