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No one likes the way spider veins look or feel.  Most people are even a little shocked when they notice spider veins starting to appear.  If this is your first experience with spider veins or you just want more information before deciding what to do, then you probably have a lot of questions.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  There are a variety of questions which most people need answers to at some point.  This is a quick look at five of the most common questions asked about spider veins.

What are the Difference between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?

Is important understand the difference between varicose veins and spider veins because they are different in several key ways.  This will affect how you end up treating them and whether they have the potential to become a long-term issue.  Varicose veins are much more noticeable because they become enlarged.  Additionally, they can easily become swollen and start to rise above the surface of the skin.

Spider veins are very similar, however they are much smaller.  They are also closer to the surface of the skin, which is why they are treated differently.  They are normally found on the legs and face, however can cover extremely small or excessively large areas of your skin.

What Causes Spider Veins?

Spider veins are primarily caused by the backup of blood in the vein.  Additional causes include hormone changes, certain types of injuries, and prolonged exposure to the sun.  Currently, it is estimated that between 50 and 55 percent of women in the United States are suffering from some type of vein problem at any given point in time.

There are several factors which will influence how likely you are to develop spider veins.  Your risk for spider veins increase as you age and also become prevalent during hormonal changes such as during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.  Spider vein development during pregnancy is common, not only because of the hormonal changes, but because there are significant increases the amount of blood in the body.  This naturally causes the veins to enlarge and will normally go away within three months after delivery.  Obesity, lack of movement, and sun exposure are also risk factors for spider veins.

Are They Dangerous?

Spider veins are rarely a serious health problem.  At most, they can cause uncomfortable feelings in your legs.  Some of the symptoms include itching or burning.  One thing to keep in mind is that spider veins can be a sign of a blood backup deeper inside your body, which is not visible on the skin.  If this is the case, then you will notice the same symptoms as you would normally get with varicose veins.  Varicose veins do not always cause problems, however they can lead to an aching pain, throbbing, and general discomfort.  There’ve also been tied to more serious health issues such as skin ulcers, deep vein thrombosis, and bleeding.

How Can Spider Veins Be Treated?

The most common treatment for spider veins is sclerotherapy.  During this treatment, your doctor or technician will use a needle to inject a liquid chemical directly into the vein.  This chemical will cause the walls of the vein to swell and stick together which seals them shut.  Once the flow of blood is stopped, the vein will turn in the scar tissue and fade within a few weeks.  It is important to keep in mind that the same vein may need to be treated more than once depending upon its size.

Laser treatments for spider veins are becoming a popular option as well.  This technique utilizes strong bursts of light which penetrates through the skin onto the vein.  One of the reasons this method has become popular is because no needles or incisions need to be made, however the heat from the laser can cause discomfort during the treatment process.  Like sclerotherapy, laser treatments for spider veins may need to be repeated several times before the skin completely clears up.

Will They Return After Treatment?

Compared to traditional surgical treatments, sclerotherapy and laser treatments have a significantly higher success rate.  At the same time, there is always a risk that spider veins may reappear over a period of years.  This is particularly true if a new risk factor is introduced in your lifestyle, such as hormonal changes, multiple pregnancies, or a sudden increase in weight gain.

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