Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels typically in the legs that twist and turn and can be visible through the skin.
Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins but still red, purple, and blue vessels usually in the legs or face that are twisted and turning. Spider veins are easily visible through the skin as well.
Causes of Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
A number of factors predispose a person to varicose and spider veins. These include:
Gender: women are far more likely to develop varicose or spider veins than men
Occupations that involve a lot of standing, such as seen among nurses, beauticians, teachers, and factory workers
Hormonal influences during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause
The use of birth control pills
Postmenopausal hormonal replacement
A history of blood clots
Conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen including tumors, constipation, and externally worn garments like girdles
Other reported causes include trauma or injury to the skin, previous venous surgery, and exposure to ultraviolet rays.