Spider Veins: Causes, Treatments, and Answers to Common Questions

It’s 90 degrees and sunny…and you’re wearing pants. The truth is, you’d love to put on a pair of shorts or slip into a breezy sundress, but it’s just not worth it. You feel self-conscious, and it has nothing to do with your shape or weight. You’re hiding your spider veins. 

The fact is, you’re not alone. More than 41% of women over the age of 50 suffer from spider veins. In the search for answers and solutions, it’s not always clear what to believe. How do you know if treatment is even worthwhile?  

Finally! Here are answers to your top 5 questions about spider veins:

1. What causes spider veins? 

Put simply, spider veins are caused by a malfunction of the valves within the veins. When these one-way valves become weakened or damaged and stop working properly, blood can flow in the wrong direction and begin to pool. Ultimately, this pooling of blood can cause a bulge and branching out of the vein, commonly called “spider vein”. 

2. Are spider veins dangerous? 

The good news is, spider veins aren’t typically dangerous. But it’s important to keep in mind that the underlying cause of spider veins could be cause for concern. Venous disease is relatively common, affecting millions of people in the U.S. each year. Talk with your doctor if you’re experiencing pain, heaviness, discoloration, or ulceration in your legs, as this may indicate a more serious concern. 

Risk factors for spider veins include: 

  • Age. Walls of the veins weaken and become more inefficient over time. 
  • Sex. Women are more likely to have spider veins than men. 
  • Birth control. Estrogen found in synthetic hormones can weaken the valves in the veins and contribute to the formation of spider veins.
  • Weight. Obesity causes stress on the vascular system and pressure on the veins in the legs.
  • Family history. Certain genes are associated with venous insufficiency. As high as 90 percent of people who have spider veins have family members who have had them. 
  • Smoking. Smoking weakens the walls of the veins. 
  • Sedentary lifestyle. Movement is a vital component in maintaining proper blood flow. 
  • Pregnancy. Due to changes in blood volume during pregnancy, women often develop spider veins. 
  • Long periods of standing or sitting. Those who spend long periods of time sitting or standing are at an increased risk. 

3. How do I get rid of spider veins? 

Spider veins are often treated with socks or stockings—either light support stockings that can be found in many stores or prescription compression stockings. Other treatment options include sclerotherapy or injections into the veins that cause them to shrink, minimally invasive endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) in which a laser fiber is inserted into the vein after a small incision is made, and non-invasive laser therapy. 

4. How does laser treatment work?

Laser treatment for spider veins uses a long wave 1064 YAG laser to improve and eliminate the appearance of small leg veins.

The laser light bypasses the outer layer of the skin and targets the small blood vessels of the leg. This causes them to gradually shrink and go away. This spider vein treatment works best for small-to-medium-sized vessels. Spider vein treatment often results in some bruising and discoloration for 1-3 weeks. It can take up to 90 days to see the full results of the treatment. Typically more than one treatment is necessary for optimal results. Veins will look red and bruised after treatment. Brown pigmentation may form during the course of healing.

5. Will spider veins come back after laser treatment? 

The good news is, spider veins will not come back after laser treatment. The bad news is, if you are prone to getting spider veins, you may find that you continue to develop new spider veins. 

The best way to avoid getting more spider veins is through proactive prevention. A few lifestyle changes can go a long way. Good blow flow is the key. You may want to consider compression stockings, getting regular exercise, avoiding remaining in a seated position for long periods of time, putting your feet up, and maintaining a healthy weight. 

Board-Certified Expertise in Vein Care. 

With the medical advances in modern technology, achieving your health and aesthetic goals is more accessible than ever before. At Cosmetic Center by VIVA, we offer the latest, minimally invasive innovations that have been proven for their effectiveness and safety. Our Board Certified, Fellowship Trained Vascular Physicians and Nurse Practitioner are your go-to experts in the region. 

To find out if laser therapy is right for you, contact Cosmetic Center by VIVA for your free leg screening today: (540) 376-7777.