Maybe you’ve seen advertised those topical creams claiming to help get rid of varicose veins? While there are some steps you can take to ‘naturally’ treat varicose veins (or self-manage as it’s sometime called), the presence of varicose veins likely means that you suffer from significant underlying vein disease, which is progressive and can, in some instances result in serious complications. If you suffer from varicose veins, I strongly recommend you visit a vein specialist to make sure you not only receive an accurate diagnosis, but to make sure that you are not at risk for progressing to, or developing one of the complications of vein disease such as spontaneous bleeding, ulcers, or blood clots, which can become deadly if left untreated,.
What are Varicose Veins?
Enlarged, dilated, bulging veins that appear ropy, gnarled or twisted with a dark purple or blue color are by definition diagnosed as varicose veins. These type of veins rarely occur in the upper half of the body, and almost universally occur in the legs because they have to work against gravity to get blood back to the heart. Women are more likely to experience varicose veins than men (although they absolutely occur in both, and we do treat a significant number of men at our practice). Pregnancy and hormonal changes are other major contributing factors, as well as trauma and occupations or activities with prolonged standing or sitting.
Varicose Veins Diagnosis
In addition to a physical examination, you should also undergo a diagnostic ultrasound test to determine how well your deeper veins are working and to rule out the potential for blood clots. A good vein specialist will likely ask you to describe any pain, discomfort or other symptoms you are experiencing and about any medications, including vitamins or supplements, you are taking.
How to Self-Manage Your Varicose Veins – “Conservative Care”
Once diagnosed, your vein specialist should recommend the use of medical grade compression stockings. Although definitive treatment may involve a minimally invasive series of treatments depending on the severity of your varicose veins, there are some other things one can do to help reduce the pain or swelling in your legs caused by varicose veins, including:
- Limit Time in Same Position: It’s important to not sit or stand in the same position for longer than 30 minutes at a time. If you work at a desk during the day, get up and walk around several times a day.
- Uncross Your Legs: Crossing your legs underneath your desk at work or while watching television can worsen your varicose veins due to increased pressure and lack of circulation.
- Get Moving: Exercise such as walking is important in helping circulation, because your muscles help pump blood through your limbs. Check with your doctor to make sure how much and what type of exercise is appropriate for you.
- Lose Weight: Even a few extra pounds can aggravate the pressure in your varicose veins.
- Wear Comfortable Shoes & Clothing: Avoid high heels, shoes, stockings or other tight clothing such as hosiery or tights around that legs as these can cause discomfort.
- Elevate Legs: Several times a day, try to elevate your legs above the level of your heart. This aids in the overall circulation of blood from the legs to the heart.
If you’re suffering from varicose veins (or know a loved one who is), please call my office and schedule a free no-obligation consult with me. I’ll examine your legs and discuss treatment options with you, (covered by most insurance plans). Call us at 913-451-8346