which affects 10%-20% of all adults, are abnormally swollen,
twisted, blue veins that protrude from the surface of the skin
in a rope like manner, usually on the legs. They are the result
of a faulty valve or weak vein walls.
In addition to
being unsightly and uncomfortable and even embarrassing,
varicose veins can cause varying degrees of discomfort, such as:
swelling in the ankles and feet, itching of the skin, throbbing,
heaviness, leg cramps. Left untreated, symptoms are likely to
worsen, leading to chronic swelling, bleeding, ulceration, skin
pigmentation and thrombophlebitis.
The normal function of veins,
both the deep and superficial veins, is to carry blood back to
the heart. These veins have numerous valves. If the valves
fails, blood flows into the superficial veins and down the leg.
This results in veins enlarging and becoming varicose.
from varicose veins more than men, and the incidence increases
to 50% of people over age 50.
What are Spider
Typically, spider veins appear to have a diameter of 1
millimeter or less, although their actual diameter may be up to
3 mm under the surface. Small varicose veins are usually pinkish
red, whereas larger vessels are blue or purple in color.
Sometimes a cluster of spider veins may appear as a red or
purple patch called blushing or matting (telangiectatic matting)
, that are often mistaken for bruises. Unlike bruises, however,
spider vein mattings do not fade. Another form of spider veins,
called an ankle flare is a cluster of spider veins, usually
associated with varicose veins, that is located on the inner
Most spider veins are not symptomatic and are usually only
considered a cosmetic problem. Some cases of spider veins -
especially those of that develop from deeper "reticular" or
feeder veins, however, come with a burning sensation or a dull,
What Causes Varicose
and Spider Veins?
Spider Veins and Varicose Veins are caused by similar factors that cause
chronic venous insufficiency. These factors
Most women with spider and
varicose veins have mothers and/or female
relatives with this vein condition. Weak vein walls and
valves, as well as shortage of vein valves, seem to be
inherited characteristics, and may play a role in
determining who develops vein problems and at what age.
During pregnancy, and to a lesser degree also during
periods, fluctuations in the female sex hormone (especially
estrogen and progesterone), cause softening of the vein
walls and valves. This makes women's veins more prone to
stretching and enlargement with increased pressure. Increased blood volume, which is needed to provide
circulation to the fetus, also cause increased pressure on
the vein walls. The growing fetus also exerts pressure on
the pelvis, which in turn, exerts pressure on the leg veins. Some women see spider veins that develop during their
pregnancies and persist after their baby is born. Other see
that their veins disappear after the baby is born, only to
reappear later in life.
Prolonged standing and sitting cause a great amount of
pressure to develop in the leg veins. In both conditions,
the calf muscles are inactive and therefore cannot help push
the venous blood to return to the heart. This causes blood
to pool in the veins, thus resulting in increased pressure
on the vein walls. This pressure drops once one begins to walk, so if your
job requires you to stand or sit for prolonged periods,
remember to take short breaks and walk around for a couple
of minutes every hour.
In some people, spider veins appear after injury or
trauma to the vein, such as after a broken ankle, surgery,
car accident, or sports injury. Bruising, which is pooled
blood resulting from broken veins under the skin, can also
lead to an inflammatory response, which in turn, can result
in enlarged veins. Sometimes, spider veins can appear many
years after the wound has healed.
In men, spider veins are usually the result of blow-outs
from nearby varicose veins. High pressure from these veins
cause adjoining superficial veins to stretch, enlarge, and
change in color. These spider veins are usually darker and
have larger diameters than the spider veins in women. Spider vein matting, which resemble bruisings that do not
go away, is often caused by the healing process of injuries
and bruises, as well as complications from sclerotheraphy. Ankle flares, or spider veins found on the inside ankle,
is often associated with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI),
a condition where venous blood is not returned efficiently
to the heart.
Causes of Facial Spider
Although for most people spider veins occurs in their
legs, there are instances where fine veins in the face and
nose area become enlarged and darker in color. For some, prominent facial veins are caused by rosacea.
This condition is marked by numerous red spider veins in the
nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin, and is sometimes
accompanied by acne breakouts. Chronic sun exposure can also cause spider veins, as well
as other forms of skin damage such as wrinkles, freckles,
moles, and skin cancer. Trauma, such as bruising, can also
lead to spider veins. In some people with chronic allergies and inherited
predisposition to vein conditions, repetitive sneezing and
coughing can lead to enlargement of veins around the nose
and below the nostrils. Bouts of violent vomiting can also
create enough pressure to cause spider veins to form in the
How Can Clay Help?
When dealing with varicose and
spider veins, many naturopaths recommend first and foremost an
internal detoxification to clean the blood, increase the
strength and flexibility of the vein walls, and improve
circulation. When it comes to detoxing, nothing works
better than Calcium Bentonite Clay.
HERE to learn more about detoxification)
In his book
The Healing Clay, Michel Abehsera has the following
recommendations for dealing with spider and varicose veins:
First a thorough detoxification. That
is followed with local applications of hydrated clay, which is
allowed to dry for approximate 1 to 1 1/2 hours, then washed off
and reapplied. He also recommends sleeping with light clay
applications, and frequent clay baths to help increase
Ran Knishinsky, author of
The Clay Cure,
To do this, you
can either eat hydrated clay or drink liquefied clay.
Generally, it is
suggested that one to two tablespoons of hydrated clay daily is
the proper amount for an adult. For those who prefer to
take their clay in liquid form, we recommend one to two ounces daily.
In all three cases, it is recommended to take the clay on an
empty stomach for best results.
And if you're taking any medication, it is recommended to wait
1-3 hours before ingesting clay, but please check with your
physician, as medications vary in time release and content.
Also soak 15- 20
minutes at least once a week in a hot bath into which a cup of
powdered clay or 2-4 cups of liquefied Calcium Bentonite Clay
has been added.