What causes spider veins?
Spider veins, Broken veins or Telangiectasia are a common problem particularly affecting women. Small red or purple veins can form anywhere on the leg and while they do not pose any major health risk, they may cause discomfort. No one has determined for certain why some people are affected although long periods of standing or sitting or trauma to the leg, such as a blow or fall, may contribute to their formation. More women than men develop this condition, perhaps as a result of normal hormonal changes such as those that occur in pregnancy.
What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a procedure in which a fine needle is used to inject a small amount of solution directly into the vein. The solution displaces the blood within the vein, making it blanch or turn white, and prevents blood from re-entering the vein.
The spider veins will fade within 2-8 weeks following treatment. Some areas may, however, require repeat treatment to achieve optimum results. An interval of 6-8 weeks is recommended between treatments and 3 treatments are recommended.
Is sclerotherapy painful?
Patients who have received this treatment report little discomfort. Some experience a slight burning sensation immediately after the injection which lasts a few seconds.
Are there any side effects?
Most patients experience no adverse effects although some minor side effects have been reported. These include slight swelling which occurs as a reaction to the injection but this subsides over 2 -3 days. Swelling may occur in the veins of the lower leg or ankle. Although not dangerous, this should be treated at home with elevation.
Occasionally a small dark area of pigmentation resembling a freckle may remain. These spots usually disappear spontaneously as will any bruising within 2 – 14 days.
What causes spider and reticular veins?
Spider and reticular veins can be caused by many factors.
  • Heredity. Having a family member with prominent veins may increase the risk of you developing them. Approximately half of the people who get varicose veins have a family history of them.
  • Age. The normal wear and tear of aging may cause valves in the veins to weaken and not work as well.
  • Gender. Women are two to three times more likely to develop varicose veins than men. Up to half of American women have varicose veins. Changes in hormones due to puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or taking birth control pills may increase a woman’s risk of developing varicose veins.
  • Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the growth of the fetus increases the pressure on the veins in the legs. Varicose veins that occur during pregnancy usually improve within 3 to 12 months following delivery.
  • Overweight and obesity. Having extra weight on the body can put additional pressure on the veins.
  • Prolonged standing or sitting. This is particularly true with legs bent or crossed. When standing or sitting with legs bent or crossed, the veins have to work harder to pump the blood up to the heart.
Other possible causes for varicose veins are race, posture, occupation, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, primary valvular incompetence, and incompetent perforating veins.