Small veins visible near the surface of the skin are called “spider veins” (they are also referred to as broken capillaries, telangiectasias, and couperose). They don’t usually cause symptoms but they are unsightly. Some patients complain of itching and burning sensations in the area of spider veins.

Appearing most commonly on the legs in clusters or separately, spider veins may also appear on other parts of the body, especially the face. They are red, blue or purple in colour.

There are three basic patterns for spider veins:

  • True spider shape with a group of veins entangled and radiating outwards from a central, dark point.
  • Intertwined in form and twisting, looking like overcrossing branches.
  • Simple linear shapes, appearing like separate thin lines.

Several factors lead to the development of spider veins, such as heredity, pregnancy, hormonal shifts (oestrogen and progesterone), weight gain and a lifestyle that includes prolonged periods of sitting or standing. The use of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and contraceptive pills in women is associated with an increased incidence of spider veins.

spider-veins-on-thigh varicose-and-spider-veins-on-leg

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