Spider veins are small blood vessels visible on the surface of skin as red, blue or purple web-like networks of thin blood vessels that also twist and turn. These veins are easily visible through the skin and typically appear on the legs, especially near knees and ankles. Spider veins are mostly harmless, but people want to get them treated because they don’t look good. Luckily there are numerous options available for spider vein removal.

Before discussing treatment options for spider veins, let’s have a look at the causes of spider veins and risk factors involved, if not treated in time. There are a number of factors that predispose an individual to veins. These include:

  • Heredity
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal changes in women, such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause
  • Use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
  • A history of blood clotting
  • Everyday routine that involves a lot of standing, such as housewives who spend major part of their day standing, or professions that involve prolonged standings, such as teachers, nurses, beauticians and factory workers

Health conditions that cause increased abdominal pressure, such as constipation, tumors etc may also cause spider veins. Similarly, externally worn garments such as girdles may also lead to development of spider and varicose veins. Old age also increases an individual’s chances of developing these unsightly red coloured veins on legs and feet.

Trauma or injury to the skin, vein surgery in the past and excessive sunlight exposure have also been reported to cause spider veins. This condition develops more often in females then males and has been reported to increase in frequency with age. A latest study has concluded that an estimated 30 to 60 percent of adults have either spider veins or varicose veins.

There are no specific tests for the diagnosis of spider veins. Your doctor will determine whether a visible blood vessel is a spider vein or a varicose vein simply by looking at it. Symptoms of spider veins include:

  • Heaviness in the legs, sometimes accompanied by pain also
  • Aching or cramping in the legs
  • Tiredness or fullness in the legs
  • Restlessness, tingling and throbbing in the legs

These symptoms are usually relieved by lying on the bed with legs elevated at an angle of 45 degree. Wearing supporting hose may also help relieve the pain.

If you are developing complications or are concerned about the appearance of these unsightly veins, treatment options include Sclerotherapy and Laser Therapy. The former involves injecting a chemical solution in the swollen veins that scars and closes treated veins, forcing the blood to flow through healthier vessels. Laser therapy, on the other hand, works by heating up the affected veins making them to gradually fade and disappear over time.