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Veins are the blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to your body’s tissues. They’re often referred to as “blue veins.” Varicose veins are more common than you might think, and they can cause a variety of symptoms like itching, burning, swelling, pain, and tingling.
Varicose veins – those bulgy veins that look lumpy and black — affect both men and women, even though we prefer to think of them as a woman’s issue (usually blue or purple). According to the Department of Health and Human Science, about 50 percent to 55 percent of women and 40 percent to 45 percent of males in the United States have a vein issue, with varicose veins affecting almost half of those aged 50 and above.
Due to hormonal factors, they’re a frequent issue among elderly or pregnant women. In addition, they tend to worsen over time as people age, and their veins lose their natural flexibility due to increasing levels of inflammation.
Varicose veins affect individuals of all ages and races, although women are at least twice as likely as males to acquire them. They’re more visible on individuals with a light complexion. Therefore they’re the most of a worry for them.
Varicose veins may be prevented and treated in various methods, ranging from costly procedures to the use of natural essential oils. However, before resorting to irritant prescription lotions or expensive laser procedures, which aren’t always successful and should only be used as a last resort, it’s a good idea to attempt varicose veins home remedies to reduce the appearance of bulging veins with little danger.
Treatment for Varicose Veins
“Treatment options for varicose veins range from conservative (e.g., medications, compression stockings, lifestyle changes) to minimally invasive (e.g., sclerotherapy or endoluminal ablation), to invasive (surgical techniques), to hybrid (combination of 1 therapy),” according to a 2012 report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Nerve damage after varicose vein surgery is frequent, according to a 2007 study published in the Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. More than half of individuals treated would have some recurrent varicose sites within 10 years of surgery.
Varicose veins are a sign of a venous insufficiency disease. This is true regardless of whether you have additional symptoms such as pain or edema. If you see a dermatologist or doctor discuss treatment choices, you’ll almost certainly be recommended to make some lifestyle changes before considering surgery or other therapies. These may significantly reduce blood pooling in your veins while providing many additional benefits like increased energy, clearer skin, enhanced heart health, and improved digestion. The most significant thing is that natural treatments are relatively risk-free and much less costly than procedures.
Here are five natural varicose vein treatments:
Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, which may be added to the long list of exercise advantages. According to the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, sitting (especially with poor posture — like forwarding head posture — or standing for long periods without moving around much) or standing for long periods without moving around much increases the risk of varicose veins and other forms of blood pooling.
When you stand still for an extended period, your veins have a stricter time pumping blood back to your heart and fighting gravity. Exercise may also assist in naturally balancing hormones, reducing or maintain healthy body weight, and lowering blood pressure, all of which can contribute to varicose veins.
According to the Carolina Vascular Institute, leg lifts, calf raises, bicycle legs, and side lunges may help prevent varicose veins by strengthening and stretching the veins in the legs. In addition, low-impact activities that relieve pressure, such as walking, swimming, and biking, are beneficial for varicose vein patients.
If you’re having trouble getting started with exercise, stir gently and try icing or heating painful muscles afterward. You may also try elevating your legs to assist with swelling and discomfort or using compression stockings to prevent blood from pooling in the portion.
2. Maintaining an Appropriate Body Weight
Obese individuals, particularly overweight women and the elderly, are more prone to develop varicose veins. In addition, excess body weight puts more strain on your veins, which may lead to inflammation or reflux, particularly in the enormous superficial veins, such as the saphenous vein in your legs.
According to a Huffington Post article on the link between obesity and varicose veins, varicose veins are more difficult to diagnose and treat in overweight individuals because they frequently go unnoticed until they become more irritated and more significant in size (up to four or five centimeters long, deep inside the leg).
3. Hormone Balancing Essential Oils
Many essential oils may help to improve blood flow while also reducing inflammation and hormonal abnormalities. Cypress oil, which can improve circulation and assist the circulatory system, is one of the finest for treating vein issues. For many weeks, try applying five drops of cypress essential oil on the troublesome region twice a day. If you have muscular pains, swelling, or skin blisters, try using diluted essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, or lavender oil to the affected regions in tiny quantities.
4. An anti-inflammatory diet
Certain foods aid in healing varicose veins and prevent new ones by reducing inflammation and improving blood flow. A diet rich in trans fats, sugar, coffee, alcohol, and processed foods may lead to artery damage, poor circulation, blood pressure issues, hormone imbalances, and weight gain. Many of these meals are also rich in salt, which dehydrates the body, and contain toxins that may exacerbate varicose vein swelling.
