Varicose Veins remedies
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Varicose Veins
Herbal & Home Remedies Herbal Remedies Home Remedies

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be flesh colored, dark purple or blue. They often look like cords and appear twisted and bulging. They are swollen and raised above the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are commonly found on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the leg. During pregnancy, varicose veins called hemorrhoids can form in the vagina or around the anus.

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are smaller. They are often red or blue and are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. They can look like tree branches or spider webs with their short jagged lines. Spider veins can be found on the legs and face. They can cover either a very small or very large area of skin.

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Symptoms

Varicose veins can cause heaviness or tension in the legs.  There is often a feeling of swelling, aching, restless legs, cramps and itching.  Symptoms such as these are often worse after a long day of standing.  Symptoms are often worse in hot weather or after exercise and many women find symptoms are worse during their periods.  During pregnancy many women notice that their varicose veins become more prominent and more symptomatic. In many patients these problems will settle after the birth of the baby.  Unfortunately, symptoms from varicose veins are rather non-specific and it is difficult to correlate the severity of symptoms with the severity of the venous disease.  Despite this it is also clear that symptoms do mainly resolve after varicose vein treatment.

Although most patients will not develop complications, varicose veins can sometimes cause more serious problems such as:

Superficial thrombophlebitis - this is an inflammation in the varicose veins.  The superficial varicose veins become red, hot, tender and painful and blood clots form in the superficial veins.  This can take many weeks to resolve.  In patients with above knee phlebitis about 20% (1 in 5 patients) will have an underlying thrombosis in the deep veins (Deep Venous Thrombosis or DVT).  Sometimes when a severe phlebitis has resolved the varicose veins may disappear, but it is important that you are assessed by a vascular surgeon to ensure there are no residual abnormalities that may require treatment to prevent further phlebitis.

Chronic venous insufficiency - the development of brown discolouration of the skin at the ankle, varicose eczema and thickening in the tissues around varicose veins (liposclerosis) are signs that more extensive tissue damage is occurring.

Varicose ulceration - if the tissue damage becomes great enough, ulcers can develop in the skin just above the ankle.  Many patients are concerned when they hear the term ulceration, but it only means that there has been a loss of skin and that the tissues beneath the skin are exposed.

Bleeding - bleeding from varicose veins is relatively uncommon especially from the large bulbous type varicose veins.  If bleeding does occur it tends to be from smaller very superficial venous blebs in the skin.

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Causes

 

Veins are blood vessels that normally carry blood from the foot and leg upwards, back to the heart.  Blood will not normally travel downwards in the reverse direction as there are one way valves inside the veins that prevent this occurring. In some people faults can develop in these valves (we do not know why for most), and blood is permitted to travel not only towards the heart, but can also travel backwards (reflux) towards the foot, especially on standing.  Veins that reflux are said to be incompetent or to have incompetent valves.  Over time this leads to a higher pressure in the veins and they gradually become swollen and varicose, although this can take many years.  Unfortunately, the faults in the valves cannot be cured.  The clinical effects of varicose veins seem to be caused by prolonged high pressures in the veins.

Risk factors for varicose veins include age, heredity and obesity.  Other associations such as with prolonged standing or pregnancy are more tenuous.

An artery is a different type of blood vessel which carries blood away from the heart, taking oxygen to the tissues. 

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Home Remedies

Apple cider vinegar The old stand by - apple cider vinegar - has shown significant benefits for relieving varicose veins. There are several variations to choose from. Twice a day apply cheesecloth or other bandages saturated with vinegar to the legs for 30 minutes. Lie down and keep your feet somewhat elevated.

Bilberries - Support normal formation of connective tissue and strengthen capillaries in the body, and in this way help prevent varicose veins.

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Herbal Remedies

Aloe vera Aloe vera gel can be applied to relive itching.

Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) - Strengthens blood vessels and improve peripheral circulation.

Marigold - the flowers of this herb can be applied externally over varicose ulcers with beneficial results. It's an excellent remedy for inflamed or ulcerated conditions of the skin.

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Wellness Program

Avoid standing for long periods of time. This will reduce pressure on the valves in the veins in your legs. If you are pregnant of if your occupation puts a lot of stress on your legs, wear support stockings.

While standing, get on your tip-toes by lifting your heels off the floor. Do this twenty times, relax for a few minutes, then repeat. This exercise will strengthen your calf muscles and promote circulation.

Your job or hobby may be the cause of your varicose veins. If you have to stand or sit too long in one position, this may cause circulatory problems. Crossing your legs may greatly enhance your problem, too. Try changing your work or sitting conditions and take the mini-breaks mentioned above. Varicose veins did not happen overnight and alleviating them will take time, too. Be patient.

Heat dilates blood vessels so the veins are more visible after hot showers or baths. Try cool, quick showers instead of hot soaks. Cold compresses can also temporarily hide veins.

Elevating your feet whenever possible will reduce the pressure in your legs. Use a recliner or ottoman when reading or watching TV, or if you read in bed, elevate your feet with cushions or pillows.

Weight may also be a problem. Exercise and dietary changes to lose weight will be very beneficial to relieving varicose veins.

Jump rope to strengthen the leg muscles and blood vessels. Begin slowly to build up tolerance; jump one minute per session and slowly build up to 5 minutes.

Rubbing your legs with some sort of soothing lotion such as St John's wort oil, lanolin, or massage oil will relax the leg muscles and improve circulation. Gently massaging with an upward motion with your palms or fingertips and occasionally squeezing your legs will help force blood out of the veins in your legs and back to the heart.

Exercise

As with any wellness program, exercise is an important component. Exercise helps promote circulation and improves muscle tone. People with varicose veins need to have moderate exercise as opposed to more strenuous forms, such as high-impact aerobics, jogging, strenuous cycling or other activities that increase the blood pressure in the veins. Walking, weight training, low-impact aerobics and swimming are a few of the preferred means of exercise, but anything that helps shift your weight or standing or sitting position will help. If you have a bad problem, take short breaks several times a day and walk around and stretch.

As we age we lose muscle tone and the skin loses its elasticity. Veins that are undergoing pressure from some of the factors mentioned above will have a tendency to bulge out and become noticeable varicose veins. Any form of exercise that will strengthen the legs will help relieve varicose veins. Consistent exercise over several months will generally reduce the throbbing and aching often associated with varicose veins.

Clothing

Clothing that is too tight, including shoes or boots, will restrict circulation and may be the cause of your varicose veins by not allowing the blood to properly flow through your body. Snug fitting girdles, pantyhose, belts, and boots and shoes, especially high-heels, cut off circulation, thus forcing blood to seek alternative routes or causing back-pressure on the veins. Support hose, on the other hand, helps promote circulation. Make sure it is the kind that is tighter at the ankles, gradually decreasing the pressure as they get higher up the leg. If you can't find a good over-the-counter brand, they can be medically prescribed.

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