- What Are Varicose Veins?
- Symptoms And Conditions Of Varicose Veins
- Causes Of Varicose And Spider Veins
- How To Diagnose Varicose Veins?
- Who Can Get Varicose Veins And Spider Veins?
- Dealing With Varicose Veins – Treatment And Natural Remedies
- Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Varicose Veins Naturally
- How To Cover Up Varicose Veins?
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins and spider veins are often used interchangeably but there are certain differences which must be understood before we go ahead to address the various issues with both the conditions. The former one consists of blood vessels which appear explicitly upon the skin as swollen, raised and twisted while the latter are twisted as well but are smaller and may take reddish, bluish or purplish hue. The problem with such conditions is that these veins are visible from below the skin and are usually found on legs, calf and face. There can be some accompanying discomfort and complications as well in some cases.
Symptoms And Conditions Of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins begin to appear on the skin as large bulging veins which will be swollen and appear purple. Spider veins are smaller with reddish or purplish web form appearance on the skin upon knees, thighs and calves. The usual symptoms of varicose veins include leg cramps, heaviness and tenderness along with swollen ankles and feet if you stand for a long time (1). Unless this condition causes any pain it is usually harmless. However, some people may suffer from more severe conditions like deep vein thrombophlebitis or ulcers which will require medical care. Apart from the discomfort and related conditions this health issue tampers with the appearance of the affected areas. The related conditions associated with varicose veins are discussed as follows.
Varicose veins may cause blood clots; this may become serious enough to consider medical intervention if a deeply seated internal vein develops blood clots along with severe pain. A tender varicose vein which is warm and has redness may indicate a condition known as Phlebitis (2) which happens when a vein has got inflammation. There may be one or more blood clots in the vein which may cause a condition known as Thrombophlebitis. Veins in the legs are usually affected but sometimes the arms are not spared as well.
Veins on the surface as well as deep inside the tissues may get affected by phlebitis. Deep vein thrombosis is a condition occurring when a deep-seated vein gets a blood clot which may or may not cause cramps. Such conditions usually occur in the legs due to lack of movement after an accident or a surgery (3). While the surface vein phlebitis may go away without causing serious consequences the deep vein thrombosis may be of concern as larger blood cells are affected which may trigger a portion to travel to the lungs (4).
A form of vein enlargement may happen within the scrotum which is known as varicocele. This condition may have a role to play in affecting the sperm count and quality eventually leading to infertility. Testicle formation may also get affected due to this condition. This condition is caused in a similar way a varicose vein forms. The valve of the testicular vein malfunctions thus causing the blood to accumulate and create a varicocele.
The good news is that varicoceles can be easily diagnosed and many men don’t suffer from infertility with this condition. However, if there are symptoms of pain, discomfort, and possible infertility due to this condition then surgical intervention may be required to find relief and cure.(5) To understand the symptoms and risks of varicose veins and conditions related to it let’s explore the causes to determine when it is necessary to consider a medical intervention.
Causes Of Varicose And Spider Veins
Blood flow in veins is controlled by the one-way valve which may malfunction thus resulting in varicose veins. The blood will pool around in that area resulting in enlarged veins. As gravity prevents blood to flow upward varicose veins results most commonly in legs.
Varicose veins may be caused during pregnancy, menopause, hereditary factors and age beyond 50 (6). However, more possible reasons are obesity and jobs that put strain upon the legs due to long hours of standing. Hormonal imbalance, medical history of blood clots, certain injuries, tumors, trauma and accidents are also causes of varicose veins (7).
How To Diagnose Varicose Veins?
You can see primary care or general physician for diagnosis and testing for varicose veins. However, if surgery will be required it will be done by vascular surgeon. The diagnosis is done by medical experts who administer some tests to determine the condition.
Usually, it is done by examining the veins which are visible and also checking with the symptoms the patient might be having. Certain non-invasive methods like an ultrasound may be conducted to determine whether blood circulation is fine or there are any clots (8).
Who Can Get Varicose Veins And Spider Veins?
