A Complete Guide to Spider Veins

A Complete Guide to Spider Veins

It’s possible that you have heard about spider veins or you know someone who has them. But maybe you don’t know what they are or why they happen.

Below we’ll go over what spider veins are, how they happen, the risks that are involved with having them and how you can prevent getting more, along with the spider vein treatment options that are available.

Spider Veins – What Are They?

These are dilated veins which look close to your skin’s surface and look a lot like tree branches or spider webs. They’re usually blue or red. Even though they’re able to appear anywhere, they’re often seen on the face and legs. They’re smaller when compared with varicose veins, but they’re sometimes found together. Varicose differ from spider veins in that they are swollen and full of pooled blood.

These two types of veins are extremely common, especially when you are over age 50. A lot of times these types of veins don’t cause any symptoms. However, they sometimes can trigger throbbing, restless legs and swelling. Sometimes they might cause blood clots or skin sores or become painful. Usually the treatment to take care of spider veins is effective and safe.

Spider Vein Symptoms

The sign that you are going to notice first is the veins’ appearance on your skin. they can be purple, blue or red. Other common symptoms include:

  • Itching close to the veins
  • Your legs are feeling uncomfortable
  • Rash
  • Swelling
  • Aching, cramping or throbbing
  • Skin ulcers
  • Restless legs

Some signs you should see a doctor are:

  • Your veins are painful
  • You’ve noticed your veins feel really tender and warm when you touch them
  • You’re developing skin rashes, ulcers or sores
  • Your calf or ankle skin’s thickening and changing color
  • You’re noticing that your spider veins are bleeding

Why Spider Veins Happen

Nearly 80 million people in the United States have either varicose or spider veins. Nearly half of the women that are age 40-50 and ¾ of the ones from 60-70 suffer from them. When it comes to men, ¼ of those who are 30-40 and 50% of those who are 70 and older have them.

Varicose and spider veins are due to damaged or weak valves in your veins. When valves aren’t opening and letting blood leave your veins, the blood will back up and cause the veins to swell. There are a variety of factors that will increase a person’s risk of having these conditions. These include:

  • Aging
  • Blood clot history
  • Changes in hormones due to menopause, HRT or puberty
  • Constipation
  • Exposure to sun when you have light skin
  • Heredity – having someone who has had them in your family
  • Obesity
  • Oral contraception
  • Pregnancy
  • Sitting or standing for a long amount of time
  • Wearing clothing that fits too tightly, like a girdle
  • Sun exposure (in light-skinned people)

Potential Spider Vein Complications

Spider veins are much smaller than varicose veins and although unsightly, are not dangerous. But varicose veins are larger and can sometimes will come with:

  • Bleeding since the skin on top of the veins is easily injured due to being thin
  • Phlebitis, which means the vein’s inflamed because the blood has clotted
  • Skin ulcers forming because the vein’s not draining and your skin’s deprived of the oxygen it needs.
  • Thrombosis, where blood clots are forming in a swollen vein.
  • DVT can kill you if a clot goes to one of your vital organs.

Spider Vein Diagnosis

Your doctor will be able to see spider veins when you’re having a physical. However, if they suspect varicose veins, they may want to examine them while you’re standing and seated. To check and see if you have clots or to look at the blood flow, there are tests he or she might order, like

  • Ultrasound which uses sound waves in order to create pictures of blood flow and internal structures
  • Venogram, which uses x-rays for creating vein images.

You usually won’t require any type of treatment for spider veins unless you’re concerned with the appearance. If you want to improve the appearance of spider veins, there are a few options that you have.

  • Support stockings – These stockings place pressure on veins and help to relieve discomfort and lessen the appearance of spider veins and prevent the formation of new ones. They can be prescribed or purchased without a prescription.
  • Sclerotherapy – This is a common treatment and it’s used for spider veins. During this procedure, your provider will inject a certain chemical into the veins and this will cause them to become sealed shut. Because the blood flow’s stopped, that vein will turn into scar tissue, eventually fading. It sometimes has to be done every 4-6 weeks for several rounds of treatments until the appearance fades.
  • Laser treatments – This will use a laser so that light bursts are sent through skin and down into a vein, so that the vein fades.
  • Surgery – There are different surgical techniques that can be used, but they’re reserved usually for the most unsightly and largest varicose veins rather than the smaller spider veins.

Spider Vein Outlook

Varicose and spider veins usually aren’t serious issues when it comes to your health. The treatments that are available are generally simple and very successful. But it’s always possible that new veins are going to form as you grow older.

Prevention of Spider Veins

If you’ve had a problem with varicose or spider veins in the past, it’s possible to lower your risk of having more develop by:

  • Wearing compression or support stockings
  • Putting your feet up for half an hour a few times per day.

Other ways that you can prevent varicose and spider veins are the following:

  • Not crossing your legs while sitting down
  • Not sitting or standing in a single position for long
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Maintaining a weight that’s healthy
  • Not wearing high heels


If you suffer from spider veins, remember that usually they are not going to cause any problems and you are not alone. But if you want to have them treated, there are treatments available and you don’t have to live with them. Consult a doctor and you’ll be able to have them taken care of.

Questions about Veins?

Let Pura Vida Medical Spa help you with your visible spider and varicose veins. Call us at 239-919-7872 and schedule a free consultation. On the web, visit puravidanaples.com to learn more about us and our med spa services.

We are conveniently located in Downtown Naples on Fifth Avenue South with ample free parking nearby. After (or before your appointment) visit some of the nearby great restaurants and shopping in our neighborhood.