Anti-inflammatory foods that may help reduce the appearance of varicose veins include:
- Fiber-rich meals – Fiber is beneficial to heart health and is also required for proper digestive function. Constipation, which may cause bloating and increased strain on the veins in the belly and legs, can be avoided by eating 30–40 grams of fiber each day. Chia seeds and flaxseeds (both omega-3 nutrients that are anti-inflammatory), veggies, fresh fruit, soaked/sprouted legumes, and ancient grains are all high-fiber meals to consume.
- Antioxidants – such as flavonoids (found in berries), vitamin C, and vitamin E (found in green vegetables and citrus fruits) strengthen veins, reduce inflammation, and enhance vascular health. For example, vitamin E is linked to heart health and is believed to help prevent blood clots by acting as a natural blood thinner. Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory that is also good for your skin.
- Natural diuretics – Diuretic medications are prescribed by doctors to increase urine and decrease water retention or edema. Fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil), fennel, dandelion greens, cucumber, asparagus, and celery are all healthy ways to get the same effect.
- Foods high in magnesium — Deficiencies in electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium may cause blood pooling, blood pressure issues, and leg cramping (like restless leg syndrome). Increase your diet of leafy greens, avocado, bananas, cruciferous vegetables, and sweet potatoes to alleviate these symptoms.
- Spicy meals – Spices like cayenne pepper and curry help warm up the body and get the blood flowing, which helps with good circulation and even appetite/weight management.
- Wild-caught fish – Omega-3 fatty acids are found in wild salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and tuna and are essential for healthy blood flow.
- Apple cider vinegar (ACV) – ACV increases vein wall circulation and acts as an anti-inflammatory. ACCORDING TO MANY INDIVIDUALS, using ACV and witch hazel on varicose veins reduces swelling and improves look in only a few weeks.
5. Bilberry and Horse Chestnut
Bilberry and horse chestnut, two-thousand-year-old herbs that have long been used as folk medicines, are helpful and safe in treating varicose veins. Both have been investigated in treating chronic venous insufficiency, which causes discomfort, ankle edema, heaviness, itching, and nocturnal leg cramps. They may also help with water retention, circulation issues, edema, diarrhea, PMS pains, and other skin-related issues.
The bilberry plant’s berries may be eaten or turned into extracts or tea. Seeds, leaves, bark, and blossoms from the horse chestnut tree (also known as buckeye) are in the section, cream/lotion, tea, and capsule form. Look for an extract from horse chestnut seeds that has been standardized to contain 16 to 20% aescin (escin), the active component. Horse chestnut should be taken once a day in quantities of approximately 100 mg. I suggest taking bilberry twice a day in amounts of around 160 mg.
You may also take them with butcher’s broom (200 mg daily), grape seed extract (200 mg daily), and vitamin E (400 IU daily) to assist in improving blood flow, protecting veins, and achieving natural blood-thinning effects safely. Increased consumption of rutin, a kind of bioflavonoid that may preserve vein walls and improve their function, is also recommended by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Bioflavonoids are antioxidants found in grape seed, pine bark, cranberry, hawthorn, blueberry, and other plants that offer antioxidants like vitamin C. In addition, they help reduce swelling, aching, and discomfort from varicose veins.
Are Spider Veins the Same as Varicose Veins?
While these two skin diseases are often used interchangeably, they are very distinct. Although their looks are not identical, their causes are relatively comparable.
Spider veins (telangiectasias) are tiny lines or web-like structures that appear on the skin. Spider veins are also referred to as “starburst clusters” because they appear as a collection of black dots clustered in one place, usually on the skin’s surface.
Spider veins, like varicose veins, usually appear on the legs, backs of the thighs, calves, ankles, and foot. However, spider veins are smaller than varicose veins and, since they are on the surface of the skin, they are less uncomfortable and less prone to produce symptoms. Reticulated veins, bigger than spider veins but smaller than varicose veins, are another related problem.
Varicose veins look blue because they are filled with deoxygenated blood. Varicose veins are most often seen in the legs (particularly the thighs and calves), but since any vein may become varicose, they can also appear in other areas of the body, such as the face, stomach, or lower back.
Who is most prone to varicose veins? People who are most prone to develop varicose veins, according to the Interventional Radiology & Surgery Department at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, include:
- individuals in their forties and fifties, particularly those beyond the age of 40
- Obese or overweight individuals
- individuals whose professions require them to sit or stand for long periods, causing blood to “pool” in the legs or blood flow to slow
- individuals who have a sedentary lifestyle and engage in little physical exercise
- People with poor circulation and high levels of inflammation may be caused by a variety of factors such as a poor diet, lack of exercise, limb injuries, hormone imbalances, and high levels of stress.
