Varicose Veins & Spider Veins
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging veins, most frequently appearing in an individual’s legs and feet. Varicose veins occur when the valves in a vein become weakened, causing blood to “pool” in the legs, which limits the blood supply returning to the heart. When this occurs, veins become visible and can be painful or later cause discomfort.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are small, dilated blood vessels located close to the surface of the skin that have a red or bluish color. Spider veins get their name from the shape of the discolorations.
What causes varicose & spider veins?
The exact cause of varicose and spider veins is unknown, though research has suggested that genetics, obesity, hormones, a history of blood clots, and occupations that require a lot of standing contribute to the severity of the condition.
- Visible discoloration and/or bulging veins
- Achey or heavy feeling in the problem area, commonly the legs
- Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping, and swelling
- Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
- Itching around one or more of your veins
- mild, dull discomfort or burning sensation
- Sclerotherapy: the injection of a special solution, known as a sclerosant, into the unwanted veins using a very fine needle. The solution causes the lining of the vessels to seal later reducing the visibility of the veins.
- Radiofrequency Ablation: through a small incision, a catheter is threaded into the vein, followed by a probe that emits radiofrequency. The energy that is emitted from the radiofrequency heats up the vein, causing the walls of the vein to collapse, thus closing and sealing it shut.
Additional Information regarding screening options and resources available through UT Physicians:
While recommended for everyone, the screenings are particularly important for tobacco users, women, and individuals with a family history of varicose veins.