Varicose veins are unsightly and painful. They can cause feelings of sadness, frustration, and self consciousness as people seek to cover up unsightly, lumpy legs. When veins become enlarged and swollen, it can result in pain and discomfort that reduces a person’s quality of life.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins develop when tiny valves in blood vessels and veins become weakened. These valves stop blood from flowing backward along veins, causing damage and pooling of excess blood and fluid. When veins become damaged due to pooling fluid, they become the swollen, twisted mass of bumps running along the legs that can cause quite a bit of pain and discomfort.
Varicose veins are more visible than regular veins due to their enlarged, dark blue or purple color underneath the skin. A person who suffers from varicose veins may experience the following:
- Burning or throbbing sensations in the legs
- A heaviness or ashiness in the legs
- Muscle cramps that become worse at night
- Swelling of the feet and ankles
- Dry and itchy skin that is stretched over veins
Whether you already have varicose veins, you are genetically predisposed to their development, or you are looking to prevent them from occurring in the first place, we have some helpful tips and remedies that will help to reduce painful swelling and possibly prevent their appearance. Here are some remedies to try at home to prevent and treat varicose veins:
Get more exercise
Regular exercise improves circulation throughout the entire body, which helps prevent blood from pooling in the legs where it is not supposed to reside. In addition, exercise helps to lower blood pressure, another common cause of varicose vein conditions. 30 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week is best to improve circulation and promote better health.
Wear compression socks
Compression socks “squeeze” muscle, skin, and blood vessels, forcing circulation to improve and move to different areas of the body, specifically back toward the heart. They can be found at most pharmacies, and when worn consistently, they can help to reduce and even prevent the formation of varicose veins. You may also find compression socks at most vein centers that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular disorders like varicose veins.
Take plant extracts
Horse chestnut extract is known to reduce feelings of heaviness and ashiness in the legs. It also helps to relieve painfully itchy skin associated with venous insufficiencies. You can purchase horse chestnut extract at most health stores and online at several health supplement retailers.
Sea pine extract and Butcher’s broom extract are also known to reduce swelling and irritation in the legs. Follow instructions for administration, and do not attempt to apply topically until you have tested your skin for sensitivities. It is best to consider using a carrier oil such as coconut oil for initial applications of these extracts, as some of them can have powerful effects on the skin.
Change your diet!
It seems that everywhere we look, we are being asked to change our diets these days. The truth is, salty or sodium rich foods can cause the body to retain excess water, which makes swelling in varicose veins worse. Foods that are high in potassium such as almonds, bananas, lentils, potatoes, and leafy greens will help to reduce painful edema and improve circulation with regular incorporation into your diet.
Eat more flavonoids
Adding foods to your diet that contain more flavonoids will also help to improve vein health. Foods such as onions, garlic, broccoli, citrus fruits, cherries, and cocoa are rich in flavonoids; regular consumption of these will increase circulation and stimulate proper flow of blood in the veins.
Massage and elevate legs regularly
Gravity works against us when it comes to the formation of varicose veins. Massaging legs to stimulate proper blood flow will get things moving back toward the heart, while elevating legs while sitting or resting is also good for getting blood flowing back to the heart. Do what you can to keep blood flowing through the body, and you will see benefits that extend far beyond healthy veins.
Dr. Max Hutton, Chief of Clinical Development and Compliance at our Bloomfield and Canton Michigan locations, is a proponent of proactive vein care. He advises that taking charge of your health before you develop painful conditions such as varicose veins is key to creating good health and longevity. If you have been suffering from varicose veins, or if you simply want tips on how to be proactive to prevent this uncomfortable and unsightly condition, contact us at our vein center to see how we can help you treat and prevent any vascular issues. Don’t cover up your legs; treat them with the care that they need so you can experience the pain-free life that you deserve. Contact us today for more information.