People who are more affected by these conditions are usually women. However, other situations like a surgery, injury, age, pregnancy or obesity may also trigger formation of varicose veins. Professions which require excessive standing and strain on the legs can also become reasons for these conditions. Often hereditary and genetic factors are also considered while determining the reasons why some people are more prone to varicose and spider veins.
Pregnant women can be at higher risks to develop varicose veins as hormonal changes and the pressure created by the uterus upon the inferior vena cava may cause the condition. Usually it’s unlikely that younger people may suffer from varicose veins condition but reasons such as heredity and trauma cannot be ruled out to determine why some young people get this condition.
Varicose veins shouldn’t be left untreated if the discomfort is difficult to tolerate. Sometimes the condition may worsen and more complications may happen. It’s recommended to get medical opinion as the condition doesn’t go away on its own. There are various home remedies as well which can help the condition in a natural way. It is recommended that you shouldn’t try to pop a varicose or spider vein but in case of an injury and blood does come out then it’s best to consult a doctor.
Dealing With Varicose Veins – Treatment And Natural Remedies
Following are the treatment and natural remedies of varicose veins:
1. Get A Pair Of Support Stockings
Support stockings can serve the purposes of providing compression to relieve pain, improve blood circulation and also cover up the exposed varicose veins. These are easily available at pharmacies and surgical supply stores.
2. Vein Surgery
Surgery involves getting rid of the portion of vein that is affected and then tying it to prevent further damage. This process is commonly known as ligation and stripping. This isn’t a major surgery as a small incision may also work depending upon the location of the vein. The process usually takes around an hour to ninety minutes and may take from two to four weeks to fully recover after the surgery. However, there are alternatives to vein surgery which are discussed hereafter (9).
It’s a medical intervention technique involving the injection of a solution into the affected vein to make it disappear. However, this technique requires thorough medical evaluation and also highly expert hands to perform the process. Any mistake may lead to severe side effects (10).
4. Light And Laser Therapy
Another method to get rid of varicose and spider veins is light and laser therapy which use immense heat to shut off the vein. This process also involves some accompanying side effects like discoloration of the skin or minor blisters.
5. Endovenous Laser
It’s a method to treat varicose veins which can’t be treated with any other means than surgery. This is a very recent and effective technique involving laser flashes which completely disintegrate the affected vein. This is a much preferred method of treating varicose veins as it’s highly effective, recovery time is very less with minimum pain.
6. Radiofrequency Ablation
It’s a method used for large varicose veins and works on similar lines as that of Endovenous laser technique. Instead of laser the vein is disintegrated using radiofrequency energy. This technique is highly effective as the results are fast and avoids the risks or discomfort involved in surgery.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Varicose Veins Naturally
The best way to get rid of varicose veins is to create the conditions by engaging in activities or consuming things through which there will be proper blood circulation in the body and minimum chances of blood clot and inflammation. A good lifestyle can make a big difference to improve the condition of varicose veins.
The condition can be relieved to a great extent by ensuring proper blood circulation and movement of the limbs. Go for walks, do regular exercise and maintain a balanced diet. This can also help you to maintain a healthy weight. Lifestyle modifications can improve any medical condition to a great extent. Swelling can be relieved by switching to a low salt diet.
1. Be Active And Do Regular Exercise
Being active is very important for varicose veins and also get rid of the condition naturally. Avoid sitting or standing for long stretches of time. Move around and use your limbs effectively to ensure proper blood circulation. Maintaining a good body posture is important along with regular exercise as these will improve the hormonal secretion; maintain ideal body weight and blood pressure which are essential in the condition of varicose vein.
Specific leg lifts, calf raises, side lunges and bicycle legs recommended by Carolina Vascular Institute to prevent and deal with varicose veins are extremely effective. Include regular walking, swimming and bicycling in your daily lifestyle thus removing chances of varicose veins forever (11).
2. Keep A Check On Your Weight
It’s important to maintain a proper weight to avoid suffering from varicose veins. Excess weight creates pressure on the veins thus leading to inflammation and formation of varicose veins. Anybody suffering from obesity or weight gain problem is more at risk to be suffering from varicose and spider veins. Proper weight maintenance will naturally cure varicose veins to a great extent.
