Varicose veins are not only a concern for middle aged women, around 25% of all adults will develop the condition.
In order to treat varicose veins, you need to know what the causes are. The condition is most commonly a result of blood “pooling” in the veins due to ineffective valves in the blood vessels. Instead of ensuring that blood continues to be pumped around the body, the valves allow clotting to take place which can enlarge the vein, cause them to protrude from the surface of the skin and to have a deep purple or red coloration.
Women are more susceptible to varicose veins due to the effects of hormones and, of course, pregnancy. During pregnancy there is increased blood flow and valves are far more likely to become overworked which can lead to the appearance of varicose veins. This is also the case if you are overweight and as you get older too.
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However, it is possible to minimize the risks of developing varicose veins. Wearing compression socks can be hugely beneficial for anyone who might be at risk of or already suffering from varicose veins and can be used as a preventative measure, a form of treatment or as an accompaniment to surgery or other alternative methods.
Compression socks work by placing external pressure on the veins in question and helping to normalize blood flow by pushing the blood upwards and reducing the chance of “pooling”. This can also prevent aching or fatigue in your legs and is one of the reasons that compression socks are also popular with athletes who believe that the increased blood flow aids muscle recovery and reduces tissue damage.
Compression socks are available in a wide range of materials so you won’t have to worry about getting too warm in the summer months! However, it is recommended that you discuss the options with a medical practitioner as there is also a great deal of choice between different levels of compression, starting at 10-15 mmHg compression. Choosing the correct compression for your socks if vital to ensure that they work effectively! But wearing them correctly is also important, never roll the tops of the socks down as this can restrict blood flow and have the opposite effect.
Can I leave my varicose veins untreated?
The worst thing you can do is to try to ignore your varicose veins. After all, the condition is indicative of a larger circulatory issue so it is important that you seek medical advice as quickly as possible.
By leaving your varicose veins untreated you could suffer from other, more serious, conditions in later life, including blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis and even pulmonary embolism, when a blood clot blocks the vessels in your lungs which can be life threatening.
Varicose veins can often be sore and many sufferers experience emotional or psychological effects such as stress, anxiety and even depression due to the condition; so there really is no benefit to leaving these veins untreated.
I don’t want surgery; are there natural treatments available?
An expert at vein surgery specialists Radiance Vein Clinic explains that there are several minimally invasive procedures that offer solutions for anyone suffering from varicose veins. These treatments include Endovenous Laser ablation and Radiofrequency ablation, which are heat-based techniques that seal the problematic veins and redirect blood flow via healthy veins, therefore giving the underperforming valves time to repair naturally.
However, surgery might not be the best option for all varicose vein sufferers. Fortunately, there are a range of natural alternatives on the market.
Oils are particularly popular natural remedies for alleviating the pain caused by varicose veins, as well as other symptoms. Vitamin E oil is a great option for sufferers as it contains anti-oxidants which boost healing. However, some patients may experience side effects including, dermatitis, after using this oil so it is best to experiment on a small patch of skin before you apply it more liberally.
Similarly, Bio-oil is a good natural accompaniment and works to improve skin appearance. It is made from a blend of oils such as vitamin A and E, rosemary, chamomile and lavender, all of which have a range of different healing properties, including anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatories. In fact, over 90% of users saw an improvement just eight weeks after they started using the product on scars.
Gels such as Ibuleve can be an effective option to reduce swelling and ease the pain and soreness caused by varicose veins. However, this product contains ibuprofen so you should speak to a medical practitioner if you are already prescribed medication.
You don’t have to suffer with varicose veins in silence; there is a huge choice of treatments to alleviate the symptoms behind the condition, as well as techniques to reduce your chances of developing them in the first place!