BLOOD CIRCULATION & VEIN FUNCTION
When blood pulses through the arteries, powered by the beating of the heart, to provide nutrients and oxygen to the body tissues, it returns to the heart by means of the veins. Like the arteries, the veins are tube-shaped vessels in graduated sizes, but unlike the arteries, the veins have tiny leaflet valves on their inner walls to prevent the blood from flowing backward, toward the arteries.
Veins are blood vessels that return blood from all the organs in the body toward the heart. When the different organs use oxygen from the blood to perform their functions, they release the used blood containing waste products (such as carbon dioxide) into the veins. Blood in the veins is then transported to the heart and returned to the lungs, where the waste carbon dioxide is released and more oxygen is loaded by the blood and taken back to the rest of the body by the arteries.
Veins also act as a storage for unused blood. When the body is at rest, only a portion of the available blood in the body circulates. The rest of the blood remains inactive in the veins and enters the active circulation when the body becomes more active and needs the additional blood to carry oxygen to entire body. This storing capacity is due to the elasticity (flexibility to expand) of the walls of the veins.
Veins have different sizes depending their location and their function. The largest veins are in the center of the body; these collect the blood from all the other smaller veins and channel it into the heart. The branches of these large veins get smaller and smaller as they move away from the center of the body. The veins closer to the skin surface are called superficial veins. The veins that are deeper and closer to the center of the body are called deep veins. There are also other veins that connect the superficial veins to the deep ones which are called the perforating veins.
VEINS & LEAFLET VALVES
Veins in the legs are either superficial or deep. The superficial veins and their branches are close to the skin. These veins typically become varicosed. Also included in this category are the communicator or perforator veins, which connect the superficial veins with the deep veins. The deep veins are encased by muscle and connective tissue, which help to pump the blood in the veins and back to the heart. The veins have one-way valves to prevent them from developing varicosities. Generally, blood travels from the superficial veins to the deep veins. From there, the blood travels through a network of larger veins back to the heart.
Normally, one-way valves in the veins keep blood flowing toward the heart, against the force of gravity. Varicose veins are the result of malfunctioning valves inside the veins and venous insufficiency, a very common condition resulting from decreased blood flow from the leg veins up to the heart, with pooling of blood in the veins.
When veins become enlarged, the leaflets of the valves no longer meet properly, and the valves do not work. If the valves do not work properly, circulation is impaired and blood accumulates in the veins, stretching them and they allow blood to flow backward, a condition called reflux. Varicose veins are common in the superficial veins of the legs, which are subject to high pressure when standing. A common cause of varicose veins in the legs is reflux in a thigh vein called the great saphenous, which leads to pooling in the visible varicose vein below. A cause of valve failure is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can cause permanent damage to the valves. The blood collects in the veins and they enlarge even more.
Varicose veins are abnormally bulging, gnarled and lumpy-looking veins that have become enlarged and twisted. They are often dark bluish or purple in color, although they can be flesh colored. They often look like cords and appear twisted and bulging. The thickened, twisting or dilated parts of the vein are called varicosities. They are swollen and raised above the surface of the skin.
Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in the thighs, legs and feet. This is because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of the lower body. Hemorrhoids are a type of varicose vein. Spider veins are like varicose veins, but they are smaller. Varicose veins are commonly found on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the leg. During pregnancy, varicose veins called hemorrhoids can form in the vagina or around the anus.
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are smaller. They are often red or blue and are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. They can look like tree branches or spider webs with their short jagged lines. Spider veins can be found on the legs and face. They can cover either a very small or very large area of skin.
For many people, varicose veins and spider veins (a common, mild variation of varicose veins) are simply a cosmetic concern. However, for others, varicose veins are often associated with swelling, heaviness in the legs, dull, nagging aches and pains, especially when standing or walking and can be a source of discomfort. They often itch, and scratching them can cause ulcers.
PREVALENCE OF VARICOSE VEINS
Chronic venous disease of the legs is one of the most common conditions affecting people of all races. Varicose veins are more common in women than men. Approximately half of the U.S. population has venous disease with about 50 to 55 percent of women and 40 to 45 percent of men suffering from some form of vein problem. Of these, 20 to 36 percent of the women and 10 to 19 percent of men will have visible varicose veins. Varicose veins tend to be inherited and become more prominent as the person ages. Varicose veins affect 1 out of 2 people age 50 and older.
Serious complications are rare. However, sometimes varicose veins lead to more-serious problems. Varicose veins may also signal a higher risk of other circulatory problems. Treatment may involve self-care measures or procedures by your health care provider to close or remove veins.
PREVALENCE OF SPIDER VEINS
The American College of Phlebology (ACP), a group of dermatologists, plastic surgeons, gynecologists, and general surgeons with special training in the treatment of venous disorders, comments that more than 80 million people in the United States suffer from spider veins or varicose veins. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) estimates that 50 percent of women over 21 in the United States have spider veins.
Spider veins are most noticeable and common in Caucasians. Hispanics are less likely than Caucasians but more likely than either African or Asian Americans to develop spider veins.
Women are more likely to develop spider veins than men, but the incidence among both sexes increases with age. The results of a recent survey of middle-aged and elderly people in San Diego, California, show that 80 percent of the women and 50 percent of the men had spider veins. Men are less likely to seek treatment for spider veins for cosmetic reasons, however, because the discoloration caused by spider veins is often covered by leg hair. On the other hand, men who are bothered by aching, burning sensations or leg cramps, can benefit from sclerotherapy.
According to the ASPS, there were 616,879 sclerotherapy procedures performed in the United States in 2001; 97 percent were performed on women and 3 percent were done on men. Most people who are treated with sclerotherapy are between the ages of 30 and 60.
TYPES OF VARICOSE VEINS
Varicose veins are distinguished from reticular veins (blue veins) and telangiectasias (spider veins), which also involve valvular insufficiency, by the size and location of the veins.
Varicose veins are ropy appearing blue vessels under the skin, usually 1/4 inch or larger in diameter. Large varicose veins can be visible, bulging, palpable (can be felt by touching), long, and dilated (greater than 4 millimeters in diameter). They are most often branches from the saphenous trunk veins, and have enlarged due to the excess pressure in the saphenous system. Varicose veins are unsightly and often painful. A clotted varicose vein causes the classic phlebitis, hot and red and painful skin at the site of the clot. Beside the visible symptoms, physical symptoms are tiredness, restless legs at night, heaviness in the leg, pain, aching, itching, throbbing and swelling, burning or a cramping sensation.
Spider veins are a smaller version of varicose veins. Medically known as telangiectases, they are dilated capillary veins less than 2 millimeters in diameter. They occur in the capillaries, which are the smallest blood vessels in the body. Spider veins are commonly found on the legs and face, and they usually resemble fine lines, starburst clusters, a spider web-like maze or tree branch in shape. They are small blue or red appearing blood vessels that lie close to the surface of the skin. They typically are not palpable. They are usually visible on the legs (thighs, ankles, and feet) but sometimes are visible on the face around the nose and lips and are commonly referred to as "broken veins." While they can ache, burn or itch now and then, but they are usually not symptomatic. Spider veins are not harmful and are simply unsightly. Spider veins are usually not a medical concern.
Telangiectasias (red spots) are small clusters of dilated blood vessels near the surface of the skin or mucous membranes that look similar to spider veins. They measure between 0.5 and 1 millimeter in diameter and are red, purple or blue in color. They are commonly found on the upper body, including the face around the nose, cheeks and chin, and can be found on the upper chest, neck and on other parts of the body. They can also develop on the legs, specifically on the upper thigh, below the knee joint and around the ankles. Some telangiectasia are due to developmental abnormalities that can closely mimic the behavior of benign vascular neoplasms. They may be composed of abnormal aggregations of arterioles, capillaries, or venules. Because telangiectasias are vascular lesions, they blanch when tested with diascopy. The causes of telangiectasia can be divided into congenital and acquired factors. They can develop during pregnancy and in people who have certain genetic disorders, viral infections, and other medical conditions (such as liver disease). Newly developed telangiectasias are often a reason to see a health care provider.
Venous lakes are another type of varicose veins in which blood collects in the veins of the face and neck.
Reticular veins are flat blue veins commonly seen behind the knees. These veins are larger than spider veins but smaller than varicose veins. These are considered a cosmetic problem.
Hemorrhoids are varicose veins in blood vessels in and around the anus.
Varicoceles are varicose veins in the scrotum (the skin over the testicles). Varicoceles are a relatively common condition affecting approximately 10 percent of men. They tend to occur in young men, usually around the second or third decade of life. Sometimes, these varicoceles cause no symptoms and are harmless. However, sometimes a varicocele causes pain or atrophy (shrinkage). Varicoceles may be linked to male infertility and should be checked by a health care provider.
Normally, blood flows to the testicles through an artery, and flows out via a network of tiny veins that drain into a long vein that goes up through the abdomen. The direction of blood flow in this vein should always be up, toward the heart. A series of one-way valves in the vein prevent the reverse flow of blood back to the testicles. When these one-way valves fail, the reverse flow of blood stretches and enlarges the tiny veins around the testicle to cause a varicocele, a tangled network of blood vessels, or varicose veins.
SYMPTOMS OF THROMBOPHLEBITIS
The force of gravity, the pressure of body weight, and the task of carrying blood from the bottom of the body up to the heart make legs the primary location for varicose and spider veins. Compared with other veins in the body, leg veins have the toughest job of carrying blood back to the heart. They endure the most pressure. This pressure can be stronger than the veins' one-way valves.
Many people with varicose veins do not have any physical symptoms. They may, however, have concerns over the cosmetic appearance of the varicose veins.
VARICOSE VEIN APPEARANCE
Varicose veins usually do not cause any pain. Signs you may have varicose veins include:
- Veins that are dark purple or blue in color.
- A brownish-blue shiny skin discoloration near the affected veins. Darkening of the skin in severe cases.
- Veins that appear twisted and bulging; often like cords on your legs.
- Varicose veins may also form in other places on your legs, from your groin to your ankle.
- Appearance of spider veins (telangiectasia) in the affected leg.
VARICOSE VEIN DISCOMFORT
When painful signs and symptoms occur, they can worsen as the day progresses. They may include:
- Fatigue or easily tired legs.
- An aching, pressure sensation, or heavy feeling in your legs, often worse at night and after exercise.
- Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs and/or ankles.
- Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time.
- Itching, redness, and dryness of skin area or irritated rash around one or more of your veins. This is termed stasis dermatitis or venous eczema, because of waste products building up in the leg.
- Minor injuries to the area may bleed more than normal and/or take a long time to heal.
- Skin ulcers near your ankle, ulceration of the skin overlying the veins, or thrombophlebitis (formation of a blood clot within the varicose vein) can mean you have a severe form of vascular disease that requires medical attention promptly. One percent of adults over age 60 have chronic ulcerative wounds.
OTHER SYMPTOMS & SYMPTOMS RELATED INFORMATION
Numbness in the legs.
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are smaller. Spider veins are found closer to the skin's surface and are often red or blue. They occur on the legs, but can also be found on the face. Spider veins vary in size and often look like a spider's web.
People without visible varicose veins can still have symptoms. The symptoms can arise from spider veins as well as from varicose veins, because, in both cases, the symptoms are caused by pressure on nerves by dilated veins.
In some people the skin above the ankle may shrink (lipodermatosclerosis) because the fat underneath the skin becomes hard.
Restless legs syndrome appears to be a common overlapping clinical syndrome in patients with varicose veins and other chronic venous insufficiency.
Whitened irregular "scar-like" patches can appear, especially at the ankles, "atrophie blanche".
Many people find they need to sit down in the afternoon and elevate their legs to relieve these symptoms of discomfort. In more severe cases, venous insufficiency and reflux can cause skin discoloration and ulceration which may be very difficult to treat.
Varicose veins can be more prominent or first appear during menstruation or pregnancy, and they may be more bothersome during these times.
Varicose veins are prone to developing superficial thrombophlebitis, which is a blood clot along with inflammation of a segment of vein. Blood clots in the superficial veins are easy to detect and troublesome but are usually harmless. This condition is not to be confused with a deep vein thrombophlebitis (DVT), which is a blood clot in a deep vein. Deep vein thrombophlebitis is more serious because of the clot's potential to travel toward the heart and lodge in the lung. This condition requires emergent admission to the hospital for treatment with blood thinning medications.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Thrombophlebitis
A normal vein with working valves and normal blood flow.
A varicose vein with deformed valves, abnormal blood flow, and thin, dilated (stretched) walls.
CAUSES OF THROMBOPHLEBITIS
Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues. Veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity. Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward.
The squeezing of leg muscles pumps blood back to the heart from the lower body. Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps. These valves prevent the blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs. If the one-way valves become weak, blood can leak back into the vein and collect there. This problem is called venous insufficiency. Pooled blood enlarges the vein and it becomes varicose. Spider veins can also be caused by the backup of blood. Varicose veins are bulging veins that are larger than spider veins, typically 3 mm or more in diameter.
CAUSE OF VARICOSE VEINS
The causes of varicose and spider veins are not entirely understood. Valves prevent backward flow of blood within the vein. They keep blood in the vein moving toward the heart. Why the valves stop working is up for debate. Many theories exist for why varicosities occur in veins, but the consensus is that defective/damaged valves within the veins are to blame.
In some instances, the absence or weakness of valves in the veins may cause the poor venous circulation (blood flow in the veins and pooling of blood in the veins) and lead to varicose veins. Valves inside veins normally act to ensure that blood in the veins does not go the wrong direction (or backwards) away from the large (deep) veins and the heart. They are mainly located in the perforating and some deep veins. When the muscles surrounding the deep veins contract, emptying the deeper veins, a build-up of pressure occurs. This causes even more blood to go the wrong way from the deep to the superficial veins through faulty valves in the perforator veins. This increases pressure in the superficial veins and causes varicosities.
In other cases, weaknesses in the vein walls may cause the pooling of the blood. The walls of the blood vessels can become weaker and less competent than normal, causing the volume of blood in the veins to increase, leading to varicose veins. When the walls of the veins are weak, they lose their normal elasticity, like an overstretched rubber band. This makes them longer and wider and causes the flaps of the valves to separate. Blood is then able to flow backward through the valves, filling the vein and stretching it even more. The vein becomes enlarged, swollen, and often twisted trying to squeeze into its normal space.
FACTORS THAT CAN AGGRAVATE THE SITUATION
- POOR CIRCULATION: Because poor circulation contributes to the formation of varicose veins, they are more common in people who sit or stand in one position for prolonged periods of time, people who habitually sit with their legs crossed, and those who lack proper regular exercise.
- AGE: Generally, most elderly individuals show some degree of varicose vein occurrence. It is estimated that approximately 50 percent of all middle-aged Americans have at least some varicosities. As you get older, your veins can lose elasticity causing them to stretch. The valves in your veins may become weak, allowing blood that should be moving toward your heart to flow backward. 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: Some pregnant women develop varicose veins. Pregnancy increases the volume of blood in a woman's body, but decreases the flow of blood from her legs to her pelvis. This circulatory change is designed to support the growing fetus, but it can produce an unfortunate side effect - enlarged veins in her legs (and sometimes in the groin area). Varicose veins may surface for the first time or may worsen during late pregnancy, when the uterus exerts greater pressure on the veins in the legs. Changes in a woman's hormones (estrogen and progesterone) and their effect on the vein walls during pregnancy also may play a role in contributing to development of varicose veins. Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy generally improve without medical treatment within three months after delivery.
- SEX: Varicose veins are more common in women than in men.
- HEREDITY: A tendency toward varicose veins may also run in families. Varicose veins are often linked with heredity (family history). Some experts think inherited problems cause some people to have too few valves or valves that do not function properly. Some people may be born with abnormalities of the vein wall. The resulting weakness may predispose the valves to separate and become leaky.
- OBESITY: Excess weight, obesity or distended belly may increase pressure inside veins and increased pressure on the legs, increasing the likelihood of developing varicose veins.
- MENOPAUSE: Like pregnancy, hormonal changes occur effecting the vein walls and aging contributes to varicose veins in older women.
- PROLONGED STANDING: Prolonged standing or sitting contributes to the formation of varicose veins by increasing the pressure from pooled blood in the legs.
- LEG INJURY: Prior surgery or trauma to the leg: These conditions interrupt the normal blood flow channels.
- ABDOMINAL STRAINING: Chronic constipation, urinary retention from an enlarged prostate, chronic cough, or any other conditions that cause you to strain for prolonged periods of time causes an increase in the forces transmitted to the leg veins and may result in varicose veins. These mechanisms also contribute to the formation of hemorrhoids, which are varicosities located in the rectal and anal area.
- POST-PHLEBITIC OBSTRUCTION / INCOMPETENCE: Less commonly, varicose veins are caused by such diseases as phlebitis (inflammation of the veins), blood clots or any obstruction to blood flow in the veins. Venous disease (disease of the veins) is generally progressive and may not be prevented entirely.
- VENOUS / ARTERIOVENOUS MALFORMATIONS: Malformations and scarring from injury, surgery, or congenital abnormalities of the veins.
- EXISTING HEALTH CONDITIONS: Heart failure, liver disease, and abdominal tumors can also play a role in the formation of varicose veins.
- NUTRITION DEFICIENCY: A deficiency of vitamin C and bioflavonoids (mainly rutin) can weaken the collagen structure in the vein walls, which can lead to varicose veins.
- HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY: Some experts believe that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and birth control pills (or other forms of hormonal-based contraceptions) can contribute to the formation of varicose veins.
- SUN EXPOSURE: Exposure to the sun can cause spider veins.
VARICOSE VEINS RISK FACTORS
Risk factors are closely related to causes. Many factors increase a person's chances of developing varicose or spider veins. These factors increase your risk of developing varicose veins include:
- INCREASING AGE: Varicose veins occur most often in people ages 30 to 70, with your risk increasing as you age. Varicose and spider veins can occur in men or women of any age, but most frequently affect women in the childbearing years and older people. Varicose veins are very common. Some estimates suggest that about 10-15 percent of men and 20-25 percent of women suffer from varicose veins. Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in your veins that help regulate blood flow. Eventually, that wear causes the valves to allow blood to flow back into your veins where it collects instead of flowing up to your heart.
- YOUR SEX: Women in any age group are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, pre-menstruation or menopause may be a factor. Female hormones tend to relax vein walls. Taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills containing estrogen and progesterone may increase your risk of varicose veins or spider veins.
- PREGNANCY: During pregnancy there is a huge increase in the amount of blood (blood volume) in the body, which increases blood pressure in the venous system. This can cause veins to enlarge. The expanding uterus also puts pressure on the veins. In addition, hormonal changes of pregnancy cause the walls and valves in the veins to soften. Varicose veins usually improve within 3 months after delivery. Pregnancy, especially multiple pregnancies, is one of the most common factors accelerating the worsening of varicose veins. A growing number of abnormal veins usually appear with each additional pregnancy.
- GENETICS: Having family members with vein problems or were born with abnormally weak vein valves or if other family members had varicose or spider veins, there is an increased tendency you will too. Spider veins may develop even without a rise in blood pressure in the superficial veins.
- OBESITY: Being overweight or weight gain puts added pressure on your veins.
- CIRCULATION PROBLEMS: Standing for long periods of time, leg injury, heart conditions, and other circulatory problems can weaken vein valves. If you do a lot of standing or sitting, your blood does not flow as well if you are in the same position for long periods.
- SUN EXPOSURE: Sun exposure can cause spider veins on the cheeks or nose of a fair-skinned person.
- LACK OF EXERCISE: A sedentary lifestyle without regular proper exercise increases the risk of developing varicose veins.
- HORMONE MEDICATIONS: Using birth control pills or other hormone therapy used for menstrual problems, hormone imbalances, or menopausal problems such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases the risk of developing varicosities.
- OCCUPATIONAL FACTORS: People whose jobs require standing or sitting for long periods of time without the opportunity to walk or move around are more likely to develop spider veins than people whose jobs allow more movement.
Only a small percentage of people have complications associated with varicose veins. Most varicose veins are relatively benign, but severe varicosities can lead to major complications, due to the poor circulation through the affected limb. Spider veins usually do not need medical treatment. But varicose veins usually enlarge and worsen over time. Severe varicose veins can cause health problems. Complications of varicose veins, although rare, can include:
- DERMATITIS: Dermatitis is an itchy rash or irritation that can occur on the lower leg or ankle of a person with varicose veins in the legs. Swelling and pain often occurs with venous dermatitis and it can sometimes cause bleeding or a skin ulcer to develop if scratched or irritated or could predispose skin loss.
