What are spider veins?
Spider veins are the fine, thread-like reddish veins at the surface of the skin. Spider veins are not healthy. Spider veins are are often considered a cosmetic issue, but they can be associated with underlying feeder veins, not visible to the naked eye. Feeder veins are the ‘blue veins’ also known as ‘reticular veins,’ that give rise to spider veins. Spider veins may also be a sign of underlying venous insufficiency. For example, spider veins located in the inner ankles and inner thighs can indicate an underlying problem with the saphenous vein. As a result, an ultrasound examination may be recommended to identify and effectively treat the underlying source of the spider veins.
What are the symptoms of spider veins?
Vein conditions affect people differently. For some, spider veins can be a painless cosmetic concern, and for others they may cause symptoms. The most common symptoms of spider veins are burning, throbbing, and localized pain. They can also feel hot and itchy and bleed.
What causes spider veins?
Spider veins in the legs are caused by the same condition that causes varicose veins. Leaky vein valves allow blood to pool within the veins causing them to stretch and become enlarged. Spider veins on other areas of the body, such as the face, and chest can be caused by sun damage, hormone changes or liver disease. Hormones, such as with pregnancy, birth control or hormone replacement therapy can weaken the vein wall.