What Causes Varicose Veins
Genetics are a common culprit to developing varicose veins, though there are certain factors that increase the risks of experiencing them, including the following:
- Age (risks become greater as you age)
- Being Female
- Lack of Exercise
- Trauma to the Leg
- Prolonged Standing
Varicose Veins Pain Spots
For the most part, varicose veins are painless unless inflamed, infected, or severe. When they are inflamed, though, they can cause circulatory problems that lead to swollen ankles and itchy skin. Varicose veins can cause your legs to feel heavy or achy. Muscle cramping, throbbing, and burning are sometimes felt.
When skin ulcers form around the ankles, it usually means you have serious vascular disease. On rare occasions, interior rather than surface, leg veins become varicose, creating a location for potential blood clots to form.
What are the Differences Between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are knotted and twisted. They can be seen from a distance as protrusions beneath the skin’s surface. Sometimes they have a dark purple or blue color that is also easy to detect.
Spider veins, by contrast, are broken or enlarged capillaries below the surface. While they are visible, the skin above them remains smooth. Many people who have varicose veins also have spider veins.
How to Prevent Varicose Veins?
As with most things, prevention is the best cure for varicose veins. Lifestyle interventions are most often recommended, and may include a wide variety of things including:
- Controlling weight. If you’ve gained weight recently, take steps now to take off those extra pounds. Keeping your weight down relieves the pressure on your legs.
- Reducing sun exposure. There is some evidence that sun exposure can cause spider veins in people with fair skin.
- Exercising frequently. You specifically want to do exercises designed to strengthen legs and improve circulation. Also consider swimming, biking, and low-impact exercises. The underlying belief is that these exercises will, in turn, improve vein strength.
- Practicing proper leg care daily. After a long day of work or play, sit with your leg propped higher than your heart for at least 15 minutes – especially if your legs ache.
- Stopping smoking. Evidence suggests that smoking is a risk factor for developing varicose veins in lower limbs.
- Wearing sensible shoes. Skip the heels and wear flats instead, as this allows calf muscles the ability to fully contract.
- Switching your birth control method. Making the switch to birth control methods that contain little or no estrogen can reduce the risks of blood clots related to deep varicose veins.
- Wearing support hose or socks. These aid in circulation and prevent the pooling of blood. In some cases compression stockings are advised.
Treatments for Severe Varicose Veins
If your varicose vein condition is severe, your physician may recommend one or more of the following procedures:
- Sclerotherapy. Highly effective for smaller varicose veins, this treatment involves injecting a solution into the vein in order to collapse the vein. The collapsed vein forces blood to find a new, healthier vessel to flow through.
- Endoscopic Vein Surgery. This procedure is typically reserved for severe cases in which skin ulcers are caused by varicose veins. It involves making a small incision near the vein, and then inserting a surgical device into the vein via a thin tube with an attached camera. The device is then used to close the vein.
- Catheter-Assisted Procedures. A catheter is inserted into an engorged vein. It is then heated as it is removed in order to destroy the vein, which collapses and seals in response. This treatment option is mostly reserved for large varicose veins.
- Laser Surgeries. Using laser lights to cause the veins to fade are a relatively newer method to treat abnormal vein conditions. This is most effective on smaller varicose veins and requires no cutting or chemical injections.
- Ambulatory Phlebectomy. Physicians make small cuts into the skin to remove smaller varicose veins altogether. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia while you are fully awake. In most cases, you can go home on the day of the procedure.
- Vein Stripping. Usually done when varicose veins are severe, the process involves tying veins shut and removing them through cuts in the skin. Patients are often put to sleep for this procedure, and the recovery time is anywhere between one and four weeks.
These treatments can be quite costly. Unless you have severe symptoms, such as bleeding, swelling, or ulcers, many insurance companies consider these elective cosmetic treatments, leaving the patient to cover all the costs. In addition, some of these treatments are invasive, requiring weeks of recovery time afterwards.
Home Remedies for Varicose Veins
With traditional medical treatments for varicose veins being so expensive and may be invasive, many people suffering through varicose veins are turning to herbal solutions in search of a cure.
The remedies, including many listed below, enjoy varying degrees of success.
- Grape Seed. While it’s possible to eat grape seeds with nothing more than a bitter taste in your mouth as a result, there are plenty of supplements on the market that offer the same benefits.The oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs) inherent in grape seed are believed to strengthen the structure of blood vessels and reduce inflammation. The vitamin C in grape seeds also helps by improving elasticity in capillary walls. You may also consider massages with grape seed oil if ingesting grape seeds isn’t appealing to you.
- Essential Oils. Rather than relying on one specific essential oil to remove varicose veins, some proponents recommend the use a combination of essential oils to make a compress, and then apply it to the affected area.Essential oils in the compress include three drops each of chamomile oil, carrot seed oil, and lavender oil, one teaspoon of St. John’s wort tincture, and one cup of water. Other essential oils you may find helpful include: cypress oil, lemon oil, rosemary oil, and grapefruit oil. Essential oil compresses also help to relieve the itch commonly associated with varicose veins.
- Horse Chestnut. Perhaps one of the most commonly recommended herbal remedies to treat varicose veins, horse chestnut, contains aescin, which interferes with the ability of the body to release enzymes that damage capillary walls. The common dosage to combat varicose veins is 300 mg of horse chestnut seed extract twice a day.
Natural Varicose Vein Removal Creams
Natural varicose vein removal options are sometimes the best choice as they provide cost-effective treatments for mild to moderate varicose and spider veins. The benefit of creams is that they are applied topically to the skin. This allows for faster absorption where it’s needed most.
The natural varicose vein removal cream, Venorex, provides professional strength results and is made with botanical extracts, plant extracts, vitamins, and anti-aging peptides. As an injection-free solution, it is formulated to reduce varicose veins as well as spider and thread veins as they appear on the face and the body. It is considered safe for all skin types – even sensitive skin.
Scientific testing reveals a 95 percent success rate when it comes to decreasing the appearance of spider veins and 89 percent decrease in appearance of varicose veins, making it a highly effective tool to combat varicose veins.
Varicose veins were once a problem people just lived with. That is no longer the case with so many effective treatment options available.