- ULCERS: Extremely painful ulcers (skin sores) may form on the skin near or around varicose veins, particularly near the ankles. These are known as venous ulcers. Ulcers are caused by long-term fluid buildup in these tissues, caused by increased pressure of blood within affected veins. A brown colored spot on the skin usually begins before an ulcer forms. Secondary infection (infection that occurs after the ulcers have formed) can cause severe health problems and need to be treated. See your health care provider immediately if you suspect you have developed an ulcer.
- THROMBOPHLEBITIS: This is a blood clot (thrombus) that occurs in a vein. Occasionally, veins deep within the legs become enlarged. In such cases, the affected leg may swell considerably. Any sudden leg swelling warrants urgent medical attention because it may indicate a blood clot. Blood clots are frequently isolated to the superficial veins, but can extend into deep veins becoming a more serious problem requiring immediate medical care and therapy. There are two types of thrombophlebitis:
- Superficial thrombophlebitis is a blood clot that occurs in a superficial vein and usually causes only minor problems that are limited to the area of the affected vein. Clots in varicose veins are usually of this type. Infections, chemical irritation, or other conditions that cause irritation and inflammation of the veins also can lead to superficial thrombophlebitis.
- Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that develops in veins deeper in the body. It can be life threatening if the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, which is called pulmonary embolism. This type of thrombophlebitis does not occur in varicose veins.
- SEVERE VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY: This severe pooling of blood in the veins slows the return of blood to the heart. This condition can cause blood clots and severe infections. Blood clots can be very dangerous because they can move from leg veins and travel to the lungs. Blood clots in the lungs are life-threatening because they can block the heart and lungs from functioning.
- MALIGNANCY: Development of carcinoma or sarcoma in longstanding venous ulcers. There have been over 100 reported cases of malignant transformation and the rate is reported as 0.4 to 1 percent.
- MOBILITY PROBLEMS: Pain, heaviness, inability to walk or stand for long hours thus hindering work and daily activities.
- BLEEDING: Severe bleeding from minor trauma, of particular concern in the elderly.
- ACUTE FAT NECROSIS: Acute fat necrosis can occur, especially at the ankle of overweight patients with varicose veins. Females are more frequently affected than males.
PREVENTING VARICOSE & SPIDER VEINS
There is no way to completely prevent varicose veins and spider veins. You cannot change your genes and if you are genetically destined to develop varicose veins, they may appear despite all your best efforts. But improving your circulation and muscle tone can reduce your risk of developing varicose veins or getting additional ones. The same measures you can take to treat and ease the discomfort from varicose veins at home can help prevent or slow down the progression of varicose veins, including:
- Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength, circulation, and vein strength. Focus on exercises that work your legs, such as walking or running.
- Watching your weight and weight control is important and beneficial to avoid placing too much pressure on your legs.
- Do not stand or sit for prolonged periods of time. Do not cross your legs while sitting. If you must stand for a long time, shift your weight from one leg to the other every few minutes. Change your sitting or standing position regularly. If you must sit for long periods of time, stand up, stretch your legs and move around or take a short walk every 30 minutes to decrease your risk of developing thrombophlebitis.
- Watch your nutrition (see more about nutrition further down on this page). Eat a diet rich in high-fiber and low in salt. Eating fiber reduces the chances of constipation which can contribute to varicose veins. High fiber foods include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, like bran. Eating too much salt can cause you to retain water or swell. Make sure your diet is rich with vitamins and minerals and sufficient proteins, especially vitamin C with bioflavonoids, including rutin.
- Avoid high heel shoes and tight hosiery. Wear elastic support stockings and avoid tight clothing that constricts your waist, groin, or legs. Stick to loose comfortable clothing and sensible shoes.
- Elastic support vascular stockings, such as T.E.D. hose (anti-embolism stockings) are the best non-surgical treatment of varicose veins. They prevent skin breakdown and worsening of the varicosities. Most people have decreased swelling in their feet and less tiredness at the end of the day when using T.E.D. stockings.
- Elevate your legs when resting as much as possible.
- Wear Sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun and to limit spider veins on the face.
PREVENTING BLOOD CLOTS - PREVENTION TIPS
Blood clots can occur for a number of reasons. One concern many people have is that blood clots can be caused by sitting for hours at a time, as when you are traveling by car or airplane. While sitting for long periods can promote a blood clot that can lead to thrombophlebitis, this occurs relatively rarely.
To prevent thrombophlebitis, quit smoking if you are a smoker because smoking increases your risk of a blood clot.
Sitting during a long flight or car ride can cause swollen ankles and calves. The inactivity also increases your risk of thrombophlebitis in the veins of your legs. To help prevent a blood clot from forming:
- Take a walk. If you are flying, walk around the airplane cabin once an hour or so. If you are driving, stop every hour and walk around.
- If you must stay seated, move your legs regularly. Flex your ankles, or carefully press your feet against the floor or foot rest in front of you at least 10 times each hour.
On flights or car rides lasting more than four hours, take additional precautions to reduce your risk of deep vein thrombosis:
- Avoid wearing tight clothing around your waist.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Stretch your calves by walking at least once an hour.
If you are at increased risk of deep vein thrombosis, talk to your health care provider before your flight. He or she may recommend:
- Compression stockings.
- A mild blood-thinning medication given before departure. Aspirin therapy is generally not recommended and could thin your blood too much if you are also taking warfarin (Coumadin). However, if you are taking aspirin for other reasons, you should continue taking it.
If you are hooked up to intravenous lines (IV) either at home or at the hospital, routine changing of IV lines helps to prevent phlebitis related to IV lines.
Remember these important questions when deciding whether to see your health care provider:
- Has the varicose vein become swollen, red, or very tender or warm to the touch? If yes, see your health care provider.
- If no, are there sores or a rash on the leg or near the ankle with the varicose vein, or do you think there may be circulation problems in your feet? If yes, see your health care provider. If no, continue to follow the self-care tips further down on this page.
BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT
Before your health care provider appointment, you can begin some self-care measures.
- Try not to stand or sit in one position for more than 30 minutes, elevate your legs when you are seated, and avoid uncomfortable footwear and tight socks or hosiery.
- You can use a warm washcloth as a compress on the affected area, and elevate your leg to help with any discomfort.
- If you decide to take any pain-relieving medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), be sure to tell your health care provider. These medications can interact with other blood clot-dissolving medications your health care provider prescribes.
PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT
There are no special preparations you will need to make before your appointment. Your health care provider will need to look at your bare legs and feet to diagnose varicose veins and figure out what treatment might be best for your condition. Your primary care practitioner may recommend that you see a health care provider who specializes in vein conditions (phlebologist) or a practitioner who treats skin conditions (dermatologist or dermatology surgeon). In the meantime, there are some steps you can take to prepare for your appointment and begin your self-care.
Write down any symptoms you are experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to varicose veins.
Write down key personal information, including a family history of varicose veins or spider veins.
Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins and other dietary or herbal supplements, that you are taking.
Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
Write down questions to ask your health care provider. Your time with your health care provider is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. Some basic questions to ask your health care provider include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- How are varicose veins evaluated (diagnosed)?
- What kinds of tests will I need?
- What is the best course of action and treatment options for treating varicose veins?
- How helpful are anti-embolism/medical support stockings in preventing or treating varicose veins?
- How long do these stockings need to be worn?
- How long does one have to wear stockings?
- What medications, if any, are available to treat varicose veins?
- What precautions should one take during pregnancy?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you are suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- What will that cost, and will my insurance cover seeing a specialist? (You may need to ask your insurance provider directly for information about coverage.)
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me?
- What Web sites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you have prepared to ask your health care provider, do not hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you do not understand something.
QUESTIONS YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER MAY ASK YOU
Your health care provider is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your health care provider may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous, or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
Evaluation of varicose veins includes a thorough general physical examination by your health care provider. This will include asking about family history of varicose veins, duration, presence of any symptoms, and any worsening or expansion of the varicose veins. The individual's height, weight, and other medical conditions need to be noted as well.
In addition, general inspection and palpation (feeling the veins) as well evaluation for any bleeding or ulcers are typically performed.
Standing up for about 5 to 10 minutes can make the veins more visible, and this may further aid the health care provider in assessing the extent of the varicose veins.
Ultrasound of the veins can assist in evaluating the varicose veins. Ultrasound can help in delineating the anatomy of the veins involved. Doppler ultrasound (a device which can detect and measure blood flow) may also provide additional information such as the competency of and flow through the valves in the perforating and the deeper veins. This information is especially useful if surgery or other procedures are being considered.
DIAGNOSTIC TESTS & PROCEDURES
Making the diagnosis of varicose veins is a relatively easy task. They are easy to identify just by their characteristic appearance on physical examination. Your health care provider most likely will take a thorough medical history and examination looking not only for the extent of your varicose veins, but also for potential risk factors.
To diagnose varicose veins, your health care provider will do a physical exam, including looking at your legs while you are standing to check for swelling or seated with your legs dangling. Your health care provider may also ask you to describe any pain and aching in your legs or any other symptoms.
Your health care provider may do any of several simple tourniquet tests to identify points of reverse blood flow. The simplest test uses only a blood pressure cuff.
Another useful device aiding in localizing the extent of the problem is a Doppler ultrasound. This handheld device is skimmed back and forth over the surface of the leg (or other affected area) to map out the veins and faulty valves and to evaluate the flow of blood in your veins. This device is similar to those used in pregnancy to identify the developing fetus.
The doppler ultrasound test is used to see if the valves in your veins are functioning normally or if there is any evidence of a blood clot. In this non-invasive test, you lie on an examination table. A small amount of warm gel is applied to your skin. The gel helps eliminate the formation of air pockets between the transducer and your body. During an ultrasound, a technician trained in ultrasound imaging (sonographer) presses a small hand-held device (transducer), about the size of a bar of soap, against your skin over the area of your body being examined, moving from one area to another as necessary. A computer converts sound waves into a picture of the blood flow in the arteries and veins. The transducer transmits images of the veins in your legs to a monitor, so a technician and your health care provider can see them.
