Thread veins, or varicose veins don’t just appear overnight. Click here to learn about the symptoms so you can catch them before they start.
Over 60% of adults will experience thread veins during their lifetime.
These unsightly and sometimes painful rogue veins are a source of discomfort and embarrassment to many women, who struggle with the appearance of them as they age.
Understanding what causes thread veins and knowing how to spot the symptoms early can mean that you get expert help before they cause you major issues.
Here’s our guide to understanding and dealing with the symptoms of thread veins.
What Causes Thread Veins?
Thread veins. Spider veins. Varicose veins.
You’ve probably come across all of these terms at some point. They all refer to problems that occur when veins stop functioning as they should do.
Thread veins are the same as spider veins. These are tiny veins that may seem to radiate from a central point, hence the name spider veins. Varicose veins refer to larger veins that have stopped working.
How Do Veins Work?
The body’s system of veins is responsible for returning blood to the heart for it to be oxygenated and return to nourish the cells. In healthy veins, the blood is moved up the vein back to the heart by surrounding muscles.
The veins are equipped with a series of one-way valves. This ensures that the blood flows in the right direction until it is returned to the heart.
How Do Problems Start?
Problems begin when one of the components – the surrounding muscles or the valves – do not function as they should. Over time, the blood stops pumping in the right direction and pools in the veins.
This pooling wears away the walls of the veins and causes a build-up of pressure. Veins can become twisted.
Large veins affected by this deterioration become varicose veins, and smaller veins become thread or spider veins.
Although the process is the same in both cases, the development of thread/spider veins can also be exacerbated by injuries, sun exposure and hormonal changes in the body.
What Veins Are Affected?
However, the the veins affected are far more common – and noticeable – in the legs and feet. This is because of the almost constant pressure we put our legs under – from walking and standing.
Professionals who spend a lot of time on their feet each day are particularly at risk of developing varicose veins. Think teachers, nurses, serving staff and hairdressers.
Although they may seem superficial, on occasion thread/spider veins could be a symptom of vein disease or Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI).
Whether you’re in a high-risk group or not, it’s good to be able to spot the early symptoms, and get an accurate diagnosis, so that you can take control of the problem.
Spotting the Early Signs
Some people are only affected by thread veins on an aesthetic level. However, for many others, there are serious side effects that go along with having thread or varicose veins.
Early symptoms include:
The symptoms of varicose veins and thread/spider veins are often felt long before they are seen.
Aching in the Legs
If you experience persistent aching or a heavy feeling in your legs, this could be a sign that your veins are struggling.
While you may experience this pain on a regular basis, you may find that it is worse when you have been walking or standing for a long period of time.
Intense Lower Leg Discomfort
Sometimes, painful symptoms are more intense.
They may include painful muscle cramps in the calves. A burning sensation or throbbing in your lower legs may also be a sign of emerging thread veins and varicose veins.
Not all varicose veins become visible through the skin. Some may be deep inside the leg. This is why you may be experiencing these symptoms, without any visible signs of any issues.
Sometimes the visible and invisible symptoms of thread and varicose veins go hand in hand. But if you are not experiencing any discomfort, you may still notice some of the following visible signs:
Often visible on the backs of the legs, face or feet, thread/spider veins can be visible through the skin.
Thread veins often appear as tiny threads under the skin’s surface. They may radiate from a central point or branch off a larger vein, looking like branches of a tree. They can appear red, blue or purple in color.
Varicose veins that are close to the surface of the skin can be very prominent. Often appearing like raised cords under the surface of the skin, they may protrude significantly from the skin’s surface, making them susceptible to injury.
Varicose veins can be a symptom of vascular disease. It’s good to seek the advice of specialist clinic to get the advice and possible treatment that you need.
The skin around the site of the thread veins can become very itchy.
You can also develop a rash which is a sign of a skin condition known as venous eczema or stasis dermatitis. This may be treated with topical medications, or by treating the veins themselves, which we’ll discuss later on.
Treating Thread Veins
The great news about thread/spider veins, whether they are on your legs or face, is that there are great treatment options available that can eliminate this issue.
Here’s the procedure followed to make sure you get the treatment you need:
You’ll first need to meet with a clinician to make an assessment of the extent of the problem and the right treatment method for you.
To understand the level of cardiovascular issues that you are experiencing, you may first need an ultrasound examination. This will normally take between 30-60 minutes.
This helps the physician to see what’s happening below the surface. He or she will be able to identify the root cause of your varicose veins or the symptoms you are experiencing and plan the best treatment option for you.
You will likely then be advised to take one of the two following treatment options:
If your examination reveals that you are suffering from chronic venous insufficiency disease, Radiofrequency (RF) Ablation will likely be the best treatment option for you.
It can also be used to reduce the appearance of varicose veins.
RF Ablation uses radio frequencies to apply heat to the veins. This causes the veins to be damaged, becoming scar tissue. The body no longer uses them as part of the circulatory system.
In time, the body reabsorbs this scar tissue, causing the veins to fade away.
The procedure only takes about 45 minutes and is performed under local anesthetic. Most people are able to return to work the next day.
Results are not immediate, but they are permanent for that vein as it will no longer be there and able to cause you issues. You can expect to see results within a few months of treatment.
Under local anesthesia, bulging veins are removed, thus eliminating the symptoms and the vein. The procedure takes 30 minutes and able to return to work the next day.
Sclerotherapy is a treatment that allows for the elimination of spider veins.
A specialized solution is injected directly into the affected veins. This causes the veins to swell up and then collapse.
The number of treatment sessions required will vary from patient to patient and depend on the severity of the problem. One treatment session will usually last between 20 and 40 minutes.
Whilst the treatment site may be a little sore or bruised for a short while after the treatment, side effects are minimal. Many people are able to resume their normal activities the same day.
The results will be visible within a few months, as the body’s natural processes remove the unsightly veins and restore your legs or face to their former appearance.
The Main Point: The Symptoms of Thread Veins
If you have noticed a change in how your legs feel or look, then it’s possible that you could be suffering from thread or varicose veins.
If you’re suffering from heavy, itchy or burning legs, it’s worth getting them checked out, especially as not all cases are visible under the skin.
An ultrasound by a qualified clinician will ensure that you find out the cause of the issue and means any causes for concern can be followed up appropriately.
For those that are visible, it will put your mind at rest to know that help is at hand. Whether you’re suffering from thread, or varicose, veins, there are a number of options open to you to restore the look and feel of your legs.
Contact us today to make an appointment and see how we can help you.