Do you know what's normal and what's not when it comes to varicose veins? Are you putting up with symptoms that would be better off seen by a doctor? Today I am looking at five varicose veins myths to help clear up any misunderstandings about this condition.
Louise Baillie S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3 @AVogelUK Ask Louise
16 June 2020
What do you know about varicose veins?
Veins can become swollen and knotted, in which case they are known as varicose. As well as looking unpleasant, this condition can be quite painful.
Varicose veins are quite a common problem, though not everyone is clear on their origins or the treatments available. To make things clearer, this blog debunks some common myths around varicose veins. These are:
Varicose veins are just a cosmetic problem
You can't do anything about varicose veins
All varicose veins look the same
Physical exercise makes varicose veins worse
Varicose veins aren't serious.
1. Varicose veins are just a cosmetic problem
It is a common misconception that varicose veins are just a cosmetic problem. It is true that they are most known for their appearance – varicose veins are often bulging, lumpy and twisted. They can also be dark in colour, so they are quite noticeable.
However, it is wrong to say that varicose veins are just cosmetic. Rather, they can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
Dry and itchy skin over the affected area
Painful, achy legs
Swelling in the feet and ankles
A burning sensation in the legs
Most people with varicose veins will not experience these kinds of symptoms but, if you do, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor.
2. You can’t do anything about varicose veins
If you suffer from varicose veins, don't despair! There are many treatment options available, including conventional and natural remedies, as well as lifestyle changes.
In the first instance, your doctor may discuss getting more movement, wearing compression stockings or elevating the affected area for a few minutes every day. If you smoke, it will be helpful to stop or cut down the quantity.
Other treatment options for more serious cases of varicose veins include:
Endothermal ablation – veins are sealed using heat
Sclerotherapy – foam is used to seal veins
When it comes to natural remedies, Horse Chestnut has traditionally been used for the treatment of varicose veins. You can find extracts of fresh Horse Chestnut seeds in Venaforce Tablets and Venagel. Find out a little more below!
My self-care tip for easing tired and achy legs
Check out my video below for some quick tips on how to ease tired, achy legs naturally!
3. All varicose veins look the same
Most varicose veins will look dark blue or purple in colour and, as I have already mentioned, they will appear bumpy and twisted. However, there are several different types of varicose veins and they can differ in terms of size too. Varicose veins can also develop on many different areas of the body, so there is no way they will always look the same!
There are three main different types of varicose veins. These are:
Reticular – these appear red and are usually found close together.
Trunk – long, thick and bumpy. These show up close to the surface of the skin and are clearly visible.
Telangiectasia – you might better know this as thread or spider veins. These thin veins won't usually cause any physical discomfort, but appear in small groups and are red or blue in colour. They usually occur on the legs or face.
4. Physical exercise makes varicose veins worse
You might not feel like doing a lot of exercise if you have varicose veins. Sometimes people feel self-conscious about the appearance of their veins so don't want to don shorts and t-shirts and get active. Other times, the discomfort of varicose veins makes the thought of exercising unpleasant. However, physical activity can actually be a positive thing for varicose veins sufferers.
Exercise gets the blood flowing and, in this way, it can help varicose veins. There's not really any particular exercise that will help varicose veins specifically, so instead, you should focus on what you enjoy. This will mean you'll be much more likely to make exercise a regular feature in your routine. If you would like some suggestions, though, check out my blog '6 low impact exercises to boost circulation'.
In many cases, varicose veins develop due to occupations that involve people spending long hours either sitting or standing. Therefore, breaking this up with some gentle movement should reduce the likelihood of developing the problem in the first place, or making current veins worse.
For the majority of people, varicose veins will be an unpleasant but manageable problem. In some cases, however, complications may develop.
Varicose veins prevent blood from flowing around the body efficiently. This might contribute to problems like bleeding and blood clots. This usually happens many years after the varicose veins first develop.
In either of these instances, it would be sensible to consult your doctor for advice straight away.