Duplex scanning, a similar but more detailed test, can also be done to rule out the presence of clots in the deeper veins. An interventional radiologist, a practitioner specially trained in performing minimally invasive treatments using imaging guidance, will use duplex ultrasound to assess the venous anatomy, vein valve function, and venous blood flow changes, which can assist in diagnosing venous insufficiency. The practitioner will map the great saphenous vein and examine the deep and superficial venous systems to determine if the veins are open and to pinpoint any reflux. This will help determine if the patient is a candidate for a minimally invasive treatment, known as vein ablation.
MAGNETIC RESONANCE VENOGRAPHY
Magnetic resonance venography is another test performed when the Duplex scan test is unclear. This test can even look for blood clots in the deep veins. ANGIOGRAM
Rarely, your health care provider may order an angiogram to look at blood flow through your blood vessels. The procedure involves injecting a dye into your veins that can be seen using x ray. An angiogram can help to rule out other diagnoses besides varicose veins.
TREATMENT OF VARICOSE VEINS
There is no cure for varicose veins. Treatment falls into two classes; relief of symptoms and removal of the affected veins. Symptom relief includes such measures as wearing support stockings, which compress the veins and hold them in place. This keeps the veins from stretching and limits pain. Other measures are sitting down, using a footstool when sitting, avoiding standing for long periods of time, and raising the legs whenever possible. These measures work by reducing the blood pressure in leg veins. Prolonged standing allows the blood to collect under high pressure in the varicose veins. Exercise such as walking, biking, and swimming, is beneficial. When the legs are active, the leg muscles help pump the blood in the veins. This limits the amount of blood that collects in the varicose veins and reduces some of the symptoms. These measures reduce symptoms, but do not stop the disease.
Fortunately, medical treatment usually does not mean a hospital stay or a long, uncomfortable recovery. Thanks to less invasive procedures, varicose veins can generally be treated on an outpatient basis.
There are many different treatments available for varicose veins. These treatments are offered based upon the size of the varicose veins, the presence of any symptoms, and the location of the veins. Briefly, treatments include:
- Compression stockings.
- Leg elevation while sitting or sleeping
- Sclerotherapy (injection of a liquid into the vein)
- Laser therapy.
- Surgery (removal of the varicose veins, or vein stripping).
In general, sclerotherapy and laser therapy are helpful in treating spider veins (telangiectasias), while sclerotherapy and surgery may be a better options for larger varicose veins.
Exercising, following a proper diet, losing weight, not wearing tight clothes, elevating your legs often provides temporary symptomatic relief, and avoiding long periods of standing or sitting can ease pain and prevent varicose veins from getting worse. Compression stockings also may help. See more self care information further down on this page.
Wearing compression stockings is often the first approach to try before moving on to other treatments. Compression stockings work simply by reducing the amount of blood and pressure in the veins. Compression stockings are worn all day. They steadily squeeze your legs, helping veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently. The amount of compression varies by type and brand. There are various types of stockings available, and some may apply more pressure than others.
Stockings come in a variety of strengths, styles and colors. With the variety offered, you are likely to find a stocking that you are comfortable wearing. You can buy compression stockings at most pharmacies and medical supply stores. Prices vary. Prescription-strength stockings also are available.
The wearing of graduated compression stockings with a pressure of 30-40 mmHg has been shown to correct the swelling, nutritional exchange, and improve the microcirculation in legs affected by varicose veins. They also often provide relief from the discomfort associated with this disease. Caution should be exercised in their use in patients with concurrent arterial disease.
When purchasing compression stockings, make sure that they fit properly. Using a tape measure, you or your pharmacist can measure your legs to ensure you get the right size and fit according to the size chart found on the stocking package. Compression stockings should be strong, but not necessarily tight. If you have weak hands or arthritis, getting these stockings on may be difficult. There are devices to make putting them on easier.
The main problem with compression stockings is that the blood will return to the veins soon after the stockings are taken off. They also may be uncomfortable for some people, and therefore, they may not worn for long enough to have any benefit. These stockings typically lose their pressure if washed a few times, so they may need to be replaced from time to time.
BECOME AN INFORMED CAUTIOUS CONSUMER
When it comes to treatment options for varicose veins, it pays to be a cautious health consumer. Advertisements claiming "unique," "permanent" or "painless" methods to remove varicose veins may be appealing, but they may not actually measure up to those claims. Before undergoing any procedure, ask your health care provider about any health risks and possible side effects. You may want to inquire about treatment costs, as well. Most insurance policies do not cover the expense of elective cosmetic surgery for varicose veins. However, in many cases, if you have signs or symptoms, such as swelling and bleeding, insurance may cover the treatment. Shop around and find a qualified practitioner experienced with the treatment of varicose veins. Not all practitioners are created equal. It never hurts to get a second or third opinion from other non-associated practitioners (health care providers not working in the same office or are affiliated with each other).
Current treatments for varicose veins and spider veins are effective. However, it is possible that varicose veins can recur. INTERVENTIONAL TREATMENT
Active medical intervention in varicose veins can be divided into surgical and non-surgical treatments. Some health care providers favor traditional open surgery, while others prefer the newer methods. Newer methods for treating varicose veins, such as endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), radiofrequency ablation, and foam sclerotherapy are not as well studied, especially in the longer term.
VARICOSE VEIN NON-SURGICAL TREATMENTS
Non-surgical treatments include sclerotherapy, elastic stockings, elevating the legs, and exercise. The traditional surgical treatment has been vein stripping to remove the affected veins. Newer, less invasive treatments, such as radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser treatment, are slowly replacing traditional surgical treatments. Because most of the blood in the legs is returned by the deep veins, the superficial veins, which return only about 10 per cent of the total blood of the legs, can usually be removed or ablated without serious harm.
VARICOSE VEIN SURGICAL TREATMENTS
Surgery is used to remove varicose veins from the body. It is recommended for varicose veins that are causing pain or are very unsightly, and when hemorrhaging or recurrent thrombosis appear. Surgical treatments consist of several techniques that have been performed for over a century, from the more invasive named "saphenous stripping" up to mini invasives like superficial phlectomies and CHIVA cure.
Varicose veins are frequently treated by eliminating the "bad" veins. This forces the blood to flow through the remaining healthy veins. In vein stripping surgery, the problematic veins are "stripped" out by passing a flexible device through the vein and removing it through an incision near the groin. Smaller tributaries of these veins also are stripped with this device or removed through a series of small incisions. Those veins that connect to the deeper veins are then tied off. This stripping method has been used since the 1950's.
Spider veins cannot be removed through surgery. Sometimes, they disappear when the larger varicose veins feeding the spider veins are removed. Remaining spider veins also can be treated with sclerotherapy.
For all of these procedures, the amount of pain an individual feels will vary, depending on the person's general tolerance for pain, how extensive the treatments are, which parts of the body are treated, whether complications arise, and other factors. Because surgery is performed under anesthesia, pain is not felt during the procedure. After the anesthesia wears off, there can be some pain at or near the incision(s).
If you do not respond to self-care, compression stockings, or if your condition is more severe, your health care provider may suggest one of these varicose vein treatments:
Injection therapy is an alternate therapy used to seal varicose veins and spider veins. Injection therapy is also called sclerotherapy and is a commonly performed non-surgical treatment. Sclerotherapy involves using a fine needle to inject medicinal solution directly into the small and medium-sized varicose veins to make them shrink, closing those veins. This solution irritates the lining of the vein, causing the vein to swell and the blood to clot. The vein turns into scar tissue that may eventually, within a few weeks, treated varicose veins should fade from view.
Today, the substances most commonly used in the United States for sclerotherapy are hypertonic saline and sodium tetradecyl sulfate (Sotradecol). Aethoxyskerol (Polidocanol) is undergoing FDA testing but has not yet been approved in the U.S. for sclerotherapy. Sclerosing agent or solution is the general term for the substances used for sclerotherapy.
Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy involves an interventional radiologist passing a thin tube called a catheter into the vein using ultrasound guidance and injecting substance that causes the veins to scar and close thus rerouting the blood to healthier veins. The affected vein forms a knot of scar tissue that is absorbed by the body over time.
In sclerotherapy, after the solution is injected, the vein's surrounding tissue is generally wrapped in compression bandages for several days, causing the vein walls to stick together. Patients whose legs have been treated are put on walking regimens, which forces the blood to flow into other veins and prevents the development of blood clots. In most cases, more than one treatment session will be required.
This procedure prevents blood from entering the sealed sections of the vein. The veins remain in the body, but no longer carry blood. Although the same vein may need to be injected more than once, sclerotherapy is effective if done correctly. This procedure can be performed on an out-patient basis and does not require anesthesia. This method and variations of it have been used since the 1920's. It has been used in the treatment of varicose veins for over 150 years.
Sclerotherapy is frequently used if people develop more varicose veins after surgery to remove the larger varicose veins and to seal spider-burst veins for people concerned about cosmetic appearance. Sclerotherapy is typically used for spider veins and varicose veins that are less than 6 millimeters in length. This is generally offered to patients who have tried compression stockings and leg elevation without much success.
At one time, a method of injection therapy was used that did not have a good success rate. Veins did not seal properly and blood clots formed. Modern injection therapy is improved and has a much higher success rate.
Sclerotherapy, which takes its name from a Greek word meaning "hardening," is a method of treating enlarged veins by injecting an irritating chemical called a sclerosing agent into the vein. The chemical causes the vein to become inflamed, which leads to the formation of fibrous tissue and closing of the lumen, or central channel of the vein.
Sclerotherapy in the legs is performed for several reasons. It is most often done to improve the appearance of the legs, and is accomplished by closing down spider veins-small veins in the legs that have dilated under increased venous blood pressure. A spider vein is one type of telangiectasia, which is the medical term for a reddish-colored lesion produced by the permanent enlargement of the capillaries and other small blood vessels. The word telangiectasia comes from three Greek words that mean "end," "blood vessel," and "stretch out." In a spider vein, also called a "sunburst varicosity" there is a central reddish area that is visible to the eye because it lies close to the surface of the skin; smaller veins spread outward from it in the shape of a spider's legs. Spider veins may also appear in two other common patterns-they may look like tiny tree branches or like extra-fine separate lines. Sclerotherapy is often used for telangiectasias (spider veins) and varicose veins that persist or recur after vein stripping. Sclerotherapy can also be performed using microfoam sclerosants under ultrasound guidance to treat larger varicose veins, including the great and short saphenous veins.
