Varicose veins are one of the more common issues older women often feel self-conscious about.
Varicose veins develop when small valves within your veins located in your lower extremities weaken. These valves are responsible for preventing blood backflow through the veins, and weak valves cause blood to pool in the veins. This is what precipitates the appearance of purple or dark blue twisted and swollen veins.
Varicose veins may present other symptoms such as:
- Dry or itchy skin over the varicose vein
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Muscle cramps at night
- Legs feel achy or heavy
- Throbbing or burning sensation in the legs
It is recommended to take a trip to your doctor to assess whether your varicose veins will need more advanced medical treatment, but for mild cases, your medical professional will advise you to try following some simple home remedies to improve symptoms and manage your varicosities.
Here are 5 home remedies for varicose veins:
1. Compression Stockings
Compression stockings are available in most pharmacies and online stores. They work by applying pressure to the legs, aiding the muscles and veins to propel blood toward the heart.
A 2018 study found that people who used knee-high compression reported that they experienced a reduction in the pain associated with varicose veins.
Regular exercise promotes blood circulation in the legs that pushes the blood being collected in the veins. Working out regularly also helps manage high blood pressure, another contributing factor to varicose veins.
Opt for low-impact exercises to get your calf muscles working without putting it through excessive strain. These exercises include:
3. Essential Oils
A 2006 study reported that essential oils such as horse chestnut may help reduce leg pain, itching, and heaviness. Another study done in 2019 reported that sea pine extract and Butcher’s broom extract may reduce edema or leg swelling, often associated with varicose veins.
Essential oils are widely available in health stores and online. Just remember to dilute them in carrier oils before applying them topically, or use a diffuser if you prefer using them for aromatherapy.
Flavonoids promote better blood circulation and make it less likely for pooling in the veins. They also aid in reducing blood pressure in the arteries and may relax blood vessels, all contributing factors to development of varicose veins.
Foods high in flavonoids include:
- Citrus fruits and grapes, apples, cherries, and blueberries
- Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, and onions
5. Dietary Changes
Foods high in sodium can cause your body to retain water which may contribute to varicose veins. To counter this, increasing intake of potassium-rich foods to reduce water retention is recommended.
Foods high in potassium include:
- Fish (salmon and tuna)
- Leafy vegetables
- White beans and lentils
- Pistachio nuts and almonds
People with varicose veins also need to prevent constipation as straining may aggravate weakened valves and make them worse.
To keep the bowels moving, eat more fiber-rich foods such as:
- Whole-grain foods
- Oats, wheat, and flaxseed
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes
Treating varicose veins at home is possible, and diet and lifestyle changes may improve the symptoms.
Read this full article by Medical News Today to learn more about home remedies for varicose veins.