For most people, bulging veins on the hands and arms are a cosmetic issue. However, in less common cases, bulging veins in this area of the body may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Many bulging veins are superficial. Although some people may find their visibility bothersome, they are not harmful. However, anyone with health concerns should speak to a doctor to make sure that they are not the result of an underlying condition.
For people looking to get rid of bulging hand veins, some treatment options are available.
Keep reading for information on what causes hand veins to bulge and the possible treatment options to get rid of them.
Possible causes of bulging hand veins include:
Age is a significant factor in the extent to which a person’s hand veins become pronounced.
On the surface, the skin starts to thin and lose its elasticity as a person gets older.
In the veins, blood can pool for a longer time due to weakened valves.
The pooling blood can make the veins a bit thicker, resulting in them appearing to bulge.
Fat on the hands typically helps make veins less visible. People who are underweight overall or have thin hands may find that their veins are more prominent.
When it is hot outside, the body sends extra blood to the surface veins to try to cool the body. Sometimes, this can affect how well the veins work. If this occurs, they may enlarge as more blood pools in the hands.
Conversely, a person may find that their veins become less visible when they are cold.
During exercise, a person’s blood pressure gets higher. As blood pressure rises, a person’s veins will push up against the skin. In most situations, the veins return to normal once a person has finished exercising.
However, if a person exercises frequently, their veins can start to bulge permanently in their hands and other areas of the body. This effect is particularly likely to affect those who frequently lift heavy weights.
A person’s genes can also play a role in the appearance of their hand veins.
People with an immediate family member who has bulging hand veins may be more likely to have prominent veins in this part of the body.
In some cases, a condition called phlebitis may be responsible for a person’s bulging veins.
Phlebitis is inflammation of the veins. It usually has an association with another condition, such as an infection, autoimmune disorder, or injury.
Varicose veins are more common in the legs, but they can occur in the hands as well. Varicose veins form as a result of the valves in these vessels not functioning properly.
Varicose veins make proper blood flow more difficult. The condition can cause gnarled, enlarged, and possibly painful veins.
Superficial thrombophlebitis is the swelling of a vein that is close to the surface of the skin. A blood clot is often the underlying cause.
A clot may develop following the prolonged use of an intravenous (IV) drip or other trauma to the vein. Superficial thrombophlebitis can be painful or uncomfortable, but it is not usually dangerous.
Deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is similar to superficial thrombophlebitis. However, in DVT, the blood clot occurs in a vein that is deeper in the arm.
In people with DVT, there is a risk that the clot could break loose and make its way to the lungs, which could cause a pulmonary embolism.
Read more about the symptoms of DVT and the risks of a pulmonary embolism in this article.
The treatment of bulging hand veins depends on the cause. In most cases, it is cosmetic rather than medical reasons that motivate people to seek treatment. Most bulging hand veins do not require treatment at all.
Due to this, a person might need to pay out of pocket for the procedure if their insurance does not cover cosmetic surgery.
The treatment options for bulging veins for cosmetic reasons are similar to those for varicose veins. They include:
- Ambulatory phlebectomy: This method involves a small incision around the vein to remove the offending section of the vessel.
- Sclerotherapy: This procedure involves injecting a chemical that will cause scarring in the vein. The scarring closes the vein.
- Laser therapy or endovenous ablation therapy: Doctors can use radio waves or amplified light to close the veins that are bulging.
- Vein stripping and ligation: A person undergoing this procedure will require general anesthesia. A doctor will seal and tie off the vein to close it. Doctors usually only use this technique for larger veins.
Following any of these procedures, the body will divert blood through the other healthy veins. After some time, the problem vein will fade away and disappear.
However, if a doctor determines that the veins are bulging due to an underlying medical condition, they will suggest a targeted therapy.
If a person’s bulging hand veins are the result of phlebitis, treatment may involve taking antibiotics or anti-inflammatories, applying warm compresses, and keeping the hand elevated.
If thrombophlebitis is the cause, a doctor may advise the person to wait it out. Typically, the pain goes away within 3–4 weeks. In the meantime, warm compresses or over-the-counter pain relievers can reduce discomfort.
In the case of DVT, where the clot has formed deep within the arm, a doctor may prescribe an anticoagulant blood thinner. A doctor may also recommend additional therapies to help break up the clot.
For most people, bulging veins in the hands do not present a significant medical problem. Instead, they are a cosmetic concern. Anyone who is interested in getting rid of them can look into cosmetic procedures for treating the veins.
A person should talk to a doctor if they are experiencing other symptoms or are worried that there may be a medical problem causing the bulging veins. A doctor can diagnose any underlying issues and recommend suitable treatments.