In addition to the cosmetic purposes sclerotherapy serves, it is also performed to treat the soreness, aching, muscle fatigue, and leg cramps that often accompany small- or middle-sized varicose veins in the legs. It is not, however, used by itself to treat large varicose veins.
For sclerotherapy, the degree of pain will also depend on the size of the needle used and which solution is injected. Most people find hypertonic saline to be the most painful solution and experience a burning and cramping sensation for several minutes when it is injected. Some health care providers mix a mild local anesthetic with the saline solution to minimize the pain.
Side effects of sclerotherapy include:
- Temporary stinging or painful cramps where the injection was made.
- Temporary red raised patches of skin where the injection was made.
- Temporary small skin sores where the injection was made.
- Temporary bruises where the injection was made.
- Spots around the treated vein that usually disappear.
- Brown lines around the treated vein that usually disappear.
- Groups of fine red blood vessels around the treated vein that usually disappear.
- The treated vein can also become inflamed or develop lumps of clotted blood. This is not dangerous. Applying heat and taking aspirin or antibiotics can relieve inflammation. Lumps of coagulated blood can be drained.
Complications of sclerotherapy are rare but can include blood clots and ulceration. Anaphylactic reactions are extraordinarily rare but can be life-threatening. Health care providers should have resuscitation equipment ready. There has been one reported case of stroke after ultrasound guided sclerotherapy when an unusually large dose of sclerosant foam was injected.
In about 10-30 percent of patients treated with sclerotherapy, dark discoloration of the injected area may occur (hyperpigmentation). This usually happens because of disintegration of the red blood cells in the treated blood vessel. In majority of cases, this discoloration will completely go away within 6 months.
Another problem may be the formation of new spider veins near the area that was treated with sclerotherapy. This can happen in about 20 percent of patients, but these new vessels also typically disappear within 6 months.
More rare complications may include the formation of an ulcer around the injection site and the formation of small blood clots in the small surface veins (superficial thrombophlebitis).
Sclerotherapy is generally safe for most people for treatment of varicose veins and spider veins. However, in certain groups of people, sclerotherapy needs to be avoided, including non-ambulatory people (those unable to walk). Other contraindications for sclerotherapy include obesity, blood clots in the deeper veins, allergy to the sclerosing agent, pregnancy, and arterial obstruction (blocked blood flow in the artery near the varicose vein).
A study by Kanter and Thibault in 1996 reported a 76 percent success rate at 24 months in treating saphenofemoral junction and great saphenous vein incompetence with STS 3 percent solution. A Cochrane Collaboration review concluded sclerotherapy was better than surgery in the short term (1 year) for its treatment success, complication rate and cost, but surgery was better after 5 years, although the research is weak. A Health Technology Assessment found that sclerotherapy provided less benefit than surgery, but is likely to provide a small benefit in varicose veins without reflux.
Because sclerotherapy is usually considered a cosmetic procedure, it is usually not covered by health insurance. People who are being treated for cramps and discomfort in their legs, however, should ask their insurance companies whether they are covered for sclerotherapy. In 2001, the average cost of the procedure was $227.
Sclerotherapy as a general treatment modality is also performed to treat hemorrhoids (swollen veins) in the esophagus.
MINIMALLY INVASIVE VEIN ABLATION TREATMENT
This minimally-invasive treatment is an outpatient procedure performed using imaging guidance. After applying local anesthetic to the vein, the interventional radiologist inserts a thin catheter, about the size of a strand of spaghetti, into the vein and guides it up the great saphenous vein in the thigh. Then laser or radiofrequency energy is applied to the inside of the vein. This heats the vein and seals the vein closed.
Reflux within the great saphenous vein leads to pooling in the visible varicose veins below. By closing the great saphenous vein, the twisted and varicosed branch veins, which are close to the skin, shrink and improve in appearance. Once the diseased vein is closed, other healthy veins take over to carry blood from the leg, re-establishing normal flow.
The treatment takes less than an hour and provides immediate relief of symptoms. Immediate return to normal activity with little or no pain. There may be minor soreness or bruising, which can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. No scars or stitches - because the procedure does not require a surgical incision, just a nick in the skin, about the size of a pencil tip. There is a high success rate and low recurrence rate compared to surgery. The success rate ranges for vein ablation ranges from 93-95 percent. Many insurance carriers cover the vein ablation treatment, based on medical necessity for symptom relief.
Radiofrequency ablation is a similar technique to endovascular laser, but it uses heat to destroy the vein. The probe is placed in the vein under ultrasound and once in position, the vein is heated along the entire length. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and takes about 30 minutes. It is a relatively new procedure and short-term results are excellent.
Larger varicose veins may be treated with endovenous (inside the vein) catheter ablation or laser surgery. This basically involves inserting a probe (or catheter) into the large vein in the lower leg (saphenous vein) and closing the vein by applying heat generated through laser. This technique has proven to be less painful, and it also has a faster recovery time compared to the vein stripping surgery. ENDOVASCULAR LASER SURGERIES
Health care providers are using new technology in laser treatments to close off and destroy smaller varicose veins and spider veins. The laser applies an intense energy that essentially destroys the small blood vessels in the surface of the skin. Lasers are very direct and accurate. So the proper laser controlled by a skilled practitioner will usually only damage the area being treated. The small laser is passed into the vein with guidance from the ultrasound machine. The laser is then fired up and the entire vein is fibrosed. The laser is fired at multiple locations and the entire procedure is performed with some local anesthesia. Most skin types and colors can be safely treated with lasers.
Laser surgery works by sending strong bursts of light onto the vein, which makes the vein slowly fade and disappear. Laser surgery is more appealing to some patients because it does not use needles or incisions. Still, when the laser hits the skin, the patient feels a heat sensation that can be quite painful. Cooling helps reduce the pain. The procedure is usually performed in a health care provider's office and takes about 30-45 minutes. Laser treatments last for 15 to 20 minutes. Depending on the severity of the veins, two to five treatments are generally needed to remove spider veins in the legs. Patients can return to normal activity right after treatment, just as with sclerotherapy. For spider veins larger than 3 mm, laser therapy is not very practical.
Recovery is rapid and involves minimal pain. The procedure is relatively new and except for some mild bruising and a numbing sensation, no other effects have been seen in the short term.
Results are variable, and multiple treatments may be necessary to have some benefit. This is generally less invasive than sclerotherapy and vein stripping (no insertion of needles or catheters are required). Possible problems may involve a temporary discoloration of the skin. Possible side effects of laser surgery include:
- Slight bruising.
- Redness or swelling of the skin right after the treatment that disappears within a few days.
- Discolored skin that will disappear within one to two months.
- Rarely burns and scars result from poorly performed laser surgery.
Endovenous techniques (radiofrequency and laser) for treating the deeper varicose veins of the legs (the saphenous veins) have been a huge breakthrough. They have replaced surgery for the vast majority of patients with severe varicose veins. This technique is not very invasive and can be done in a health care provider's office.
The Australian Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) in 2008 has determined that endovenous laser treatment for varicose veins "appears to be more effective in the short term, and at least as effective overall, as the comparative procedure of junction ligation and vein stripping for the treatment of varicose veins." It also found in its assessment of available literature, that "occurrence rates of more severe complications such as DVT, nerve injury and paraesthesia, post-operative infections and hematomas, appears to be greater after ligation and stripping than after EVLT". Complications for endovenous laser treatment include minor skin burns (0.4 percent) and temporary paraesthesia (2.1 percent). The longest study of endovenous laser ablation is 39 months.
Two prospective randomized trials found speedier recovery and fewer complications after radiofrequency obliteration (AKA radiofrequency ablation) compared to open surgery. It was written that open surgery for small saphenous vein reflux is obsolete. These veins should be treated with endovenous techniques, citing high recurrence rates after surgical management, and risk of nerve damage up to 15 percent. In comparison, radiofrequency ablation has been shown to control 80 percent of cases of small saphenous vein reflux at 4 years. Complications for radiofrequency ablation include burns, paraesthesia, clinical phlebitis, and slightly higher rates of deep vein thrombosis (0.57 percent) and pulmonary embolism (0.17 percent). One 3-year study compared radiofrequency, with a recurrence rate of 33 percent, to open surgery, which had a recurrence rate of 23 percent.
Endovenous laser and radiofrequency ablation require specialized training for health care providers and expensive equipment. Endovenous laser treatment is performed as an outpatient procedure and does not require the use of an operating theater, nor does the patient need a general anesthetic. Health care providers must use ultrasound during the procedure to see what they are doing. Some practitioners also perform phlebectomy or ultrasound guided sclerotherapy at the time of endovenous treatment. Follow-up treatment to smaller branch varicose veins is often needed in the weeks after the initial procedure.
In one of these treatments, your health care provider inserts a thin tube (catheter) into an enlarged vein and heats the tip of the catheter. As the catheter is pulled out, the heat destroys the vein by causing it to collapse and seal shut. This procedure is usually done for larger varicose veins.
The VNUS Closure Procedure, an alternative treatment option to traditional vein stripping surgery, brings state-of-the-art technology to an age-old disease. The Closure procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. Using ultrasound, your health care provider will position the Closure catheter into the diseased vein, through a small opening in the skin. The tiny catheter delivers radiofrequency (RF) energy to the vein wall. As the RF energy is delivered and the catheter is withdrawn, the vein wall is heated, causing the collagen in the wall to shrink and the vein to close. Once the diseased vein is closed, blood is re-routed to other healthy veins.
Following the procedure, a simple bandage is placed over the insertion site, and additional compression may be provided to aid healing. Your health care provider may encourage you to walk, and to refrain from extended standing and strenuous activities for a period of time. Patients who undergo the Closure procedure typically resume normal activities within a day.
In medicine, a ligature is a device, similar to a tourniquet, usually of thread or string, tied around a limb, blood vessel or similar to restrict blood flow. A ligature can be used for tumor strangulation, carried out before removal. The process of making ligatures is called "ligation". For vein ligation, a few days off is more than adequate before returning to normal routine.
This procedure involves removing a long vein through small incisions. This involves at least 2 incisions, 1 at the groin and 1 at the knee. A tunneling device is placed under the skin between the 2 points, and the saphenous vein is dragged or pulled out of the tunnel. This is an outpatient procedure for most people. Removing the vein will not affect circulation in your leg because veins deeper in the leg take care of the larger volumes of blood.
