Q&A: What can I do to get rid of varicose veins? – D. H.
A: Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that you can see just under the surface of the skin. They usually appear in the legs, but they also can form in other parts of the body.
Your doctor may recommend medical treatments like laser surgery if you are experiencing severe symptoms with your varicose veins, but usually the first treatment suggested is lifestyle changes. These may include:
1. Acupuncture helps reduce the size and pain of varicose veins but rarely makes them go away altogether. Acupuncturists target acupuncture points on the spleen and stomach meridians to strengthen deficient energy flow and then focus on local points near the veins.
2. Herbs. Some have seen success using an herb called butcher’s broom, or 500 to 600 mg per day of horse chestnut, or 50 to 350 mg per day of Pycnogenol, a plant extract made from maritime pine bark. You can also use these herbs topically in creams, or try a witch hazel tea compress.
3. Try wearing support hose, which require a prescription to be fitted to your legs. Hose help collapse superficial surface veins and relieve symptoms and are best worn if you’ll be standing for a long time or traveling by air or for more than three or four hours in a car.
Here are a few things you can also do on a daily basis:
- Avoid standing or sitting for long periods without taking a break.
- When sitting, avoid crossing your legs.
- Keep your legs raised when sitting, resting, or sleeping. When you can, raise your legs above the level of your heart.
- Do physical activities to get your legs moving and improve muscle tone. This helps blood move through your veins.
- If you’re overweight or obese, try to lose weight. This will improve blood flow and ease the pressure on your veins.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes, especially those that are tight around your waist, groin (upper thighs), and legs. Tight clothes can make…