How to prevent or treat varicose veins with natural remedies?
Sometimes it seems like varicose veins come out of nowhere when you’re least expecting it. Most people over the age of 60 have some degree, and usually they’re not a big deal. But they could be, it depends on the general health of your veins.
Valves in your veins are supposed to work harmoniously to move blood in one direction, to the heart!
If your heart is weak, or your valves stop working, or your veins lose collagen and become weakened, then the blood stays in your legs and feet longer than it should. It pools faster if you’re standing for a long time or if you’re sitting for a long time like during a long plane flight. The pressure inside your veins makes them wider and after a while, micro amounts of blood leak out into the surrounding tissue.
Varicose veins form, that is what you see when you look at your legs and see those twisted, distended big blue veins. It causes venous insufficiency. You are not the only one suffering: a large amount of especially elderly people and those who have to stand for a long time in their jobs, have varicose veins. They mostly impact the legs and feet.
It’s different from spider veins which are not nearly as noticeable. With spider veins, you can visually eliminate them with a good concealer, or deal with a minor procedure that clears them. Most people have spider veins, and they are really nothing to be concerned about.
As an aside, there’s this thing called “Drinker’s Nose” which causes spider veins to appear on the nose. People are sometimes worried that they’ll be exposed as a heavy drinker because over time, with alcohol or heavy smoking, these veins become quite apparent on the nose. But for most people, spider veins are down on the legs, they’re not that perceptible and they’re not a big health risk.
Varicose veins cause different symptoms for each of you. For most, they are just an esthetic annoyance, similar to spider veins.
A lot of women just wear longer dresses, or long pants forgoing the lovely shorts they used to wear in summertime. However, for some of you, varicose veins become serious, they cause pain, throbbing, swelling, and increased risk of blood clots.
These symptoms could be related to mild heart failure. That’s your cue to go in for a complete cardiovascular check-up, to check the health of your heart and veins.
Varicose veins are blueish-purple and often look twisted and protrude from the leg. If these angry swollen veins occur in the region of your anus, it’s called a hemorrhoid. People who sit for a long time are prone to hemorrhoids.
Because varicose veins show up mainly in the legs and feet, we can safely assume that weight matters. The added pressure from being overweight makes your heart and your veins work harder than normal to return blood from your extremities (legs and feet) back up to your heart. It’s more pressure on your veins. So gravity is a problem, plus added stress and pressure on the valves in your veins causes the the blood flow to sort of pool and remain trapped. Sometimes, the valves in your leg veins stop working as well as they used to. This condition is called Chronic Venous Insufficiency or CVI.
The blood causes the vein to puff out and distend. Fatigue and weakness are natural consequences to this situation.
It comes with agingThere are many factors that could contribute to the development of varicose veins. Unfortunately, your risk to developing varicose veins increases as you age. Aging causes the valves to weaken and perhaps develop some degree of inflammation. This can be a temporary problem too. For example, you might have experienced varicose veins as a result of pregnancy which comes with sudden weight gain. This is very common in pregnant women especially in the third trimester. It disappears for most women, after they’ve gone back to their pre-baby weight.
What if you’re chronically overweight, or obese? The added pressure from weight gain contributes, but it is not the causative factor. Many thin people suffer with this problem, so again, it’s not causing the problem, but it is contributing. Then there’s aging plus gravity. And the risk goes up even higher after menopause, or with surgically-induced hormonal changes (like hysterectomy) which can cause the walls of your veins to relax.
Family historyIf mom or dad has them, chances are you’re prone to them too. So without a doubt, there can be a genetic factor to varicose veins.
The most important gene that researchers consider is the FOXC2 gene. This gene encodes for a protein which is involved in blood vessel and lymphatic development and drainage. Problems in this gene are characterized by lymphedema, varicose veins and venous valve failure, especially in the lower limbs. Knowing that you have this gene means you could do things to help reduce the risk of varicose veins and its complications.
Another family of genes called MMP (Matrix Metalloproteinase) encode for about ten proteins by the same name. Most of these MMPs, especially MMP8 and 9 are upregulated in people with really bad varicose veins and venous leg ulcers. Instead of doing a blood test to test for MMP, simply look down at your legs and your feet to see the results of elevated MMPs.
