Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin. Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and ankles , because standing and walking increase the pressure in the veins of your lower body.
For many people, varicose veins and spider veins (a mild variation of varicose veins) are simply a cosmetic concern. For others, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Varicose veins can lead to more-serious problems, acting as a signal to other circulatory problems. To help prevent problems, watch for signs and use self-care to treat early.
Varicose veins usually don’t begin by causing much pain.
The early signs and symptoms of Varicose Veins include:
Veins that are dark purple or blue
Veins that appear twisted and bulging
Painful signs and symptoms include:
An aching, or heavy feeling in your legs
Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping
Swelling in your feet and ankles
Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
Itching around area
Serious Symptoms include:
Skin ulcers near your ankle
Changes in coloring
Dry, thin skin
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they’re smaller. Spider veins are found closer to the skin’s surface and are often red or blue, generally occurring on the legs, but they can also be found on the face. Spider veins vary in size and often look like a spider’s web.
Self-care for Varicose Veins:
Avoid long periods of sitting or standing
Prop up your legs when possible
Wear compression socks
Drink 8 glasses of water a day
Essential oils for Varicose Veins:
Massage gently over affected area several times daily. Be sure to apply just before bed, as blood flow will slow as you sleep. Always make upwards movements towards the direction of the heart as this is the direction the blood travels. By doing this it helps relieve unnecessary pressure on the veins and their valves.
Risk factors of varicose veins can include:
Age: As you get older, your veins lose elasticity, causing them to stretch. The valves in your veins may become weak, allowing blood that flows toward your heart to slow or stall. Blood pools in your veins, and your veins enlarge and become varicose. The veins appear blue because they contain deoxygenated blood, which is in the process of being recirculated through the lungs.
Pregnancy: Pregnant women may develop varicose veins. Pregnancy increases the volume of blood in your body, and at the same time decreases the flow of blood from your legs to your pelvis. This circulatory change is designed to support the growing fetus, but can produce the side effect of enlarged veins in your legs. Varicose veins may surface for the first time or may worsen during late pregnancy, Changes in your hormones during pregnancy also may play a role. Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy generally improve without medical treatment within a few months after delivery.
Gender: Women are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, premenstruation or menopause may factor into this statistic. Taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills increase your risk of varicose veins.
Family history: If there is a family history of varicose veins, you have an increased risk.
Obesity: Extra weight puts added pressure on the veins in your legs.
Standing or sitting for long periods of time: Your blood may not flow well if you’re in the same position for long periods of time.
If you are concerned about how your veins look and feel, and self-care measures (including essential oils) haven’t stopped your condition from getting worse, see your healthcare provider.