Many Americans are developing varicose veins and leg swelling thanks to busy careers that require long periods of sitting at a desk and risky fashion choices that harm blood circulation. Statistics show that varicose veins affect more than 20% of adults in the US. In the initial stages, there are ways of reducing the severity of symptoms and preventing the progression of varicose veins. Most of these methods can be used at home.
As with any other health issue, varicose veins should be treated properly. Bright Side gathered for you the most common yet effective methods for dealing with the development of varicose veins.
1. Leg elevation
Leg elevation can dramatically relieve symptoms of varicose veins and leg swelling if you suffer from the early stages. For leg elevation treatment to be effective, you’ll need to raise your legs above the level of your heart. Try to keep them in this position for at least 20 minutes 3–4 times a day. Try reading a book or watching TV. You won’t notice how time flies!
2. Compression stockings
Wearing elastic support stockings during the day might be more helpful than any other type of home treatment. If you feel discomfort in your legs, try wearing support stockings. These elastic stockings compress the veins and prevent blood from flowing backward.
They squeeze your legs much tighter than usual stockings, but they help veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently. Research has shown that compression stockings can reduce or prevent evening swelling. People who travel a lot, are on their feet all day, or sit at a desk usually purchase compression clothing to reduce swelling or discomfort.
3. Dietary support and weight control
Just like regular exercise, diet is the answer to many health issues. A body that is healthy on the inside will look healthy on the outside. Include foods that contain vitamins C and E, which are great sources of antioxidants for your body. Vitamin C is needed for the manufacturing of collagen and elastin to keep your veins strong. Vitamin E can make veins look less spider-like.
Don’t forget about foods rich in fiber as they help prevent constipation and reduce the pressure on your veins. Consume more meals with oats, flaxseed, peas, beans, apples, and whole-grain foods.
Extra weight doesn’t lead to having varicose veins. However, it’s usually caused by various factors. Bad habits, a lack of exercise, an imbalanced diet, and a sedentary lifestyle combined can start causing you to have bulging veins. Control your weight to avoid placing too much pressure on your legs.
4. Herbal remedies
A study showed that some herbal medicines can have a positive effect on venous insufficiency symptoms such as swelling, cramping, or restless legs. Dietary supplements, such as grapeseed extract, rutin, or a plant called gotu kola, are known as a good treatment for spider veins. They’re available in the form of pills, capsules, or ointment.
Talk with your doctor before trying any herb supplement to make sure these products are safe and won’t interfere with any medications you take.
5. Physical activity
Regular physical activity is the key to treating many health issues. In cases of varicose veins, especially those diagnosed in the early stages, physical activity is a good preventive measure. However, don’t choose an exercise that puts too much strain on your legs. Running isn’t usually recommended because it may aggravate vein swelling.
The more you move, the faster your blood circulates in your veins. That’s exactly what you need to reverse the unpleasant feelings of varicose veins. Physical exercises that boost blood circulation and are effective for treatment are daily walking, stretching, yoga, and flexing or rotating your ankles.
6. Lifestyle changes
Changes in your lifestyle can decrease the discomfort that varicose veins usually cause. Avoid long periods of standing or sitting, especially if you have a desk job. Change your position more frequently so the blood flow doesn’t get reduced. Try to get up and do short stretching exercises if possible.
Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time. Don’t ditch your favorite stilettos, but don’t spend the whole day wearing them. Low heels tone your calf muscles and help blood move through your veins.
7. Gentle massage
A massage assists with the good circulation of blood in your body, especially in your legs (where most varicose veins appear). The main technique for varicose veins massage is to be gentle, avoid digital pressure on big veins, stripping, and wriggling. Use gentle full-palm pressure or flat fingertip pressure when massaging, and move from heels to ankles. If you feel pain or any kind of discomfort, stop the massage, and elevate your legs.
Although such gentle massage can’t reduce varicose veins completely, it can dramatically change the feeling of discomfort they cause by improving the blood flow in your limbs.
8. For large feeding veins: laser ablation
One of the most common medical treatments for varicose veins is laser ablation. This method is normally used when none of the above-mentioned treatments work and the swelling and discom
fort become very unpleasant.
A tube with a laser on the end is passed through a diseased vein. The laser heats up and seals the vein walls so that blood won’t flow through it anymore. Then the vein is removed with a stripping device. Such a procedure leaves minimal bruises on the legs and is much simpler than a regular surgery.
Which kind of home treatment works best for you? Would you prefer to go to the doctor or try to prevent the progression of varicose veins yourself? Share your opinion with us in the comments.