Don’t throw your hands up in the air, it’s not a given!
Our biggest hurdles are weight, and gravity. The very first thing you should do is lose weight if that applies to you. This is because the added pressure on the veins in your legs and feet will exacerbate your varicose veins by putting more pressure on them. As for gravity, there’s nothing hat can be done about it.
While rare, complications of varicose veins can occur such as leg ulcers, easy bleeding, and blood clots, called thrombophlebitis.
If you suspect a blood clot, or if you develop severe throbbing, or achiness of a different nature, sharp pains, burning, or redness in your leg, or a red streak, please contact a medical professional immediately and have your cardiovascular function checked.
Now what are natural remedies to improve life with varicose veins or hemorrhoids?
Weight lossLosing weight is one of the fastest ways to help yourself because it doesn’t take years to do. In a few months, you can take some pressure off your legs by losing weight. The less pressure, the less puffy, twisted and distended your veins are. You see, your veins are weak, and the burden of having 15kg or more surplus weight on you that shouldn’t be there is pressuring your veins, and making the blood pool.
As an impressive ‘side effect’ of losing weight, many lucky people notice that snoring is silenced and sleep apnea masks can be put away into the nightstand because losing weight may help with that too.
Alternating hot & cold showersThe goal of alternating showers is to improve blood circulation throughout your body. This improves vasodilation and blood flow throughout your body. Try to alternate between comfortably hot water, then colder water. You can do this to your legs only if you can't bear the thought of showering your entire body with cold water.
The point is to give your veins ‘practice’ in constricting and dilating. Veins will constrict when exposed to cold water and dilate when exposed to hot water, and so forth. Blood will flow more freely through the pumping action of hot and cold water, and improve circulation throughout the body. While alternating showers an temporarily improve the appearance of varicose veins, it's not a cure.
Maybe ask your doctor if you fear this might be dangerous to you.
Avoid straining your legsAvoid standing or sitting for long periods without movement. If you need to stand for a long time, you should move your legs from time to time to improve blood circulation.
Exercise moderately such as walking or swimming as it will strenghten blood vessels and prevent or delay the development of prominent veins.
Sit or lie down with legs raised slightly. This position will improve the blood flow from the legs to the heart.
Avoid sitting cross-legged. This will increase pressure on the leg veins.
Apply elastic stockings or elastic bandages. These socks will not eliminate prominent veins, but they may prevent them from getting worse.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and avoid wearing high heels. Walking in high heels could exacerbate the problem of varicose veins if it already exists.
Try to avoid being constipated frequently as it increases the pressure on the legs, and causes hemorrhoids.
During long haul flights, take an aspirin to prevent blood clots and venous thrombosis. Also avoid prolonged sitting and make sure you move to prevent edema and reduce venous pressure in the legs. In addition, during long-haul flights make sure to wear elastic socks.
Use compression stockings. People who used knee-high compression stockings reported a reduction in the pain and aching associated with varicose veins.
Importance of collagenCollagen holds you together, literally. Collagen is an important protein for your veins, tendons, ligaments as well as joints and skin. Collagen makes you elastic too, allowing for healthy firm skin and a tight neck.
Without enough collagen, your blood vessels as well as your pretty skin start to sag.
When collagen breaks down faster than you can make it, which happens when we age, you may start to see varicose veins.
In that sense varicose veins are an inevitable part of aging. Collagen is consumed naturally when you eat meat because it comes from protein. You can also buy supplements, however not all of them are created equal: size matters!
The collagen you consume, should be small enough to get past your intestinal barrier and into your blood stream.
Another factor is water. Make sure you are hydrated throughout the day. Most of us don’t drink enough water. See if your lips are dry, that is the first clue that you’re dehydrated. Most people don’t notice their lips, they just slather on lip balm instead of drinking more water.
Another way to tell is if your urine is yellow and concentrated from dehydration. If you are dehydrated, you can become constipated which contribute to hemorrhoids, which are often tandem with varicose veins.
Other useful supplements
DiosminBioflavonoids are found in the outer peel of citrus fruits like oranges, which is why they are called 'citrus bioflavonoids'.Several of them are great for your veins! Not many people are willing to eat orange peel, though it is possible to cook with orange peel zest to add a tangy flavour to your meals.
