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What are the symptoms and causes of spider veins?

By Naman ModiTwitter Profile | Updated: Tuesday, 19 January 2021 08:26 UTC
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Spider Varicose Veins
Spider Varicose Veins

First of all, it is good to understand what the spider veins are. The spider veins are small tiny veins that come in different colors that you can see right under the surface of your skin. They are always confused with the varicose veins.

While the varicose veins are bulging bluish cords that run below the skin's surface, the spider veins are small. These veins affect either the legs or the feet. They can be seen either swollen or twisted or perhaps surrounded by patches of blood.

Spider veins and the varicose veins are different types of medical condition that results from venous insufficiency. If they are on your legs, it means they result from having weak or damaged valves of the veins. However, the two of them have different symptoms.

The spider veins are usually small thin lines that could be flat or slightly raised. They come in different colors just below the surface of the skin. It could be red, purple, or even blue. While they have discomfort, most of the time, they are painless. This is unlike the varicose veins, which are larger and deeper in your skin than the spider veins. Sometimes the varicose veins appear lumpy or have twisted veins that have flesh colors or red. In many instances, they are very painful to the patient. It, however, depends on how severe they are to cause the said excruciating pain.

The spider veins will always remind you of the spider webs, and sometimes they are described as the look-alike of the marbles.

Therefore, it is essential to find effective ways and treatment to help you get rid of spider veins.


Since the spider veins are a smaller version of the varicose veins, they share many symptoms. That means spider veins carry mild symptoms of varicose veins. Here is the list of the symptoms of spider veins.

  • They have an unpleasant appearance. Each time another person sees them on your legs or hands, they have a different reaction as they alter your real appearance.
  • You may experience discomfort in the affected area or the entire leg or hand.
  • They are painful. Just like the varicose veins, the spider veins come in some discomfort and pain as well.
  • The spider veins are itchy.
  • You swell on the affected area, which could be the leg or the ankles.
  • You will have a heavy feeling on the affected legs.
  • There is a likelihood of increased chances of blood clots that may cause circulation problems.


The varicose veins appear after the valves within the veins stop working. This makes the blood backflow because the veins are not working—the blood pools in the affected area will cause the veins to be larger than usual.

For the spider veins, they appear after the valves inside the veins stop working properly. It is important to note the difference. For the varicose veins, it is the veins that stop working properly. On the other hand, in spider veins, the valves are usually within the veins that stop working.

Usually, the veins carry the blood back to the heart. In avoiding it from flowing back after its damage, a one-way valve will close every time the blood passes through it.

In case this valve weakens, the blood may struggle to flow in the right direction. From there, it will begin to pool from the inside. Over time, this may cause a bulge in your vein that branches out in many dimensions. This results in spider veins.

The spider veins in our face may be caused by the small blood vessels that may burst due to carrying blood. Some other known causes of this are the increased pressure or sun damage.

Risk factors

While we have stated the causes of the spider veins, several other risk factors may lead or instead increase the chances of developing the spider veins. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Genetics: Over 90 percent of the people who suffered from spider veins have a family history of the disease.
  • Pregnancy: When a woman is pregnant, there is increased blood that moves through her body due to the weight gain. Also, the fetus's pressure comes with a lot of pressure on their legs, which in many instances causes spider veins on the legs of a pregnant woman. While their spider vein disappears after pregnancy, for some, it may become permanent.
  • Old age: With age, the valves in the veins of older people seem to get weaker. Even the calf muscles that support your legs veins and allow them to pump blood upwards may also lose their usual strength with age. This may result in poor vein performance and will lead to spider veins.
  • Extra body weight: This will lead to pressure on the legs leading to spider veins.
  • Hormones: For the hormone birth control and treatment that causes menopause may lead to a high risk of getting spider veins. For instance, the estrogen weakens the vein valves.
  • Gender: The spider veins seem to affect the female gender more often than the male.
  • Either sitting or standing for a long period: In that position, the legs are forced to work harder to pump your blood up towards the heart. Therefore, if you remain in this position for a longer period, it may fail and lead to the valve's poor performance.
  • Sun damage: The direct sun rays can easily damage your skin if exposed for long hours. Your broken skin may lead to the deterioration of the blood vessels, or spider veins appear on your face.
  • Previous blood clots: The presence of an earlier blood clot may cause damage to our valves and make them malfunction. The result of a valve that is not working is the spider veins.


Whether hereditary or not, spider veins occur every day to many people. It doesn't matter. Anyone is likely to get them. It is always good to avoid all the risk factors that have been mentioned as it will help limit the cases of this issue. For instance, if you are pregnant, avoid standing for a longer period. Also, in a normal instance, do the same. It is also advisable to seek treatment as it helps you know how to get rid of the spider veins.

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