If you have varicose veins, or spider veins, you may be wondering how to get rid of them or prevent new ones from forming. Varicose veins are enlarged blood vessels caused by the weakening of the vein walls. The valve that prevents blood from flowing backwards can weaken and allow blood to pool, which enlarges the vein. Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins, but they are closer to the skin. These problems are more common as you age, or if you are overweight. Hormonal change, skin complexion, and sun exposure can also affect the likelihood of varicose and spider veins.
For most people, varicose and spider veins are a cosmetic issues, but for some it can cause swelling and pain in their legs. Dr. Andrew Weil has recommended different treatments for varicose and spider veins that might help you. Here are some of his suggestions to reduce your risk:
Exercise regularly to improve strength and circulation in your legs.
Lose excess weight.
Don’t cross your legs while sitting.
Elevate your legs if you are sitting for long periods of time.
Wear elastic support stockings.
Eat a low salt, high fiber diet.
If you already suffer from varicose and spider veins, there are ways to treat it. The least invasive way to treat them is horse chestnut oil, which can strengthen veins and reduce swelling. You can also use an antioxidant called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), extracted from grape seeds or pine bark, which can help support blood vessels.
If these options do not work, the most common treatment is sclerotherapy, which is a saline solution injected into the vein causing it to seal shut. Laser light can also be used to collapse and seal the vein. Both procedures only require a local anesthesia, however very large veins may require surgical removal.
For more information about Dr. Andrew Weil and varicose veins, visit his website.