Spider Veins

Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are red and purple blood vessels that occur in patches on the legs. The network of vessels is often as delicate as a spider's web, which is how they get their name but they can also resemble tiny sunbursts, branching trees or may be distributed in a linear fashion on the surface of the skin.

Spider veins and varicose veins are not the same -- and one does not lead to the other. Whereas varicose veins are large, swollen and occur singularly on the legs, spider veins are delicate and tend to develop in clusters. They are, however, caused by similar factors. Spider veins appear to be hormonally induced and often are associated with pregnancy and menstruation. Although these spider veins do not produce symptoms, the feeder veins deeper in the skin may cause discomfort. Spider veins occur mostly in women, although they are also seen in men.

Symptoms of spider veins may include:

  • Dull, generalized aching (especially after standing for long periods)
  • Throbbing pain
  • Night cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Heaviness in legs
  • Symptoms may get worse with menstruation and warmer weather

Spider veins do not pose a serious health threat; they are primarily a cosmetic problem. Typically spider veins cause aching discomfort, a heavy feeling, and legs that tire easily, with symptoms that often get worse as the day continues. Relief comes with walking or elevating the legs.

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