Risk factors are things that increase the chances of developing a health condition. The more risk factors you have for a particular condition, the greater your chances of developing it. Risk factors for spider veins include:
- Increasing age.
- Having family members with vein problems or being born with weak vein valves.
- Hormonal changes. These occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Taking birth control pills and other medicines containing estrogen and progesterone also increases the risk of varicose or spider veins.
- Pregnancy. During pregnancy, there is a huge increase in the amount of blood in the body, which can cause veins to enlarge. The expanding uterus also puts pressure on the veins. Spider veins usually improve within three months after delivery. A growing number of abnormal veins usually appear with each additional pregnancy.
- Obesity, leg injury, prolonged standing, and other things that weaken vein valves.
- Sun exposure, which can cause spider veins on the cheeks or nose of a fair-skinned person.
Not all spider veins can be prevented, but some things can reduce your chances of getting new ones. These same things can help ease discomfort from the spider veins you already have:
- Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun and to limit spider veins on the face.
- Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength, circulation, and vein strength. Focus on exercises that work your legs, such as walking or running.
- Control your weight to avoid placing too much pressure on your legs.
- Do not cross your legs when sitting.
- Elevate your legs when resting as much as possible.
- Do not stand or sit for long periods of time. If you must stand for a long time, shift your weight from one leg to the other every few minutes. If you must sit for long periods of time, stand up and move around or take a short walk every 30 minutes.
- Wear elastic support stockings, and avoid tight clothing that constricts your waist, groin, or legs.
- Eat a low-salt diet rich in high-fiber foods. High-fiber foods include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, like bran. Eating too much salt can cause you to retain water or swell.