Varicose veins versus spider veins— It’s the battle that you keep playing out in your head. Like when you’re heading out for a night on the town and want to wear a skirt. Or you’re thinking about wearing shorts to the park or a beach. The trouble is the purple and blue veins in your leg staring back at you. You’re not sure what they are, so you begin the varicose vein versus spider vein debate.
The fact is about 30 percent of women and 20 percent of men are dealing with a vein issue. When you’re talking varicose veins versus spider veins, chances are you know someone who may also be dealing with them.
So, let’s go round by round in this battle to find out the causes, symptoms and what you can do to treat each condition.
Varicose Veins versus Spider Veins — Round 1: Appearance
One of the big differences between varicose and spider veins is their appearance.
Spider veins are:
Varicose veins are:
Dr. Ram Ravi, a vein specialist at North Ohio Heart/Ohio Medical Group, says it’s important to get your varicose and spider veins treated to avoid long-term complications like stasis dermatitis. It develops when abnormal veins cause blood to pool in your lower legs. This could lead to things like skin ulcers and blood clots.
Varicose Veins versus Spider Veins — Round 2: Causes
Although varicose veins and spider veins may look different, they tend to have similar causes.
Spider veins are caused by things like:
Causes of varicose veins include:
Dr. Ravi says other risk factors for varicose veins are living a sedentary lifestyle, multiple pregnancies, smoking, and family history.
Varicose Veins versus Spider Veins — Round 3: Symptoms
Most spider veins are a cosmetic concern. However, if you have spider veins you may complain of things like:
But the symptoms of varicose veins include:
Varicose Veins versus Spider Veins — Round 4: Treatment
Lifestyle changes like weight loss and walking can help treat varicose and spider veins. You can also try compression stockings.
If these conservative methods do not get your spider veins under control, your vein specialist will most likely recommend one of several treatments including:
Dr. Ravi says these are outpatient procedures that are well tolerated. They cause minimum pain and side effects. You may see some bruising, swelling, or discoloration after your procedure. Dr. Ravi adds that most insurances will cover the treatment of varicose and spider veins if conservative methods fail.
If you have more questions about varicose veins and how to control them, check out our free download “A Patient’s Guide to Varicose Veins.” Or watch the video below to find out what you need to know about varicose vein pain and how easily it can be treated.