Instead of eating citrus peel, you can take vitamin C supplements.
Vitamin C and all of the following C-related nutrients help create collagen, which is so important to your veins.
It is also possible to buy supplements of pure “diosmin.” Diosmin is a well-studied citrus bioflavonoid that has been consumed for years and it’s well known within medical circles to support healthy veins and circulation in the body.
You can also try other vitamin extracts that are similar in terms of what they do. For example hesperidin.
HesperidinPuffy, distended veins can leak micro amounts of blood into the surrounding area, which creates a lot of inflammation and pain.
Hesperidin may be among the very best natural remedies out there. Hesperidin is a citrus bioflavonoid, derived from oranges and lemons just like diosmin, and a potent antioxidant. Hesperidin can fight varicose veins, hemorrhoids and micro leaks of blood (which causes easy bruising). Easy bruising is how you know your capillaries are weak.
Hesperidin can help strengthen capillaries and it’s found in citrus fruits, but also available in dietary supplements. If you have a mild case of vein problems, this supplement might help diminish the visibility. Another related item is D-limonene.
Vitamin K2 or MK7Vitamin K2 can help reduce the risk of you even getting varicose veins, which at the end of the day is a problem with your blood vessel veins. If you are K2 deficient, and many people are, then calcium leaves your bones and clogs up your arteries and blood vessels, causing them to stiffen by calcification. If your veins are weak, stiff or ‘easy to crack’ you will get micro leaks from the capillaries.
While vitamin K2 doesn't top the the list for vein health, it does deserve honorable mention. Ask your doctor if it’s right for you because this nutrient especially amplifies the effect of antithrombotic medications.
Several types of vitamin K exist, but vitamin K2 is primarily involved in the proper deposition of calcium; it makes sure that the calcium stays in your bones and teeth, and doesn’t get into your surrounding tissue, your joints or blood vessels.
On the other hand, vitamin K1 which is found in salads, vegetables and leafy greens is the type of K that plays a bigger role in blood clotting and the one that has more interactions with medications.
Oatstraw teaWhile oats have been a human food source since prehistoric times, not many know you can also drink tea, made out of oat straw herb (Avena sativa).
This herb helps strengthen capillaries, so it is sometimes taken by women when they first get pregnant to help strengthen capillaries before their weight increases. It’s also high in natural calcium, magnesium, B1, B2 and healthy saponins.
Oat straw tea is not going to make the veins go away, but simply a healthier version of water that supports integrity of the veins. If you really want to kick this tea up, add a teaspoon of dried orange peel to the water and simmer that with the oat straw. This adds natural vitamin C and other citrus bioflavonoids to the concoction. For some, oat straw tea induces relaxation, while others notice a mild diuretic effect.
Grapeseed oilGrape seeds contain vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid, and the antioxidants oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs). These compounds have been shown to strengthen connective tissue in blood vessels, improve elasticity, and reduce inflammation.
You can cook with grape seed oil, which has a higher smoke point than olive oil. You can also apply it on your skin as you would any moisturizing oil or better yet, have your legs massaged with this oil instead of whatever oil or lotion they planned to use. Add a few drops of sweet orange oil to the grape seed and you’ll get an even better effect. Sweet orange essential oil imparts a lovely aroma as well as other healing compounds which get transdermally absorbed. In addition, it's also available as a dietary supplement.
Vitamin EVitamin E protects your heart and blood vessels. Vitamin E is known as a fat-loving (lipophilic) antioxidant, and study after study suggests it can support a healthy heart. Remember all those ‘veins’ lead to your heart so when you think varicose veins, always think of your cardiovascular function too. An interesting study also suggests that E plays a role in the rhythm of your heart beat. Not all Es are created equal.
Be aware that real vitamin E is comprised of 8 parts, so your best bet is one that comprises all 8 of the tocopherols and tocotrienes.
ConclusionThere is a lot you can do to avoid the most painful side effects of varicose veins. Changes to your lifestyle and diet are your best bet, while some supplements can also help improve the condition and put less stress on your legs.