Dark purple or blue, achy and bulging veins that cause pain and swelling in your lower legs are all symptoms experienced by more than 40 million Americans and most often point to varicose veins. When vein walls are damaged, the transmission of blood gets impaired, causing the veins to swell, change color, or even bleed. Untimely or inadequate treatment can lead to more serious health problems.
Common causes of varicose veins
Age: With age, veins get weaker and lose elasticity which increases the likelihood of blood pooling.
Women & Pregnancy: Female hormones tend to loosen the vein walls, women are more prone to suffer from varicose veins.
Obesity: Veins can become pressured by too much weight.
Inactivity: Can cause muscles to weaken which then weakens the veins.
Standing for long periods of time: People whose work requires being in the same, inactive position for long periods of time can develop improper blood flow, leading to the condition.
Apart from being unpleasant to the eye, varicose veins shouldn’t be left untreated since they can potentially cause serious health issues such as chronic venous insufficiency, ulcers, blood clots and bleeding.
Since complications include serious health issues, it is always best to opt for approved and tested ways when looking for a remedy for varicose veins.
Massage is known as one of the most effective ways to relieve the pain brought by varicose veins. A study shows that reflex massage is especially effective in pain relief since it triggers the release of endorphin, a substance known for its opiate effect. Additionally, the studies show that massage improves blood circulation that helps to prevent venous stasis and trophic disorders. Whether it is combined with pharmacological therapy or done as a separate treatment, reflex massage, when performed regularly by a trained massage therapist, can bring significant pain relief and improvement to the overall condition for patients suffering from varicose veins.
2. Dietary support
A healthy diet needs to be a complementary part of any varicose veins treatment. A study that examined the effect lifestyle factors have on the development of varicose veins shows that the rates for developing this condition were more common among smokers, people who regularly drink alcohol, and individuals whose meat intake was only 0-2 times a week. In order to prevent and/or improve the condition, patients are advised to follow a certain dietary plan that includes:
- Fiber rich diet: Foods rich in fiber help prevent constipation which can lead to varicose veins. Great sources of fiber include apples, peas, beans, oats, and whole grain cereal.
- Vitamin C rich diet: Vitamin C improves the strength and elasticity of the veins, which, in turn, decreases the risk of varicose veins development.
- Hydration: For fiber rich foods to have its full effect, it is essential that body gets enough water regularly.
- Reduce alcohol intake
3. Increased physical activity
Aside from contributing to overall health, physical activity can help prevent and reduce the development of varicose veins, as a study shows. Regular exercise helps release the pressure on the veins by stretching and strengthening them, which reduces the risk of developing the condition.
Two Common But Unproven Remedies
Contrary to the popular belief, there is no medical research that supports the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar or compression stockings on improving the condition.
As far as compression stockings are concerned, according to Haroun Gajraj, a vascular surgeon from the VeinCare Centre near Dorchester, Dorse, “There is no hard evidence to support it, but more of an intuitive feeling that wearing them reduces the risk of varicose veins progressing.”
Similarly, no medical study suggests that apple cider vinegar has the potential to prevent varicose veins. A 2016 study on The Effect of External Apple Vinegar Application on Varicosity Symptoms, Pain, and Social Appearance Anxiety, only shows that external application of apple cider vinegar “increased the positive effects of conservative treatment.”
Please note: Even though the three suggested methods can relieve the pain caused by varicose veins, people suffering from the condition are encouraged to seek medical professional help for more permanent treatment.