This surgery requires either local or general anesthesia and must be done in an operating room on an outpatient basis. Surgery involves making an incision through the skin at both ends of the section of vein being removed. Stripping consists in a removal of all the saphena vein main trunk from the groin down to the ankle. A flexible wire is inserted through one end and extended to the other. The wire is then withdrawn, pulling the vein out with it. This is called "stripping" and is the most common method to remove superficial varicose veins. As long as the deeper veins are still functioning properly, a person can live without some of the superficial veins. Because of this, stripped varicose veins are not replaced.
For vein stripping, a recovery period of 5-10 days is needed before returning to a regular routine.
Serious side effects or problems from this surgery are uncommon.
- With general anesthesia, a risk of heart and breathing problems.
- Significant amount of bruising and possibly bleeding and congestion of blood can be a problem. But the collected blood usually settles on its own and does not require any further treatment.
- Wound infection, inflammation, swelling and redness.
- Permanent scars from the incisions. but also a significant amount of bruising and possibly bleeding. The bleeding is easily controlled by pressure dressings and stops immediately. The bruising is usually noticeable for a few weeks.
- Damage of nerve tissue around the treated vein. A possibility of persistent numbness from damage to the nerves in the skin exists (for this reason, usually only the vein to the knee is stripped, not the vein below the knee). It is hard to avoid harming small nerve branches when veins are removed. This damage can cause numbness, burning, or a change in sensation around the surgical scar. The numbness is usually only mild in nature and does not cause any future problems.
- A deep vein blood clot. These clots can travel to the lungs and heart. Injections of heparin, a medicine that reduces blood clotting reduce the chance of these dangerous blood clots. But, heparin also can increase the normal amount of bleeding and bruising after surgery.
- Significant pain in the leg and recovery time of one to four weeks depending on the extent of surgery is typical after surgery.
The complications include deep vein thrombosis (5.3 percent), pulmonary embolism (0.06 percent), and wound complications including infection (2.2 percent). For traditional surgery, reported recurrence rates, which have been tracked for 10 years, range from 5-60 percent. In addition, since stripping removes the saphenous main trunks, they are no longer available for venous by-pass in the future (coronary and/or leg artery vital disease).
Untreated varicose veins become increasingly large and more obvious with time. Surgical stripping of varicose veins is successful for most patients. Most do not develop new, large varicose veins following surgery. Surgery does not decrease a person's tendency to develop varicose veins. Varicose veins may develop in other locations after stripping.
Traditionally, surgical ligation or vein stripping was the treatment for varicose veins, but these procedures can be quite painful and often have a long recovery time. In addition, there are high rates of recurrence with the surgical procedures. One study found a 29 precent recurrence rate after ligation and stripping of the greater saphenous vein, and a rate of 71 percent after high ligation. These recurrence rates are similar to those reported in other studies.
Ambulatory phlebectomy is a minimally invasive surgical treatment for superficial varicose veins not caused by saphenous vein reflux. With this surgery, a special light source marks the location of the vein. Ambulatory phlebectomy involves your health care provider removing smaller varicose veins through a series of tiny skin punctures or incisions (small 2-3 mm incisions in the skin overlying the veins) using a special set of tools (surgical hooks) to pull the vein out of the leg. Only the parts of your leg that are being pricked are numbed under local or regional anesthesia, in this outpatient procedure. The procedure may be performed with tumescent local anesthesia, such as with lidocaine. The procedure may be performed in hospital or outpatient settings and typically takes under an hour. The vein is usually removed in one treatment. Very large varicose veins can be removed with this treatment while leaving only very small scars.
Complications are uncommon, but include paraesthesia, bruising, and hematoma. Scarring is generally minimal. Recovery is rapid with patients returning to normal activity the day after treatment. Most patients do not need to interrupt regular activity after ambulatory phlebectomy.
Graded compression stockings are usually worn for 1-2 weeks after the procedure. Patients usually return to normal light activity immediately after the procedure. This procedure is often used as an adjunct to endovenous laser treatment or other endovenous ablations of the greater saphenous vein.
Possible side effects include:
- Slight bruising.
- Temporary numbness.
CHIVA is the acronym for Conservative and Hemodynamic cure of Incompetent Varicose veins in Ambulatory patients translated from the French cure "Conservatrice et Hémodynamique de l'Insuffisance Veineuse en Ambulatoire" published in France in 1988. Lurie in his analysis of Chiva states that "CHIVA definitely falls into a research category and should be continued as such until sufficient evidence of its validity is generated".
To be achieved properly,the CHIVA method needs a comprehensive knowledge of both hemodynamics and Ultrasound venous investigation. CHIVA relies on an hemodynamic impairment assessed by data and evidences depicted through Ultrasound dynamic venous investigations. According to this new concept, the clinical symptoms of venous insufficiency are not the cause but the consequence of various abnormalities of the venous system. For example, a varicose vein being overloaded, may be dilated not only because of valvular incompetence (the most frequent) but because of a venous block (thrombosis) or arterio-venous fistulae and so the treatment has to be tailored according the hemodynamic feature.
The procedure generally consists in 1 to 4 small incisions under local anesthesia in order to disconnect the varicose veins from the abnormal flow due to valvular incompetence which dilates them. The patient is dismissed the same day. This method leads to an improvement of the venous function in order to cure the symptoms of venous insufficiency as varicose veins, legs swelling, ulcers.
CHIVA is used to prevent varicose recurrence due to progressive enlargement of collateral veins which replace and overtake the destroyed veins. It is used to preserve the superficial venous capital for unpredictable but possible need for coronary or leg artery and vital by-pass which increases with ageing.
Unfortunately at this stage, the best available publication of CHIVA outcomes that meets current methodological standards is a study by Carandina et al. The authors estimate that only 30-35 percent of patients with varicose veins can be treated with CHIVA. This study showed that there were recurrent varices in 18 percent of cases treated by CHIVA despite there being some bias in the selection of patients favoring CHIVA.
ENDOSCOPIC VEIN SURGERY
You might need endoscopic vein surgical operation only in an advanced case involving leg ulcers. Your surgeon uses a thin video camera inserted in your leg to visualize and close varicose veins. People who have this surgery must have some kind of anesthesia including epidural, spinal or general anesthesia. The health care provider then removes the veins through small incisions. This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. Patients can return to normal activity within a few weeks.
PREGNANCY & VARICOSE VEINS
Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy generally improve without medical treatment within three months after delivery.
Several surgical procedures are available to relieve varicose veins, but not everyone with varicose veins is a candidate for surgery.
- If you are pregnant or recently pregnant, it is advisable to wait at least 6 weeks after delivery before considering this option, because many of the varicose veins you have during pregnancy will fade.
- If your veins bother you only because of the way they look, and you are not bothered by pain or inflammation, then surgery may not be your best option.
- Surgery is usually reserved for people who either do not get relief from the home care techniques or lifestyle changes, or who for cosmetic reasons want to try methods other than sclerotherapy or laser treatment to make their veins less prominent.
TYPES OF PRACTITIONERS PROVIDING TREATMENT
Health care providers providing surgical treatments (stripping and laser ablation) include general and vascular surgeons. Sclerotherapy and laser treatments are often performed by dermatologists. Some general, vascular, and plastic surgeons also perform sclerotherapy treatments. You may want to consult more than one practitioner before deciding on a method of treatment. Be sure to ask the health care providers about their experience in performing the procedure you want.
Patients considering surgical treatment should also get a second opinion from an interventional radiologist to ensure they know all of their treatment options. You can ask for a referral from your health care provider, call the radiology department of any hospital and ask for interventional radiology or to locate a health care provider near you.
SIDE EFFECTS OF TREATMENTS
A patient should carefully question the health care provider about the safety and side effects for each type of treatment. Thoroughly review any "informed consent" forms your health care provider gives you explaining the risks of a procedure.
For surgical removal of veins, the side effects are those for any surgery performed under anesthesia, including nausea, vomiting, and the risk of wound infection. Surgery also results in scarring where small incisions are made and may occasionally cause blood clots.
For sclerotherapy, the side effects can depend on the substance used for the injection. People with allergies may want to be cautious. For example, Sotradecol may cause allergic reactions, which can occasionally be severe. Hypertonic saline solution is unlikely to cause allergic reactions. Either substance may burn the skin (if the needle is not properly inserted) or permanently mark or "stain" the skin. (These brownish marks are caused by the scattering of blood cells throughout the tissue after the vein has been injected and may fade over time). Occasionally, sclerotherapy can lead to blood clots.
Laser treatments can cause scarring and changes in the color of the skin.
VARICOSE VEINS RECURRENCE RATES AFTER TREATMENT
Many factors will affect the rate at which treated varicose veins recur. These include the underlying diagnosis, the method used and its suitability for treating a particular condition, and the skill of the practitioner. Sometimes the body forms a new vein in place of the one removed by a surgeon. An injected vein that was not completely destroyed by sclerotherapy may reopen, or a new vein may appear in the same location as previous one.
Many studies have found that varicose veins are more likely to recur following sclerotherapy than following surgery. However, no treatment method has been scientifically established as being free from recurrences. For all types of procedures, recurrence rates increase with time. Also, because venous (vein) disease is typically progressive, no treatment can prevent the appearance of new varicose or spider veins in the future.
The method you select for treating venous disease should be based on the health care provider's diagnosis, the size of the veins to be treated and the patient's:
- Treatment history.
- History of allergies.
- Ability to tolerate surgery and anesthesia, among other factors.
As noted above, small spider veins cannot be surgically removed and can only be treated with sclerotherapy. On the other hand, larger varicose veins may, according to many studies, be more likely to recur if treated with sclerotherapy.
MEDICATIONS FOR THROMBOPHLEBITIS
Thrombophlebitis is one of the serious complications of severe varicose vein problems. Medications used in the treatment of thrombophlebitis include:
If you have deep vein thrombosis, injection of a blood-thinning (anticoagulant) medication, such as heparin, will prevent clots from enlarging. After the heparin treatment, taking the anticoagulant warfarin (Coumadin) for several months continues to prevent clots from enlarging. If your health care provider prescribes warfarin, follow the directions for taking the medication carefully. Warfarin is a powerful medication that can cause dangerous side effects if not taken properly.
Thrombolysis is the breakdown (lysis) of blood clots by pharmacological means. It is colloquially referred to as "clot busting" for this reason. It works by stimulating fibrinolysis by plasmin through infusion of analogs of tissue plasminogen activator, the protein that normally activates plasmin.
