When the blood pools in superficial veins due to poor circulation, it leads to the formation of spider veins. Spider veins are a network of small purple, blue or red colored thread like veins. Similar to the finely woven threads of a spider’s web, the spider veins crisscrosses across the face, legs, thighs and ankles.
Spider veins are a simpler version of the varicose veins. But unlike varicose veins, spider veins do not exhibit any symptoms. The only symptoms which are associated with spider veins are itching, slight leg cramps and mild pain.
Spider veins go by many different names including spider angioma, thread veins, broken capillaries, sunburst varicosities and spider telangiectasia. Women are more prone to develop spider veins than men.
Spider veins form due to many reasons. Poor circulation is one of the main reasons for the formation of spider veins. Poor circulation leads to pooling of blood inside the veins, which causes them to bulge. Swelling of veins and blood clots can also cause spider veins. People with congenital anomalies are predisposed to spider veins.
Women using birth control pills and those who have undergone hormone replacement therapy are likely to suffer from spider veins. Excessive exposure to the sun, obesity, use of steroidal creams for an extended period of time, leg injury and even pregnancy can result in spider veins.
The two most popular treatment methods for spider veins include sclerotherapy and laser treatment. There is a high success rate for these treatment methods though a full guarantee cannot be given to either of these new age treatment procedures. The best option before going in for either of these treatments is to consult a dermatologist, as they are in the best position to advice a patient on what treatment method to opt for.
In sclerotherapy, liquids either a saline solution or sodium tetradecyl, are injected directly into the spider veins. Once the liquids are injected, scar tissue begins to form which fades away with time. A painless procedure lasting between five minutes and an hour, sclerotherapy treatment may have to be repeated for up to six times before visible results can be seen.
In laser treatment, a high intensity laser beam is passed over the spider veins which in turn makes them shrink and disappear. Laser treatment is a slightly more painful procedure than sclerotherapy.