Varicose veins occur when the valves in your veins weaken or get damaged. Usually, valves open to allow blood to flow towards the heart and close to prevent it from flowing backward. However, when the valves are weak or damaged, some blood flows back and pools in the veins, causing these blood vessels to enlarge, twist, and appear close on the skin surface. In some, varicose veins cause pain; however, others seek treatment for cosmetic reasons. These home treatments can help reduce the appearance of varicose veins before seeing your South Shore Vein and Aesthetic Medicine provider for treatment.
Compression stockings apply pressure on your legs, helping the muscles and veins pump blood toward the heart. They, therefore, improve circulation and bring down swelling. You can, but compression stockings at your local medical store or your doctor can prescribe them for you. Prescription stockings are better since your doctor ensures you get the right fit and chooses the compression strength that is best for you. Your provider will require you to wear the stockings for at least 22 hours every day for symptom relief.
Regular exercise is a great way to improve blood circulation and bring down swelling. The blood that collects in your veins moves back to the heart as you move. Physical activity also helps you lose extra weight and lower your blood pressure, contributing to varicose veins. You can engage in low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking, yoga, and cycling to improve blood circulation.
The foods you eat can aggravate the damaged vein valves or help improve varicose veins symptoms. Dietary fiber helps with healthy bowel movements and is especially important if you tend to have constipation. That is because the physical pressure you need to pass a hard stool creates abdominal pressure, which may worsen the damaged vein valves. Foods you can add to your diet for dietary fiber include wheat, oat, nuts, whole-grain foods, peas, beans, and flaxseed.
To avoid water retention and aggravating swelling, you also want to eat potassium-rich foods like almonds, salmon, yogurt, chicken, tuna, dates, and lentils. Foods rich in potassium increase your blood volume in your body, increasing pressure in the vein valves. You also need to cut down on salty foods because sodium-rich foods cause water retention in your body.
Elevate your legs
Try to keep your legs ideally at the same height as your heart or above it to improve blood circulation. There is less pressure in the veins when your legs are slightly propped up, and gravity helps the blood flow back to the heart. Aim to keep your legs elevated if you will stand or sit for long periods as you work or rest. For instance, you can keep your legs raised as you sleep or prop them on a stool as you work.
If you have to sit for an extended period, take a break every 30 minutes and move around to keep the blood moving through the veins. You also want to avoid crossing your legs when you sit as it restricts blood flow to your legs and feet, causing circulation problems.
If your varicose veins don’t get better with home remedies, visit your South Shore Vein and Aesthetic Medicine provider for medical treatment.