Thrombolysis requires the use of thrombolytic drugs, which are either derived from Streptomyces spp. or (more recently) the effect of recombinant technology, where human activators of plasminogen (e.g. tissue plasminogen activator, tPA) are manufactured by bacteria. Some commonly used thrombolytics are:
- Alteplase (recombinant tissue plasminogen activator or rtPA).
Formation of blood clots lies at the basis of a number of serious diseases, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke (ischemic stroke), massive pulmonary embolism, acute limb ischemia. By breaking down the clot, the disease process can be arrested, or the complications reduced. While other anticoagulants (such as heparin) decrease the "growth" of a clot, thrombolytic agents actively reduce the size of the clot.
All thrombolytic agents work by activating the enzyme plasminogen, which clears the cross-linked fibrin mesh (the backbone of a clot). This makes the clot soluble and subject to further proteolysis by other enzymes, and restores blood flow over occluded blood vessels. Apart from streptokinase, all thrombolytic drugs are administered together with heparin (unfractionated or low molecular weight heparin), usually for 24-48 hours. Thrombolysis is usually intravenous. It may also be used during an angiogram (intra-arterial thrombolysis), e.g. when patients present with stroke beyond three hours. In some settings, emergency medical technicians may administer thrombolysis for heart attacks in pre-hospital settings.
thrombolytics are contraindicated in bleeding disorders, active bleeding and when there has been recent surgery. Diabetic retinopathy is a relative contraindication, as is untreated high blood pressure. Warfarin treatment increases risk of bleeding and is a relative contraindication. Streptokinase is contraindicated in patients who have been previously treated with streptokinase, as there is a risk of anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction) due to the production of antibodies against the enzyme.
ANALGESICS & ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES
Anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin can be used as part of treatment for superficial thrombophlebitis along with graduated compression hosiery - but there is a risk of intestinal bleeding. In extensive superficial thrombophlebitis, consideration should be given to anti-coagulation, thrombectomy or sclerotherapy of the involved vein.
Analgesics (pain medications), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen may be given to reduce pain and inflammation.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if infection is present.
Support Stockings help prevent recurrent swelling and reduce the chances of complications of deep vein thrombosis. Your health care provider may recommend prescription-strength support hose.
In some instances, especially if you cannot take blood thinners, a filter may be inserted into the main vein in your abdomen (vena cava) to prevent clots that break loose in leg veins from lodging in your lungs. Typically, the filter remains implanted permanently. This procedure usually does not require you to stay in the hospital.
VARICOSE VEIN STRIPPING
Varicose vein stripping is a procedure in which your health care provider can surgically remove varicose veins that cause pain or recurrent thrombophlebitis in a procedure called varicose vein stripping. This procedure, typically done on an outpatient basis, involves removing a long vein through small incisions. Usually, you are able to resume normal activities in two weeks or less. Removing the vein will not affect circulation in your leg because veins deeper in the leg take care of the increased volumes of blood. This procedure is also commonly done for cosmetic reasons.
CLOT REMOVAL OR BYPASS SURGERY
Sometimes, surgery is necessary to remove a clot blocking a vein in your pelvis or abdomen. To treat a persistently blocked vein, your health care provider may recommend surgery to bypass the vein, or a non-surgical procedure called angioplasty to open up the vein. Once angioplasty has opened up the vein, your health care provider inserts a small wire mesh tube (stent) to keep the vein open.
Thrombophlebitis and other forms of phlebitis usually respond to prompt medical treatment.
Follow-up after a diagnosis of varicose veins is generally necessary only if a person is considering surgery or sclerotherapy. Otherwise, follow up with a health care provider only if severe or worsening symptoms occur.
Varicose veins that you have now will not go away unless you have treatment, such as sclerotherapy or ligation and stripping. At times the veins may seem more prominent, such as in warm weather. However, once they appear, they will not go away on their own.
Prevention is the key. The earlier you start the lifestyle modifications outlined in Self-Care at Home, the better your chances of preventing new varicose veins from forming. In some cases, varicose veins may be one stage in the continuum of chronic poor vein functioning.
Some people may progress from having no symptoms, to the development of varicose veins, and then on to problems with leg swelling, and finally to ulcers caused by stagnant blood flow. A small number of these people will have deep vein clots as a cause for their signs and symptoms, but most will not. The more severe problems, such as skin ulcers, tend to be very difficult to prevent completely. Once these ulcers occur, they are very difficult to cure. Even when they are eliminated, these ulcers tend to recur.
A deep vein blood clot has the potential to travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the lung. This is called a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism does not occur from varicose veins. Pulmonary embolism can be life threatening, because the blood clot can interrupt the circulation of blood. Common symptoms of pulmonary embolism are chest pain and shortness of breath.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MEDICAL TREATMENTS
For more information about varicose veins and treatment options, contact the National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC) at 1-800-994-9662 or the following organizations:
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
NHLBI Information Center
American Academy of Dermatology
American Society for Dermatologic Surgery
The American College of Phlebology
OTHER WEB LINKS
Gloucestershire Vascular Group, Patient Information - Varicose Veins
Vein Clinics of America
MedlinePlus, Varicose Veins
The National Women's Health Information Center, Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
American College of Phlebology
Medline Plus: Varicose Veins
Varicose Veins, NIH (National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute)
Varicose Veins, Interactive Tutorial (Patient Education Institute)
Cellulose is an indigestible carbohydrate found on the outer layer of vegetables and fruits. Good for alleviating symptoms, it can be found in apples, beets, Brazil nuts, broccoli, carrots, celery, green beans, lima beans, pears, peas, and whole grains.
Some health care providers treat varicose veins by injecting a sodium tetradecyl sulfate (saline) solution into the affected vein and applying compression bandages for a period of time. The solution fuses the vein walls together permanently, closing the defective vein. The body compensates for lost vessels by finding an alternate route for blood flow.
Spider veins are chronically dilated capillaries near the surface of the skin. They are harmless and rarely cause any problems, although they can be distressing for cosmetic reasons.
Hemorrhoids are actually varicose veins of the anus or rectum. Symptoms of hemorrhoids include rectal itching, pain, and blood in the stool.
MoonDragon's ObGyn Health Information: Hemorrhoids
Massage therapy can aid in stimulating the legs. You should not massage the veins directly, but instead massage the area around them and upward toward the heart.
Compression therapy, in which a compression garment of some type is used to exert pressure on the legs in an effort to help the venous valves close properly, may be helpful in alleviating symptoms.
Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) has been used to relieve the swelling and pain of severe varicose veins. This liquid, a by-product of wood processing, is applied topically to the affected area as needed. Only DMSO from a health food store should be used for therapeutic purposes. Do not use DMSO from a hardware store. Caution: Do not apply DMSO to hemorrhoids.
Herbal Remedies: DMSO (Dimethyl Sulfoxide) Roll-On, 70% DMSO, 30% Distilled Water, 3 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: DMSO (Dimethyl Sulfoxide) Roll-On, 70% DMSO, 30% Aloe Vera, 3 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: DMSO Cream Complex, 50-99% Pure DMSO, 4 oz.
Herbal Remedies: DMSO Liquid (Dimethyl Sulfoxide), 99.9% Pure Concentrate, 16 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: DMSO Gel (Dimethyl Sulfoxide), 99.99% Pure, 4 oz.
Sclerotherapy is a treatment sometimes recommended for varicose veins. In this procedure, an irritant is injected into the vein, causing it to become nonfunctional, and subsequently shrink and fade. There are potential complications with this procedure, however.
Surgical removal of varicose veins is a treatment option that may be recommended if the veins are causing a considerable amount of discomfort. The operation results in scarring.
Vein stripping is a medical treatment in which a main superficial vein is removed and the veins connected to it tied off, forcing the blood to return to the heart through the deeper leg veins.
A more recent technique involves inserting a catheter into the vein, then heating it with radio-frequency or laser-generated heat. As the catheter is slowly withdrawn, it collapses the damaged vein. These veins then are gradually absorbed into the body. Large veins still must later be removed surgically, but the additional procedure adds little to the pain and inconvenience overall.
Valve repair is another treatment option for varicose veins. In this procedure, a synthetic material is used to restore the valve.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Circulatory Problems
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Cardiovascular Disease & Cardiac-Circulatory System Anatomy
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pregnancy Related Disorders
The symptoms of varicose veins are similar to those of thrombophlebitis. In addition, the chances of developing varicose veins increase greatly if you suffer from thrombophlebitis.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Thrombophlebitis
To make a definitive diagnosis of DVT, a health care provider must rule out a number of other disorders, including cellulitis and occlusive arterial disease. One test commonly used to diagnose DVT is duplex ultrasound. In this procedure, a handheld ultrasonic device is passed over the affected area, and a picture of the blood flow is displayed on a computer screen. A less common test is venography, in which dye is injected into a vein to make blood flow visible on an x-ray. Duplex ultrasound, chest x-ray, and other tests can be used to diagnose pulmonary embolism, as required.
Treatment of thrombophlebitis primarily consists of using anticoagulant (blood thinning) medications. Blood thinners such as heparin and warfarin (Coumadin) do not dissolve clots that have already formed, but can prevent the formation of new clots. Aspirin also can be an effective anticoagulant for treating DVT. The usual recommended dosage is one 80 mg baby aspirin daily. More invasive treatments, such as the use of filters that can be inserted into the veins, and use of potent "clot buster" drugs, which can dissolve large clots quickly, are available for difficult or life-threatening situations.
DVT is a potentially serious problem, and hospitalization may be recommended. An anticoagulant such as heparin or warfarin (Coumadin) is usually given, both intravenously and orally. Surgery may be needed to tie off the affected vein to prevent the clot from traveling to the lungs, a condition known as pulmonary embolism. Recovery time varies, depending on the severity of the disease. Caution: Do not combine vitamin E and prescription blood thinning drugs.
Behcet's syndrome is a chronic multi-system disease distinguished by thrombophlebitis, plus arthritis, iritis, uveitis, and ulceration of the mouth and genitalia. This disease is found worldwide, but is most common in young men of eastern Mediterranean and eastern Asian descent.
