If you’re like most people, you use the terms varicose veins and spider veins interchangeably. In fact, however, these two conditions are quite different, with varying causes and treatment options. Read on to learn more about the characteristics that distinguish varicose veins from spider veins.
Both varicose veins and spider veins are blood vessels that twist and turn and are easily visible through the skin. However, varicose veins are much larger and swollen, raised above the surface of the skin, typically appearing only on the legs.
Some women develop varicose veins in the pelvic area during pregnancy. Spider veins are much smaller and can appear on the legs as well as the chest and face.
Varicose veins are usually caused by damage valves in the veins, which causes blood to back up within the vessels. While this condition can cause spider veins as well, the smaller visible veins are also caused by hormones, sun exposure, and injury to the affected area.
However, the two types of veins share many similar risk factors. You are more at risk for developing visible veins if you are older than age 50, have a family member who has varicose or spider veins, are undergoing hormonal changes, pregnant, or obese.
Spider veins are more common among those who are frequently exposed to the sun.
Spider veins rarely cause symptoms, though they are occasionally linked to minor itching and burning. However, varicose veins can lead to other medical complications.
If you have varicose veins, you may experience aching, throbbing pain in the affected area. Left untreated, these veins can lead to sores or skin ulcers, significant blood loss in case of injury to the area, a superficial blood clot, or deep vein thrombosis (which can be life-threatening).
Treatment for varicose veins may consist of compression stockings. These garments put pressure on the veins, which helps relieve symptoms and prevent complications.
If this intervention does not provide sufficient relief, you may be a candidate for sclerotherapy. This treatment, which can be used for both spider and varicose veins, involves injecting a chemical into the vein, stopping the blood flow, and creating scar tissue that causes the vein to fade.
Laser treatments can also be used to reduce the size and appearance of these veins.
If you have spider or varicose veins, a dermatologist can examine you and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Contact Fox Vein Experts today to make an appointment and learn about which treatment can help you become free of varicose or spider veins.