- Women who are pregnant or have just given birth
- Women taking birth control tablets, adolescent girls, and women going through menopause
- Those who have a family history of varicose veins
- individuals with fair skin who have had a lot of sun exposure and have had skin deterioration
People with varicose veins may have symptoms such as tiredness, muscular pains, and “heavy limbs,” in addition to unattractive veins.
Although the process by which varicose veins grow is well known, most dermatologists would tell you that there is no one reason for them. Instead, varicose veins develop when veins get stretched and filled with stagnant blood. “Under the weight of gravity, these veins continue to grow and, over time, they may become longer, twisted, pouched, thicker, and painful,” according to the Vascular Disease Foundation.
Blood normally flows from the heart via a network of arteries and capillaries to different cells throughout the body. It then goes back to the heart through veins, which usually only carry blood in one direction. Muscle movement aids in squeezing veins, which returns blood to the heart (one reason regular exercise is beneficial for circulation).
One-way valves are placed into veins to prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction, but in varicose veins, a part of the blood begins to flow backward, causing swelling. Weak vein valves cause poor circulation, but it’s unclear why some people’s valves fail more than others. As blood pools in varicose veins, the vein walls stiffen, losing part of their natural flexibility and ability to efficiently pump blood back to the heart.
Varicose veins often develop around deep or perforated veins because valves cease functioning correctly. The great saphenous vein, also known as the long saphenous vein, is a big, subcutaneous vein in the legs that is one of the most frequent varicose vein triggers. Venous insufficiency is when blood pools in specific veins, causing the vein to enlarge as the blood remains stagnant and the vein hardens.
Some of the reasons why this process of blood pooling may occur include risk factors such as:
- Due to hormonal impacts, women are more prone than males to develop varicose veins after pregnancy or menopause, according to studies. Female-dominant hormones are thought to relax veins more often and increase the risk of blood leakage, particularly during pregnancy adolescence, while using birth control pills or during the menopausal transition. Pregnant women also generate more blood to support the developing baby, making them more vulnerable to blood pooling in the legs or around the stomach as the body attempts to resist gravity and pressure.
- Varicose veins with structural (congenital) anomalies
- Veins that are irritated or have blood clots inside them
- Vein damage, heart illness, or a blockage that prevents proper blood flow
- When someone acquires weight, their circulation may slow significantly if they also have increased inflammation, and their veins are put under more significant strain due to carrying a heavier bodyweight.
Are varicose veins a significant issue to be concerned about?
For the most part, Varicose veins do not produce symptoms and are mostly a cosmetic concern that is unlikely to lead to more severe health issues. This is because the quantity of blood that collects in the veins is tiny, and most blood is still returned to the heart. They may, however, be seen as a warning indication that something is interfering with regular blood flow.
Varicose veins may burst and produce problems such as open sores on the skin and edema in certain instances. Muscle pains or swelling in the ankles and legs are the most frequent unpleasant symptoms, making it difficult to sleep comfortably, work, exercise, or walk properly.
Heaviness or fullness in the legs, restlessness, tiredness, discomfort, cramps, skin ulcers and itching, and thickness and coloring of skin are symptoms that some individuals, particularly pregnant women, experience. There’s also a chance that varicose veins may cause blood clots (thrombophlebitis), which would need urgent treatment.
Varicose Veins: Final Thoughts
- According to the Department of Health and Human Science, about 50 percent to 55 percent of women and 40 percent to 45 percent of males in the United States have varicose veins, affecting almost half of all individuals aged 50 above.
- Varicose veins affect individuals of all ages and races, although women are at least twice as likely as males to acquire them.
- Exercise, a healthy weight, essential oils for hormone balance, an anti-inflammatory diet, and natural herbs like bilberry and horse chestnut are all used to cure varicose veins naturally.
- High-fiber meals, high-antioxidant foods, natural diuretics, magnesium-rich foods, spicy foods, wild-caught fish, and apple cider vinegar are the best foods to consume to cure varicose veins as part of an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Spider veins, like varicose veins, usually appear on the legs, backs of the thighs, calves, ankles, and foot. However, spider veins are smaller than varicose veins and, since they are on the surface of the skin, they are less uncomfortable and less prone to produce symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get rid of varicose veins permanently?
Varicose veins are often caused by an underlying medical condition, such as pregnancy-related edema, circulatory problems, or tumors. If you have varicose veins, your doctor will likely recommend that you see a vascular surgeon find the cause and treat it accordingly.
What to drink to cure varicose veins?
Many different types of drinks can help with varicose veins. These include coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages.
Is apple cider vinegar good for your varicose veins?
Apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy for varicose veins. It helps to soothe the pain and swelling caused by these veins.
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