Have you ever noticed swollen veins pop out on your legs and feet?
If your answer is yes, you probably have varicose veins.
These are not so common, unlike other skin blemishes such as acne and the likes.
However, it is important that you note what they are and what to do when they appear.
What are varicose veins?
Like I said earlier, they are swollen and large veins that usually appear on the legs.
They appear when the valves in your veins are not functioning properly and because of that, blood does not flow as it should.
How do varicose veins occur?
Varicose veins occur when valves in your veins become weak or damaged.
Usually, blood is circulated from your heart to your tissues by your arteries. And through the veins, blood is returned from other parts of your body back to your heart.
The valve in your vein open when blood flows to your heart and they close to prevent blood flowing back downward.
When they are damaged, blood flows backward and creates a pool of blood in the vein. This makes the veins twist and stretch so much that they become visible on your skin.
What causes varicose veins?
There are quite a number of factors that can cause varicose veins. They include:
- Age (especially people above 50)
- Genetics and family history
- Jobs (and other activities) that require standing for a long period of time everyday
- Hormonal fluctuations during menopause, puberty, pregnancy, etc.
- Birth control pills
Note: Varicose veins develop more often in women than in men.
How do I know I have varicose veins?
The symptoms of varicose veins vary.
In most cases, people do not experience any pain. Veins turn blue or dark purple and they look swollen or twisted.
However, it can get worse.
People with varicose veins might experience pains and cramps in their legs. They can also experience other symptoms like:
- and, heaviness in the legs
Some others complain of ulcers, darkening of the skin around the leg (especially the ankle region), swellings, etc.
This is not so common, but varicose veins can form a painful blood clot on the legs as well as inflammation of the veins.
Symptoms can be more pronounced for women during parts of their menstrual cycle or during pregnancy.
How can I treat varicose veins?
The symptoms might sound scary, but that shouldn’t be a reason to worry. Varicose veins can be treated.
Treatment methods for varicose veins include:
Compression stockings are made in a way that they gently squeeze the patient’s legs which improves blood circulation with the legs.
They are tight around the ankles and get loose as they go upwards. This stimulates blood flow from the ankles to other parts of the legs.
It can also help reduce swelling and ease pain and discomfort.
Exercises stimulate blood circulation in your legs. This helps to push upward, blood that has been stored in your veins.
You should try out low-impact exercises that keep your calf muscles busy but doesn’t cause excessive strain on them. For example; swimming, walking, yoga, cycling, etc.
Get a few pounds off
Obesity is one of the factors that cause varicose veins.
You should work on losing some weight. With excess pounds gone, it reduces the pressure on the veins, and relieves swelling and discomfort.
Eat foods that contain flavonoids
Flavonoids can help to shrink varicose veins.
They improve the circulation of blood within your body. This reduces the chances of blood forming a pool in your veins.
They also relax blood vessels and help to reduce blood pressure in the veins, which in turn, reduces varicose veins.
Foods rich in flavonoids include citrus fruits, cocoa, garlic, vegetables, etc.
Make sure your legs are elevated
You should keep your legs elevated – at the same height as your heart or above it. This improves blood circulation.
It also reduces the pressure on the veins in your legs and aids the flow of blood from your legs back to your heart.
As long as you are sitting down, keep your legs elevated.
Note: Do not sit with your legs crossed. That can restrict the circulation of blood within your legs.
Massage your legs
When you massage the affected area, it helps to keep blood circulating through your legs.
When massaging, be careful not to press directly into your veins. This may damage fragile tissues in your legs.
Keep it light and gentle.
If possible, use a natural oil for massaging.
Do not wear tight clothing
Avoid putting on tight-fitting clothing – especially round your legs. They can restrict the flow of blood, which can further complicate issues.
Wear loose clothing instead.
You should also do away with high heeled footwear. Wear flats instead. Flats do not put pressure on your veins.
8. What about medical procedures?
There are several medical procedures to treat varicose veins. Your doctor will decide which of these procedures is suitable for you:
- Endothermal ablation: Heat is used to seal up the damaged veins.
- Sclerotherapy: a solution is injected into the veins to make them scar, and blood is rerouted to healthier veins.
- Ambulatory phlebectomy: The doctor punctures the skin and removes the veins through tiny slits.
- Endoscopic vein surgery: The veins are removed through surgery.
- Laser surgeries: Intense laser beams are directed to the veins which makes them fade gradually and eventually disappear.
Big words like varicose veins might sound scary. But it’s not as scary as it sounds.
If it ever happens to you, I suggest you see a doctor, especially if it is painful.
Your doctor will determine what medical treatment is suitable.
But if you notice these veins, and do not feel any pain, these tips I have listed above should help.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment. I will be glad to answer them.