How Young Adults Get Varicose and Spider Veins Too

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One does not expect to develop bulging, varicose veins at a young age. But if you think it can’t happen, think again. It is a myth that varicose veins are reserved for an older age; while the risk increases after age 50, young adults can develop varicose veins, too.

More than 80 million Americans suffer from venous disease, a medical condition that can lead to further health problems if ignored.

Varicose Veins vs. Spider Veins

For many people, varicose veins and spider veins (a common, mild variation of varicose veins) are simply a cosmetic concern. For others, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes varicose veins lead to more serious health problems like blood clots.

Varicose Veins

  • Varicose veins are gnarled and enlarged veins
  • Any vein can become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet
  • Standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body
  • Varicose veins may be an indication for high risk of other circulatory problems

Spider Veins

  • Spider veins are smaller, red, purple, and blue vessels that also twist and turn
  • Dilated capillaries on the skin, resembling spider legs
  • Common among pregnant women and children
  • Easily visible through the skin
  • They are typically visible on the legs and face

Who is at Risk for Varicose Veins?

Increasing age is a slight risk factor for varicose veins because of wear and tear on the vein valves that regulate blood flow. Patients certainly perceive it as more common as they age because the disease has had longer to make its symptoms known and has done more damage.

However, the primary cause of vein disease, accounting for about 80% of cases, is heredity. It is not at all unusual to find varicose veins in young adults in their 20’s and even teenagers.

Causes of Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

Here are some factors that predispose a person to varicose veins and spider veins:

  • Heredity – if a family member had varicose or spider veins, you are more likely to develop them as well
  • Occupations that involve a lot of standing, such as nurses, hairstylists, teachers, and factory workers
  • Obesity
  • The use of birth control pills
  • Hormonal influences during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause
  • Postmenopausal hormonal replacement
  • A history of blood clots
  • Conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen; such as tumors, constipation, and externally worn tight garments like girdles
  • Other reported potential causes include injury to the skin or trauma, previous vein surgery, and exposure to ultraviolet rays

More Risk Factors for Varicose and Spider Veins

Varicose and spider veins tend to develop more often in women than in men. They increase in frequency with age. An estimated 30% to 60% of adults have varicose or spider veins.

What are the Symptoms of Varicose and Spider Veins?

Varicose veins do not always cause pain. There are potential signs that you may have varicose veins:

  • Veins that are dark purple or blue in color
  • Veins that appear twisted and bulging, like cords on the legs
  • Tiredness, restlessness, burning, throbbing, tingling or heaviness in the legs
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Pain from these veins is usually relieved by elevating the legs or by wearing support hose
  • Slow or non-healing wounds on the legs
  • In extreme cases, swelling, ulcers and a darkening of the skin, especially around the ankle region
  • Symptoms may develop or worsen for women during a certain part of their menstrual period or pregnancy
  • Occasionally, varicose veins can form a painful blood clot with inflammation of the vein, a condition called thrombophlebitis


What are Vein Clinics of America’s treatment options?

We have comprehensive, minimally invasive approaches to treat your veins:

Endovenous Laser Therapy (ELT)

  • Quick, minimally invasive laser treatment that requires no hospitalization
  • The procedure takes about an hour; there is very little to no pain
  • Covered by most insurance and Medicare


  • Uses a solution injected into the veins
  • Causes veins to seal off from the other veins in the leg, close over time, and eventually be absorbed into the body
  • For larger veins, our physicians use ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, allowing precise injection for best treatment results

Our refined use of sclerotherapy, combined with ELT, allows us to meet the needs of our patients by treating the smallest spider vein to the largest ropelike varicose vein.

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The great news is that neither option requires hospitalization or surgery. Instead, each is performed in a physician’s office. Patients can be back on their feet doing their day-to-day activities the same day.

Want to learn about how to improve your vein health?

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Satish Vayuvegula
Dr. Satish Vayuvegula is the National Medical Director at Vein Clinics of America. Certified by the American Board of Venous & Lymphatic Medicine, Dr. Satish Vayuvegula is recognized as a physician who has met rigorous standards of knowledge and extensive training in phlebology, the diagnosis and treatment of varicose vein disease and related disorders. Dr. Satish also shares his passion and expertise by serving as a board member of the American Vein and Lymphatic Society, the predominant national organization for venous and lymphatic disease.

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