Treating Varicose Veins
Personal Interest. Treating varicose veins naturally is something that I have been working on for 30 something years now. It was my third baby that started it all - and I am still working at it.
What are they? Varicose veins are usually surface veins that have become excessively dilated and therefore look distended and tortuous. They often get inflamed and cause pain and burning. This problem is usually caused by conditions that increase the volume of blood in the veins resulting in excessive vasodilatation.
Where are they found? The two main places we see varicose veins are:
- In the legs (especially in the lower legs and ankle areas)
- Hemorrhoids in the anal region
Statistics. The statistics I was able to find say that these veins affect 10 - 20% of all people, but it sounds low to me. I know many people with at least one, and sometimes both problems.
It is four times more common in women than in men. I have varicose veins in my legs which developed when I was pregnant with my third child. I didn't realize that I somehow needed to prevent his fetus from sitting on my veins and closing off the blood flow.
I would think that if I had been thinking about treating varicose veins and undertaken a vigorous walking routine along with laying with my legs up more often and using herbal remedies, this might have been prevented.
However, my grandmother had extremely bad varicose veins and being a high energy person, having lived through the World Wars and the depression, and at age 82 was taking food in to the "old people" at the rest home, I can't imagine that she didn't walk a lot when she was pregnant.
In the legs there are two types of varicose veins:
- The first is superficial. These veins are just below the skin and are easy to see. Many people call them spider veins. They may not be very pretty, but they don't actually pose a health problem.
- The second type of vein is the deep vein. They, of course, are located deep within the leg. Blood from the superficial veins comes into the deep veins through small perforator veins. If blood clots develop in these deep veins serious problems and even death is possible. Both types of veins move blood through their one way valves as the muscle contractions push it along.
Causes of Varicose Veins.
In learning about treating varicose veins we need to understand them first. When things are functioning normally, the valves in the veins prevent blood from flowing back away from the heart, but if their efficiency decreases some blood may stagnate in the vein, which then becomes swollen and twisted, causing aching and abnormal fatigue of the legs. This is a varicose vein.
Varicose veins are blamed on two main causes, the strength of the vein walls, and the resistance which stops the blood flow back into the heart. Let's look at each of these causes.
- Strength of vein walls. This can be affected by a number of things:
- Heredity.Nearly 40% of those with varicose veins have relatives who also have the veins.
- Obesity. Being overweight is a problem in so many ways because the fatty tissue in the body clogs everything up - including the tone of the veins in the legs. Plus the weight which has to carried by the legs adds immense stress on the veins.
- Age. As we get older we slow down and are less active than we use to be, making it clear (again) why exercise is so important. Add this to degenerative issues which come with time and wearing out of bodies, making it obvious that vein strengthening herbs need to be part of a daily regime.
- Sitting. If we have a job or other lifestyle that is mainly sitting, the position we are in actually cuts off the flow of the blood and can cause varicose veins. Couple this with lack of exercise because we sit so much and you can understand the problem.
- Even prolonged standing can cause varicose veins to form by weakening the valves that help the blood return to the heart. Remember - veins have no pump - only the action of the muscles when you exercise them.
- Resistance. Pregnancy. There it is - my excuse. As I said earlier, the growing fetus causes a compression of the internal organs and the inferior vena cava along with other veins affected by the position of the baby.
- I was not thinking about treating varicose veins, nor did I know I needed to be active in their prevention.
- This can be compounded by sitting on certain surfaces causing an external pressure on the veins in the anal area causing hemorrhoids or in the lower legs as a result of the flow of returning blood being compromised by pressure.
- This pressure happens at the front edge of the seat on the back of the legs just above the knees.
- The result is increased resistance to venous return to the heart and increased pressure in the capillaries with resultant distention of the vessels.
- When this happens the valves fail to close properly (sometimes diagnosed as valvular incompetence) and thus the blood will tend to pool in the involved areas since it has a difficult time moving towards the heart.
- Prolonged pooling and engorging of these vessels will eventually cause permanent changes in the vascular walls with the result of less elasticity and increased diameter. It is so important to be aware of this for treating varicose veins.
