Spider veins are one of the most common human conditions. In the Edinburgh Vein Study, researchers checked the legs of over 1,500 people and found that 84% had telangiectasia—another name for spider veins. Certain myths about spider veins are also common.
To get to the truth about this often-seen condition, you must first answer the question: What are spider veins? Also known as thread veins, spider veins are tiny but visible veins that are below the surface of the skin. They can be red, blue, or purple, and they often form a network or web on legs and feet.
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11 Spider Vein Myths
Have you fallen for these common myths about spider veins? Don’t get caught in a web of misconceptions. Learn to recognize these myths about spider veins and you’ll be better prepared to deal with them.
Myth #1: Varicose Veins and Spider Veins Are the Same
Some people are unclear on the topic of varicose veins vs. spider veins. Here’s what you need to know. Varicose veins are larger and bulge outward. They can be a health issue. Spider veins are usually a cosmetic issue and not a health threat. Many people have both varicose veins and spider veins—but spider veins do not turn into varicose veins.
Myth #2: No One Knows What Causes Spider Veins
If you have spider veins, it may be difficult or impossible to know exactly what caused them. But doctors do know some things that can lead to spider veins. These include:
- A family history of spider veins
- Age and the changes that go along with it
- Excess weight, which puts extra pressure on veins
- Hormone levels and things that affect them, such as pregnancy or hormone treatment
- Sunlight, which is a risk factor for spider veins on the face
Myth #3: Spider Veins Only Appear on the Feet and Legs
The legs and feet are the most common sites for spider veins but you can have spider veins in other locations, especially on the face. Spider veins on the breasts are fairly common, probably because the breasts are affected by hormones and by the weight gain that naturally occurs with pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Myth #4: Spider Veins Don’t Cause Any Symptoms
It’s true that spider veins usually don’t have any symptoms. Still, occasionally you may experience some itchiness, or achiness in the location of your spider veins. Many people who have spider veins also have varicose veins, and sometimes it’s hard to separate varicose vein symptoms from those of spider veins.
Myth #5: Only Women Get Spider Veins
You may see statements saying that women have twice as many vein problems as men do but these statements don’t separate varicose veins and spider veins. The Edinburgh Vein Study found that 79% of men had spider veins—the statistic for women was 88%. Men are almost as likely as women to have this condition.
Myth #6: Only Unhealthy People Have Problems With Their Veins
You can take excellent care of your health and still have spider veins, especially if problem veins run in your family. You may be able to reduce the frequency and severity of vein issues with these healthful practices:
- Avoid extra pounds that can put pressure on veins.
- Don’t smoke because the chemicals in tobacco can affect the circulatory system.
- Eat a good diet to get the vitamins and minerals you need for healthy tissues.
- Exercise regularly to help the blood circulate.
- Stay hydrated to keep your blood flowing freely.
Myth #7: There’s No Effective Treatment for Spider Veins
There are three ways to treat spider veins. Sclerotherapy is the one used most often. In this procedure, vein specialists inject a solution into the vein that makes it close up. The body reroutes the blood through a healthier vein, and the body slowly absorbs the closed-up vein. Depending on the location of your spider veins and other variables, doctors may choose a different method or a combination of methods to treat them.
Myth #8: The Body Needs All Its Veins to Function
The human body has many thousands of miles of blood vessels. It can easily get along without some of them. Many times the body reroutes blood flow to take advantage of healthier arteries and veins. If you have treatment that closes a vein, the body will compensate for its loss. This is especially true of the tiny veins involved in spider veins.
Myth #9: Spider Veins Come Back After Treatment
Once a vein has been successfully treated, it will not return. You may or may not get new spider veins at some point but you should be able to repeat the treatment if desired.
Myth #10: They Are Still Treating Problem Veins the Same Way They Did Years Ago
It is true that in the United States, veins were being treated with sclerotherapy as early as 1939. However, there have been many advances in sclerotherapy since then. Doctors may also use lasers in vein treatment or a newer procedure called ohmic thermolysis. They can combine these methods to treat spider veins in the most advanced, up-to-date way possible.
Myth #11: Treatment for Spider Veins Can Be Complicated or Expensive
Because of the many advancements in medicine, spider vein treatment may be more affordable than you think. If you opt for treatment, you should have minimal discomfort, and you should be able to go back to your regular schedule quickly. Of course, everyone’s case is slightly different. A consultation with a vein specialist can provide the individualized answers you need.
Find Help for Spider Veins
Tired of ugly spider veins? Don’t let misconceptions about this common condition keep you from seeking treatment.
At Medicus Vein Care, our spider vein specialists can help you separate spider vein myths from facts. We can also design a treatment just for you. If needed, we can use a combination of sclerotherapy, VeinWave™, and cutaneous laser therapy. Our years of experience and our cutting-edge technology are a winning duo. If you are ready to get rid of ugly spider veins, schedule a free consultation today.