3. A Healthy Diet
Diet is an important way to take control of your health condition. Always avoid foods that have trans fat and are high in sugar, caffeine and sodium. Avoid processed foods, junk foods and excessive consumption of alcohol as these may raise the chances of varicose vein condition by creating hormonal imbalances, damage of the arteries, raising the blood pressure and causing problems in proper blood circulation.
A healthy diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits provides you with endless nutrients and fibers to keep you healthy and in good shape. Foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins like C and E can help with varicose veins as these maintain good health of veins, arteries and can combat inflammation. Vitamin E plays an effective role in inhibiting formation of blood clots and keep a healthy heart condition.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar The Wonder Potion
Apple cider vinegar or ACV is a wonder potion which has endless benefits and no doubt it will have lot of positive impact upon dealing with varicose vein condition. Acting as a great anti-inflammatory agent and also known to improve blood circulation apple cider vinegar has become an effective remedy for lot of health issues including varicose veins. (12)
5. Essential Oils And Natural Herbs
Combating a health condition without resorting to medical interventions is a success in itself. There are endless natural home remedies which can be extremely effective for lowering the visualness of varicose veins. Moreover, these will cause no side-effects therefore helping you to recover in the best way possible. Use essential oils like cypress, peppermint, tea tree oil or lavender by just applying few drops on the affected area and massaging it.
Essential oils are popular due to several benefits among which anti-inflammatory properties, improving blood circulation and regulating the hormonal balance can improve the varicose vein conditions naturally. Extracts of natural herbs like bilberry and horse chestnut can be consumed in tea or capsule or applied as lotion or cream to relieve conditions related to venous insufficiency (13).Some more useful herbs are grape seed extract, cayenne pepper, pine bark extract and pot marigold.
6. Yoga Remedies
Yoga always has an answer for any kind of health issue. Get relief with effective yoga poses for varicose veins by doing the following poses. Stand straight you’re your feet slightly parted while the arms should be at your sides. Tighten the thigh muscles and keep the stomach loose. Breathe and feel the ankles strengthen in the inner arches. Feel the stretch in your body and then release it after few seconds.
This is known as Tadasana. You can give your legs a good stretch by doing the Uttanasana in which you must stand straight and bend forward while keeping the hands at your hips. Try to touch the floor with your hands. Blood pooling in the leg can be prevented by the Navasana or the boat pose in which you have to sit and raise your legs while your back should be at a 45 degree angle. Your body must take the shape of a boat. You can support your legs against the wall while lying down to improve blood circulation and relieve pressure on blood vessels. This way the blood circulation can improve and bring relief to varicose veins. (14)
7. Massage But With Care
A gentle massage using a healthy lubricant like coconut oil or olive oil can relieve pain and improve blood circulation. Care must be taken to do gentle massage and pressure shouldn’t be applied directly upon the veins.
8. Mud Pack Remedy
Mud pack remedy is an effective alternative treatment which can relieve varicose vein condition. It’s very easy to apply by mixing fuller’s earth with water and spreading the paste over the affected area. As it dries it tightens the area and improves blood flow (15).
How To Cover Up Varicose Veins?
Other than being a medical condition varicose and spider veins can also be distressing to look at. Some harmless ways can be used to cover up the area affected with varicose veins.
1. Using Make Up
Some makeup items can be used effectively to cover up the varicose veins. Apply some sunless tanning lotion which has a closer tone of the skin color. Then use a body makeup which has similar skin shade and spread it evenly upon the film of tanning lotion. Using a thin makeup brush apply a concealer with a lighter shade upon the varicose veins which appear above the skin. Blend the concealer using finger tips so that eventually the effect is smooth and even after the varicose veins have been concealed. You can use an aerosol leg-spray if the varicose veins are less.
2. Avoid Tattoo On Varicose Veins
Doing tattoo on the varicose veins isn’t a good idea as it won’t cure the problem. Tattooing involves piercing the skin and it’s not recommended upon the area having a condition of varicose veins.
Effective home remedies, as suggested, can be used for both varicose veins and spider veins. However, if the remedies don’t give results then medical intervention can be considered. Usually harmless, varicose veins can be considered for treatment if discomforting symptoms persist, further complications happen or for cosmetic reasons.