Is My Medication To Blame For My Spider Veins?
If you’re looking for the cause of your spider veins, it is not found in your medicine cabinet. Learn about what causes the development of spider veins.
Prescription medications are modern miracles that help cure or lessen the suffering associated with many chronic diseases. If you are on prescription medication and have noticed an increase in spider veins on your legs, it’s natural to question if the medication is to blame. However, there is no evidence that prescription or over-the-counter medications can cause or worsen spider veins. Like varicose veins, spider veins are the result of venous insufficiency, also known as vein disease. Vein disease is the breakdown in blood flow from the veins to the heart.
So If It’s Not My Medication, Then Why Do I Have Spider Veins?
Spider veins are the flatter, thinner, and usually less painful cousins of varicose veins. However, both varicose and spider veins result from weakened vein valves that allow blood to pool. The blood pushes the veins outward toward the surface of the skin. Most people experience only minor symptoms, such as itching and pain. Still, they might want to eliminate their spider veins because of the unsightly appearance of spider veins.
Birth control pills are the one possible exception to medications that cause spider or varicose veins. The powerful female hormones estrogen and progesterone can weaken vein walls, allowing blood to flow in the wrong direction.
Besides birth control pills, some of the most common risk factors for spider veins include:
A family history of varicose veins or spider veins increases your chances of having the same conditions. In addition, a genetic predisposition to blood clots may also raise your risk of varicose veins and spider veins.
Excess pounds exert extra pressure on your veins, which can weaken vein valves and walls, allowing spider veins to develop.
Prolonged Sitting or Standing
When you sit or stand for long hours, the pressure in your leg veins builds. Combined with the force of gravity, the valves in the leg veins lose strength when pushing blood back to the heart from the lower extremities. Blood then pools in the veins, leading to visible spider veins.
It’s a fact of life: As we grow older, the vein valves weaken, and the risk of spider veins is increased.
During menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease. Because veins and capillaries depend on these hormones to function normally, the vein walls and valves can weaken when estrogen and progesterone levels drop. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can boost a woman’s reserve of these hormones, keeping veins healthy and preventing new spider veins from appearing. However, HRT cannot prevent the initial formation of spider veins.
Other risk factors for spider veins range from sun exposure to trauma from injury. Although the above factors revolve around lifestyle, heredity, and natural changes to our bodies, some medical conditions can exacerbate the development of spider veins. These would include acne, rosacea, and liver disease. In addition, scleroderma, a rare connective tissue disorder, may cause spider veins to develop on the face, hands, or feet. An inflammatory disease known as dermatomyositis can also contribute to the appearance of spider veins and other rashes.
Preventing & Treating Spider Veins
Lifestyle changes can help keep spider veins from forming and reduce the appearance of existing spider veins. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly to engage the calf muscles can facilitate healthy blood flow. Elevating your feet above your heart for as little as 15 minutes a day reduces pressure on the leg veins. This simple act can facilitate healthy blood flow from the legs to the heart. By wearing compression stockings, you can apply gentle pressure to the leg veins, which helps to improve blood flow and reduce discomfort.
Minimally invasive outpatient procedures that can eliminate spider veins include:
Sclerotherapy: A safe, saline-based solution is injected into the vein during sclerotherapy. This agent, called a sclerosant, irritates and scars the vein, which eventually disappears, and blood diverts to healthy veins. You may require more than one sclerotherapy session to remove all spider veins.
Lasers: The heat from a laser is pulsed through the damaged vein and destroys it. Although slight discoloration may occur, the procedure is relatively painless. Similar to sclerotherapy, more than one session may be needed.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy: Intense pulse light (IPL) therapy works similarly to a laser. However, instead of a single wavelength from a laser, a wider spectrum of light targets the spider veins. IPL is used primarily to shrink the size of smaller spider veins.
Laser and IPL therapy are typically recommended only for spider veins on the face or feet, where the skin is thinner. Although you may see temporary positive results from laser or IPL therapy, the only permanent cure for spider veins is sclerotherapy. Your CVR vein physician will advise you about the best course of action to eliminate your spider veins.
Always talk to your doctor about possible causes for the appearance of spider veins while taking medication. It’s never a good idea to stop taking medications without consulting your physician first.
Time to Treat Your Spider Veins
Center for Vein Restoration operates three vein treatment offices in Arizona led by experienced vascular specialists. Nick Morrison, MD, FACS, FACPh, is board-certified in surgery as well as in venous and lymphatic medicine. Jeffrey Alpern, DO, is a board-certified cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon with more than 40 years of medical experience. Both have helped thousands of patients overcome the pain and unsightly appearance of varicose veins and spider veins. Contact their offices today for a consultation!
3509 S. Mercy Road
Gilbert, AZ 85297
1500 S. Dobson Road, Suite 310
Mesa, AZ 85202
9515 W. Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85037