Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels that usually develop in the legs and can be seen through the skin.
Spider veins are smaller, red, purple, and blue vessels that can be easily visible through the skin, as well. They are typically visible on the legs and face.
A number of factors predispose a person to varicose veins and spider veins. These include:
- Occupations that involve a lot of standing, such as nurses, hair stylists, teachers, and factory workers
- Hormonal influences of 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, such as tumours, constipation and externally worn garments like girdles.
Other reported causes include trauma or injury to the skin, previous vein surgery and exposure to ultraviolet rays.
Sclerotherapy is a popular method of eliminating varicose veins and spider veins on the legs during which a solution, called a Sclerosing agent, is injected into the veins.