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Difference between Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

The heart pumps blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to the body through Arteries. Veins carry the

impure blood back to the heart. Veins have valves which prevent blood from flowing backwards.

When such valves become weak and do not fully close to prevent blood from flowing in the wrong

direction, they become swollen and are called varicose veins. Varicose veins cause a lot of pain,

numbness and fatigue.

Spider veins are smaller discoloured (red, purple and blue) veins and are named after their spider like

appearance. They are less painful as compared to varicose veins. Spider veins also develop due to

the non-functioning of the valves in the veins. They can also be caused by obesity, heredity and

hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause.

The veins in the lower part of the body endure the most pressure while carrying blood back to the

heart. The body weight, the force of gravity and working against it, causes veins in the legs to be

more prone to Varicose/ Spider Veins.

The causes of Varicose/Spider veins are:

 Heredity

 Continuously standing for a long time as is the case for professionals like Teachers, Nurse,

factory workers etc.

 Obesity

 Hormonal changes that come with puberty, pregnancy and menopause

 Pressure in the abdomen as a result of tumours, constipation etc.

Though the symptoms of Varicose/Spider Veins are more or less the same, they are more severe in

Varicose Veins. Spider veins may cause minor pain, itching or burning. The most common symptoms

are listed below:

 Muscle cramps in the legs

 Itching, burning and tingling sensation

 Tiredness and Restlessness

 Swollen legs or ankles

 Swollen ulcers and skin discolouration

Pain from Varicose/Spider veins can be relieved by elevating the leg or by wearing support hose.

There are many varicose veins treatment available in the market:

Sclerotherapy:  This procedure involves injecting medicines into the targeted veins. This causes

irritation in the walls of the veins and they stick together as a result of which the vein gets eliminated


Endovenous Lasner Treatmet: This procedure is a minimally invasive method of dealing with

varicose veins. A small tube is placed inside the vein. A device at the tip of the probe (which is placed

inside the tube) heats the vein and shuts it off. This treatment can be done at the doctor’s clinic under

Local Anaesthesia.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy: It is a procedure where a large section of the vein is removed through

multiple incisions which do not need stitches. It is also a minimally invasive method and can be

performed with local anaesthesia.

Lasers and Intense Pulsed Light: Here heat energy is used to destroy the abnormal veins.

However, the results of this treatment are often disappointing.


Surgery is used to treat large veins. It involves ligations where the vein is tied and

stripping where the affected vein is removed.

A change in the lifestyle can go a long way in treating Varicose/Spider Veins. Regular walking and

exercising to keep weight under control, good skin hygiene can help in providing relief.

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