What are Thread Veins?
Thread veins are tiny blood vessels running close to the skin surface and they look like fine red, at times purple, wiggly lines. The tiny blood vessels which run close to the skin surface and medically termed as Telangiectasia are the Thread veins which look red or purple wiggly lines. Thread veins are also called spider veins or broken veins sometimes.
Usually there is no obvious cause for occurrence of thread veins. They tend to develop as we age and our skin and blood vessels get less elastic. There may also be a hereditary cause for occurrence of thread veins. Moreover, sunbathing, exposure to extreme temperature or wind, cortico-steroid medications and radiotherapy are some of the causes for thread veins. Standing for long periods may not cause thread veins but may aggravate the condition.
It must be noted that though these thread veins may not look dangerous, with time they tend to becomes actually larger and increase in number over time. It is seen that around one in five women in their 20s get thread veins. By age 70, above 70% of women have thread veins.
There are several ways to get rid of thread veins and we are going to know about them in the following section of our article.
Treatments to Get Rid of Thread Veins
There are several treatment options such as laser therapy, sclerotherapy or a mixture of both that can help get rid of thread veins. There are other treatments too.
This therapy make use of brief pulses of laser light so as to destroy smaller blood vessels. There are several types of laser which are used in laser therapy for thread veins. For getting rid of thin red veins close to the surface of the skin, a pulsed dye laser is the best one to use. Deeper blue or purple colored thread veins require treatment through a laser with a longer wavelength or YAG laser so as to reach them.
Although laser destroys the thread veins via heat, you won’t feel pain or burning. A local anesthetic cream might be used if you wish.
Thread veins which are bigger than 4 mm require treatments through sclerotherapy. This treatment make use of a tiny needle which are smaller than the sewing needle so as to inject a solution known as scelerosant that causes microscopic damage to the cell lining of the thread vein. Thus, the vein shrinks gradually and disappears over a period of about 8 weeks. It must be mentioned that at initial consultation, your thread veins will be assessed and you will be advised on which treatment would work best for you.
You will notice the pricking sensation of the needle with sclerotherapy. Usually a local anesthetic is injected in to the vein with the sclerosant solution so that there is minimal pain. Sclerotherapy treatments for thread veins usually last around 30 minutes.
There are rare complications associated with sclerotherapy. In very rare cases, DVT or deep vein thrombosis may be developed after the treatment. There may be bruising and itching sometimes in the treated part for few hours or days.
This is one more treatment option for getting rid of thread veins. However they are now very less popular these days.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Thread Veins
There are also some alternative treatments available for getting rid of thread veins which include the following:
Regular massage on the affected area is one of the easiest and simplest ways to improve blood circulation, which can aid in getting rid of the thread veins or spider veins.
It moreover also helps in reducing pain and inflammation.
You can make use of extra-virgin olive oil or extra-virgin coconut oil for massaging the thread vein, because of their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Apart from this, these oils penetrate deep in to the skin pretty quickly.
Follow the steps to perform the effective massage to get rid of thread veins:
- Slightly warm the oil which you want to use for your massage
- Use this warm oil for massaging the affected veins with firm and gentle strokes.
- Massage for 10 minutes at a time and do it 3 to 4 times in a day.
One of the leading causes of thread veins is poor circulation of blood, especially on the legs. Exercise enhances the blood circulation throughout the body, strengthens your body and improves the strength of the veins.
Even performing moderate regular exercise aids in fighting obesity and reduces the risk of other venous insufficiency issues.
Walk for at least 30 minutes or more, at least 5 days in a week. Also get up and walk around every 3 hours for at least 10 minutes.
In order to strengthen your calf muscles, raise yourself up on the balls of your feet and then slowly lower yourself back down for about 10 or 15 minutes, a few times in a day.
Include jogging, climbing stairs, swimming or other circulation-boosting activities to your regular routine.
In case you have thread veins of spider veins on your legs and your hands, elevation is a good option for relieving the pressure in the veins. Elevation even improves the circulation of blood to the affected area.
- For thread veins on the legs, you need to place a pillow under your legs as you sleep on your back. Also, keep your legs elevated for 15 minutes at a time, several times in a day
- To get rid of thread veins on the hands, elevate the hands by placing them on a few stacked pillows for about 15 minutes, 4 to 5 times in a day.
- In order to reduce the discomforts of spider veins on your face, sleep on your back with your head slightly elevated by using soft pillows. Your head should be at least a couple of inches above your body.
Compression stocking are very beneficial in reducing the discomforts associated with the thread veins. These are readily available in knee-high, thigh-high and waist-high length. However it must be mentioned that compression stockings are effective only for the thread veins or the spider veins on the legs. Before buying compression stockings, consult your doctor for advice on the type of stockings you need and how long you should wear them to help get rid of thread veins.
Ginger could be one of the effective home remedy to get rid of thread veins. Ginger helps in breaking up fibrin, or a blood protein that builds up in areas where your veins are injured.
- Cut one inch of fresh ginger in to thin pieces
- Add the ginger slices to about 2 cups of boiling water
- Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes
- Strain, add honey and drink this ginger tea while it is still warm.
- Drink it 2-3 times in a day.
However, make sure not to take ginger if you are taking blood pressure medication or blood thinners; or simply consult your doctor before using ginger.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This is one more natural remedy for thread veins. It enhances the blood flow and circulation, which aids in reducing swelling and pain to a great extent.
- Saturate a piece of cloth with raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Place the cloth on your affected area for about 20 minutes. Do this for 2-3 times in a day for several days.
- You can also add 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and stir well and can add a little raw honey and drink it two times regularly.
This is yet another extremely effective home remedy for getting rid of thread veins. The tannins and volatile compounds present in it aids in strengthening blood vessels, which in turn reduces the appearance of bulging veins. It not only helps in getting rid of the thread veins but also helps in reducing swelling and pain.
- Dab a little witch hazel extract on the affected portion and leave it to dry on its own. Do not rinse it. Do this twice regularly until you notice improvement in the symptoms of thread veins.
- One more option to make use of this remedy is to steep half cup of witch hazel leaves in one cup of hot water for about 10 minutes. Remove the leaves and allow the water to cool. Apply this water on the affected veins by using a cotton ball. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes, two times in a day.
This herb aids in strengthening veins and thus is very effective in reducing the discomforts of thread veins and other venous problems. Horse chestnut has anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling properties.
- Apply horse chestnut seed gel, which is available in the market, externally on the affected area for two times in a day.
- Another option for making use of this herb could be; mixing 1 tablespoon of horse chestnut tincture in 10 tablespoons of distilled witch hazel and applying it to the affected portion two times in a day.
- Alternatively, you can also take horse chestnut supplements. However, make sure you consult with your doctor for the exact dosage.
NOTE: Pregnant or nursing women must not ingest horse chestnut. Also avoid this herb if you have liver or kidney diseases or if you are taking blood thinning medications.