Varicose veins are most commonly seen in the legs and ankles. They are large, twisted veins that can be seen near the surface of the skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, varicose veins occur when the vein walls are weakened and stretched.
In this condition, the varicose veins can no longer move blood back up towards the heart.
They essentially become too weak to fight the force of gravity and are unable to push blood back up the legs.
This causes blood to pool in the legs and increases pressure on the veins. This ultimately causes the veins to swell.
Sometimes, small blue or red varicose veins can be seen on the surface of the skin. These are commonly known as spider veins because they often resemble a spider’s web.
Are You at Risk?
Varicose veins can be hereditary. They are usually more common in people who are overweight, or who have to stand for long periods of time.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Some people feel aching or fatigue in their legs at the end of the day; otherwise, varicose veins often cause no symptoms, other than minor swelling in your feet and ankles.
In more serious conditions, your skin may become dry and itchy. In this case, your skin might break open easily and bleed. These open sores can also take a long time to heal. Also, if blood pools in your legs, your skin can look brownish in that area.
Home Treatment for Varicose Veins
Avoid Tight Clothes
Tight clothes can limit circulation and can help contribute towards varicose veins. Avoid stockings that leave red marks on your legs, tight pants, and tight belts.
Have Supportive Stockings
Regular support panty hose can occasionally help mild symptoms; however, for more serious cases compression stockings may be needed. These can be found at medical supply stores and sometimes require a doctor’s prescription.
Elevate Your Legs
When possible, lie down and elevate your legs above your heart level. This will assist the blood in your lower extremities to circulate back to your heart.
When sitting, put your legs on a foot stool. Also, avoid crossing your legs while sitting.
Switch Positions Often
Sitting and standing for long periods of time can often contribute to varicose veins. If you have to sit for school or work, try to get up periodically and stretch your legs by walking.
Likewise, if you have to stand for an extended amount of time, try to switch positions frequently and sit down when you can.
Try to get regular exercise by walking, biking, swimming, or whatever activity interests you. Recruiting muscles in your legs will help prevent blood from pooling in your lower extremities.
Exercise will also help keep your body weight down. This will assist in decreasing the amount of direct pressure on your lower extremities.
Medical Treatments for Varicose Veins
The traditional surgical treatment has been vein stripping to remove the involved veins
Newer, less invasive treatments attempt to seal the main leaking vein on the thigh.
Techniques, such as ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation and laser treatment, are available as well.
When to Call a Doctor?
If the skin over varicose veins starts to bleed heavily and doesn’t stop with direct pressure, call your physician.
Furthermore, if your legs swell and become painful, you could have other conditions that may require a physician’s assistance.