- Thrombosis. This is the formation or presence of a blood clot in a blood vessel. The clot is actually called a thrombus.Clots can be formed because of immobility (some of the same reasons we have already discussed), or having blood that clots faster than usual (due to medications such as birth control pills, estrogen, smoking, or cancer.) Fractures or bruising or any kind of trauma can also cause clots.
- Clothing. Believe it or not tight clothing can also restrict the blood flow enough that it causes varicose veins.
What Can We Do For Treating Varicose Veins Naturally?:
Though it is hard to cure varicose veins once they have developed, there are some things we can do for treating varicose veins. We can even avoid their development if we are aware of them ahead of time.
- Exercise. Exercise regularly, the movement of the legs is the main pump for returning blood through the veins.
- Diet. Eat a diet high in fiber.
- Water. Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water.
- Sitting. Do not sit with your legs crossed, as we all know, this restricts the veins and the blood cannot flow properly back up to the heart. If you must cross your legs, do so at the ankles. This is a simple, but effective way of treating varicose veins.
- Your Job. If you have a job which requires long hours of sitting, remember to stand often to avoid the front edge of the chair cutting off the venal flow in the back of your legs, another important way of treating varicose veins.
- Stockings. Do not wear tight socks or ankle or knee high stockings, as the restrictive elastic at the top will cut off the flow of the blood through the veins. Full support stockings can help hold the veins in and give relief if needed. You can purchase prescription hose if it is extreem. I had a really ugly pair for my fourth pregnancy, but they helped a lot.
- Elevate Your Legs. Put your legs up occasionally, or often if you have varicose veins, and remove the obstacle of gravity. Laying with your legs up is the best position. Sitting with your legs raised can actually constrict your veins, but is still better than sitting with your legs down.
- Standing. Do not stand for long periods of time. If you must, be sure that you have a cushion under your feet and walk as often as you can. This helps the blood that is pooling in the lower leg area pump back up to the heart. Laying with your feet raised is always best, but sometimes not possible. It seems like some of the best ways of treating varicose veins are simple logic.
- Mud Pack. A mud pack may be applied at night and allowed to remain until morning. Clean off by sitting in the tub or taking a shower.
- Herbal Salves or Oils. Apply herbal salves topically that help strengthen the veins. When applying be sure to stroke the ankles and legs toward the heart so as to help the blood move in the right direction.
- Hot and Cold Baths. Take hot and cold baths for your legs to stimulate the circulation. This is quite simple actually. Purchase two plastic garbage cans that are tall enough to put your legs, up to your knees, in.
- One of the containers will be filled with very warm or hot water that is not too hot. The other container will be filled with cold water - add ice cubes if you want.
- You can also add an herbal infusion using an astringent herb or astringent herbal blend. Make the infusion, then pour it into the hot water. Add 1/2 cup of epsom salts to the cold water and stir until dissolved.
- Sit on a stool and soak your legs in the hot water for 2-3 minutes, then place them in the cold water for a much shorter time - about 30 seconds is enough. Do this for 20 - 30 minutes. It will make your legs feel great.
- For best results you should do this once a day for 30 days.
- Watch for Swelling. Be aware of your body and any edema (swelling) that may be developing. Appropriate methods of reducing swelling including the utilization of herbs are important.
Our next page, Varicose Veins and Hemorrhoids Herbal Treatment," gives you more ideas and ways of treating varicose veins, as well as recipes for herbal remedies you can use at home. Be sure to visit it.
For More Related Ideas see these pages:
Varicose Vein and Hemorrhoids Herbal Treatment
Treatment of Hemorrhoids
Natural Hemorrhoid Treatment
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Herbs to Lower Cholesterol
Making Herbal Infused Oil
Making Organic Salves
Dealing With Stress Using Herbs
Natural Sleep Remedies
Benefits of Laughter
How to Sleep Better
And just like a car, maintenance and catching things early are easier to deal with than waiting and having a major breakdown.
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