A very common condition in men and women from middle age, varicose veins occur when the veins (usually in the lower legs) become enlarged and swollen.
One in five adults will experience varicose veins at some stage during their life. The main causes include genetics, hormones, pregnancy, previous injury to the vein, and long periods spent standing or sitting still. There are a variety of home remedies for varicose veins which may help reduce the pain and appearance of varicose veins.
What are Varicose Veins?
Veins are the blood vessels which return blood from the body to the heart. The blood pressure in veins is lower than in arteries, and due to gravity, blood can easily flow backwards. To prevent this, veins contain one-way valves which stop the backflow of blood.
Varicose veins occur when these valves fail and become damaged. Blood then pools in the veins and they can swell and twist. While this condition can occur anywhere in the body, it is most common in the legs, especially below the knee. These swollen, twisted veins may become visible through the skin, usually looking blue or purple and they may bulge.
Not all visible varicose veins are painful, and not all painful varicose veins are visible.
How Do Varicose Veins Cause Pain?
As well as being unsightly, varicose veins can cause several symptoms:
- Discomfort, heaviness, achiness
- Cramping, especially at night
- Swelling of ankles and feet
- Dry, thinning skin
The discomfort and pain of varicose veins is a direct result of blood pooling and veins dilating. This can impact the muscles and nerves.
Varicose veins can also cause other issues, including open sores, ulcers, skin infections, or the formation of a blood clot in the vein. Extremely painful, suddenly worse, or severe varicose veins must be addressed by a doctor.
11 Home Remedies for Varicose Veins
While home remedies won’t cure varicose veins, they can help delay the onset of them and the pain associated with this common condition.
- Regular, Low-Impact Exercise improves overall circulation and muscle tone and lowers blood pressure, and these help reduce the risks of developing varicose veins. Suitable exercise includes walking, swimming, cycling, Pilates, and yoga.
- Keep Legs Elevated at or above heart level to improve your circulation. Gravity will help the blood flow the right way through the veins and take the pressure off them. Do this when watching TV, reading, sedentary working, or relaxing.
- Wear Compression Socks/Stockings are available in most pharmacies and some travel stores. They apply a specific, steady pressure to the legs which helps the veins and muscles move blood back to the heart and prevent pooling. This can help reduce aching and pain. Medical-grade compression socks and stockings should be fitted – speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
- Make Dietary Changes to favour plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, foods high in fibre, and low in salt. Choose high potassium foods like almonds, lentils, leafy greens, salmon and tuna; avoid salt and sodium as these cause water retention. Eat oats, whole grains, flaxseed, and flavonoid-rich foods like onions, spinach, broccoli, grapes, citrus, cocoa, and garlic.
- Lose Weight if you are overweight or obese, as this is a major contributor to varicose veins due to extra pressure on the legs and vessels.
- Massage gently to keep blood flowing towards the heart – always massage towards the heart (i.e. up the legs, not down) but be sure to be gentle and avoid pressing directly onto the veins. Use massage oil or moisturiser.
- Avoid Sitting/Standing for Long Periods as this can cause blood to pool in the lower legs and put more pressure on the veins. Don’t cross your legs when you sit, and move around or change position often.
- Avoid Hot Baths and Showers as these can cause the veins to swell. Choose a tepid or cool bath and if you can’t handle a cool shower, make it warm (not hot) and short.
- Avoid Wearing High Heels as these are the enemy of comfortable legs and may make varicose veins worse.
- Wear Comfortable Clothing to avoid placing pressure on the legs and restricting blood flow. Choose comfortable, loose-fitting pants, trousers, or skirts.
- Herbal Remedies can be helpful, and many are backed by scientific, peer-reviewed studies. Those which may be of assistance include:
- Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) may assist those with chronic venous insufficiency by reducing itching, heaviness, and leg pain.
- Extracts of Butcher’s broom (Rusus aculeatus) and sea pine (Pinus maritima) may help reduce oedema (swelling) associated with varicose veins.
- Grape seed extract (Vitis vinifera) may also be helpful, but is not suitable for use by anyone taking blood thinners including warfarin or regular aspirin.
Eliminate Varicose Veins at Crows Nest Vein Clinic
Varicose veins worsen over time. Home remedies will not cure or reduce existing varicose veins – only expert professional varicose vein treatment can achieve this.
The best treatment option to reduce or eliminate the appearance of unsightly veins and mitigate the painful side effects they cause is pain-free vein removal.
Operated by Dr Nicole James, Crows Nest Vein Clinic is your premium choice for varicose vein treatment in the Sydney Metropolitan Area. Vein treatment with Dr James requires no GP referral, and it is minimally-invasive. There is no need for a hospital admission or stay, and the treatments offered at Crows Nest Vein Clinic are proven to be safe and effective. Our patients benefit from fewer complications, faster recovery, and better outcomes.
Contact Crows Nest Vein Clinic today to discuss our options for vein treatment and the safety and other benefits of our services.
We continue to closely adhere to all COVID-safe guidelines per the current advice from the NSW Department of Health and we are open for business as usual.
Call us on (02) 9906 1555 or email us at [email protected].