RELATED DISORDER LINKS
For more information about blood clotting related disorders, see:
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Thrombophlebitis
MoonDragon's ObGyn Health: Thromboembolic Disorders
MoonDragon's ObGyn Pregnancy: Pregnancy Concerns
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Stroke
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Heart Attack
MoonDragon's ObGyn Health: Hemorrhoids
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hemophilia
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Circulation Disorders
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Leg Ulcers
FOODS FOR HEALTH
Try to eat plenty of garlic, onions, ginger and pineapple. These foods, which are fibrinolytics, break down fibrin, the tough, dense, inelastic tissue that replaces the healthy tissue of veins and causes them to lose their elasticity.
A healthy diet is extremely important since sluggish digestion and poor liver and gallbladder function exert pressure in the lower body, straining and congesting veins.
Eat a diet that is low in fat and refined carbohydrates and includes plenty of fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, soybean products, and whole grains.
Every few months, try a 1-day juice or raw fruits and vegetable diet. This purifies the digestive system, encourages digestion and helps encourage weight loss.
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Fasting
Eat as many blackberries, blueberries, and cherries as you can. These may help prevent varicose veins, or ease the symptoms if you already have them.
Herbal Remedies: Black Cherry Concentrate, Organic, Kosher, Dynamic Health, 16 fl. oz.
Include Garlic, Ginger, Onions, and fresh Pineapple in your diet.
Garlic: The Europeans use garlic as an all-around treatment for preventing atherosclerosis, the cause of heart disease and strokes. Scientific studies found that certain forms of Garlic lowered blood pressure and total cholesterol levels. Early scientific studies propose regular use can help prevent cancer. Garlic is an effective antibiotic when it contacts the tissue directly. Eating two raw Garlic cloves a day are adequate for most purposes, but a standard dosage of Garlic is 900 mg daily of a garlic powder extract standardized to contain 1.3% alliin. When Garlic is crushed or cut, allinase, an enzyme, is brought in contact with alliin, turning it into allicin, which then breaks down into several different compounds.
Herbal Remedies: Garlic Oil, NOW Foods, 1500 mg, 250 Softgels
Herbal Remedies: Garlic Bulb Cloves Supplement, Nature's Way, 580 mg, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Super Odorless Garlic, NOW Foods, 5000 mg, 90 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Aged Garlic Extract, Cardiovascular Formula 100, Wakunaga Kyolic, 300 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Kyolic Liquid Aged Garlic Extract, Cardiovascular, Vegetarian, Wakunaga Kyolic, 4 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract, One Per Day, Vegetarian, Wakunaga Kyolic, 1000 mg, 30 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Aged Garlic Extract, Cholesterol Formula 104, Wakunaga Kyolic, 200 Caps
Ginger: Ginger stimulates the circulation and helps blood flow to the surface, making it an important remedy for chilblains and poor circulation to the hands and feet. By improving the circulation, Ginger helps reduce high blood pressure. Scientific studies have shown Ginger to be an effective treatment for nausea and motion sickness. It is also used as a treatment for atherosclerosis, migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol, burns, ulcers, depression, impotence, and liver toxicity. Chinese herbalists prescribe Ginger tea at the onset of a cold to ward off infection. A standard dose for most purposes is 1 to 4 g of powdered Ginger taken daily in 2 to 4 divided doses. To prevent motion sickness, begin treatment 1 or 2 days before the trip, and continue taking it throughout the travel period. Make Ginger tea from the boiled Ginger root as a remedy for nausea associated with pregnancy. Chilled, carbonated, and sweetened Ginger tea is the original form of ginger ale, the famous anti-nausea beverage. Powdered Ginger can be used in the tea instead of the root.
Herbal Remedies: Crystallized Ginger Slices, NOW Foods, 12 oz.
Herbal Remedies: Ginger Root, Nature's Way, 550 mg, 180 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Ginger Root Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Ginger Root Powder (Zingiber Officinale), 4 oz. Bulk
Herbal Remedies: Ginger Tea, Caffeine Free, 20 Tea Bags
Pineapple: Fresh pineapple contains Bromelain, a enzyme that aids in proper digestion. Bromelain can reduce the risk of clot formation in the blood vessels.
Herbal Remedies: Bromelain 2000 GDU Supplement, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 90 Tabs
Onion: Onion is thought to reduce blood pressure and improve circulation. It can help ward off angina, arteriosclerosis, and heart attack. It also works well for preventing oral infection and tooth decay. Externally, a baked Onion poultice works for draining pus from sores. Onion comes in various forms and is an ingredient in many products. For soothing sore throats and coughs, use 2 Onions and 2 tablespoons honey, steeped overnight at room temperature. Steeping 4 medium-sized hot Onions in 1 liter or pint of hot water for 2 or 3 hours works as an infusion for treating colds, congestion, coughs, and bronchitis. Simmer 3 Onions in 3/4 cup of water for 5 to 10 minutes, then strain and add honey for relieving congestion. Tea made from boiled Onion skins are used to improve poor circulation, and works especially well in cases of gout.
Make sure your diet contains plenty of fiber to prevent constipation and keep the bowels clean.
Herbal Remedies: Ultimate Fiber Powder For Digestive & Gastrointestinal Cleansing, Sweet Citrus Burst, Nature's Secret, 7.9 oz.
Herbal Remedies: Psyllium Husk Powder, 100% Pure Bulk Fiber, Orange Flavor, Vegetarian, NOW Foods, 12 oz.
Herbal Remedies: Grapefruit Fiber Powder, 100% Pure, NOW Foods, 1 lb.
Herbal Remedies: Apple Fiber, NOW Foods, 12 oz.
Herbal Remedies: Natural Fiber Supplement, Truman's, 12 oz.
Avoid animal protein, processed and refined foods, sugar, ice cream, fried foods, cheeses, peanuts, junk foods, tobacco and alcohol, and salt.
Try using homeopathic remedies to ease symptoms. Homeopathic remedies that have been used to treat varicose veins include:
LIFE STYLE RECOMMENDATIONS
Most cases of varicose veins do not pose a serious problem and can be managed with simple home measures. These are some self-care measures you can take to decrease the discomfort that varicose veins can cause. These same measures can help prevent or slow the development of varicose veins, as well. They include:
Maintain a healthy weight and get regular moderate exercise. Get your legs moving. Walking is a great way to encourage blood circulation in your legs. Your health care provider can recommend an appropriate activity level for you. Swimming, bicycling, running and other similar exercise promotes and improves circulation and prevent sluggishness in the veins, lessening the tendency to form clots and varicose veins. It can help the muscles force the blood out of the deeper vein system. Change your daily routine to allow more time for exercise and movement for your legs.
If you are confined to a bed, move your legs as much as possible to counteract pooling of blood in the veins.
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Bed Rest Exercise
Some simple exercises you can use to improve the blood flow in your legs - try to use them every day:
- Sit on the floor or in a chair with your legs straight out in front of you. Rotate both feet from the ankles, first to the right, then to the left. Repeat for 30 seconds.
- Point and flex your feet. Repeat for 30 seconds.
- Stand up. Rock back and forth from your heels to toes several times.
- Walk backward several steps on your heels. Repeat a few times.
- In addition to the above routines, remind yourself to wiggle your toes and gently rotate your ankles every so often whenever you are sitting down.
Yoga can be immensely helpful to reducing varicose veins and is particularly helpful in preventing them from getting worse once they have started. Yoga is a form of exercise which helps get the circulatory system in working order which is crucial to improving varicose veins. However, true treatment of varicose veins will not be achieved by yoga alone. In order to remove damaged veins, it is necessary to have surgical treatment. The best approach is to use yoga and alternative healing as a supplement to medical procedures.
Watch your weight, and your diet. Shedding excess pounds takes unnecessary pressure off your veins. What you eat makes a difference, too. Follow a healthy low-salt, high-fiber diet to prevent the swelling that may result from water retention and constipation. If you are overweight, try to lose weight.
Watch what you wear. Wear loose clothing that does not constrict blood flow. Avoid high heels. Low-heeled shoes work calf muscles more, which is better for your veins. Do not wear tight clothes around your waist, legs or groin. Avoid wearing any tight-fitting clothing that cuts off circulation such as knee socks with tight bands, tight panty-leg girdles or belts - these can cut off blood flow.
Wear compression stockings (such as T.E.D. Hose or Jobst stockings) to help support the varicose veins and prevent swelling. The key is to put them on in the morning before you start walking around and before your veins become more swollen. If you try them and experience worsening pain, especially after you have been walking, remove them and see your health care provider. You may have problems with the blood supply to your legs (the arterial supply, which provides oxygen).
Consult with your pharmacist about special elastic support stockings (anti-embolism stockings) to improve circulation. Compression bandage is also extremely helpful. Compression stockings come are easier to use and are available by prescription in graduated amounts of pressure. Some stockings are available from Amazon.com, these are only a selection. For more options, use the Amazon.com search box found further down on this page.
Elevate your legs above heart level for a minimum of 20 minutes at least once every day to alleviate symptoms. To improve the circulation in your legs, take several short breaks daily to elevate your legs above the level of your heart to get the maximum effect for 30 minutes each time. For example, lie down with your legs resting on three or four pillows. Elevate your legs as much as possible. If you can take half-hour breaks during the day to rest, do it. Elevate your feet in front of you while sitting down to read or watch television.
Lie on a padded slant board with your feet higher than your head for 15 minutes a day. This is particularly helpful if you stand on your feet a lot.
MannaHarvest: Slant Boards
Avoid long periods of sitting or standing. Make a point of changing your position frequently to encourage blood flow. Shift your weight between your feet, stand on your toes, or take short walks to alleviate pressure. Try to move around at least every 30 minutes If you are driving on a trip or working at a desk all day, try to get up and walk around every hour or so to allow the muscles to pump the blood out of the veins. Take rest periods several times during the day to elevate your legs above heart level.
Do not sit with your legs crossed. Some health care provider believe this position can increase circulation problems.
Refrain from prolonged hot baths and saunas because warmth expands the blood vessels.
To help improve circulation and ease pain, fill a tub with cold water (about 64°F) up to the height of your calves. Stand in the water and simulate walking by walking back and forth in the tube picking up your knees and lifting your feet entirely out of the water with every step. Immersing your feet in cold water spurs veins to contract. When you get out, do not dry your feet. Put on cotton socks, and keep moving around until your feet become warm.
Take alternating hot and cold sitz baths, or apply alternating hot and cold compresses using the herbs recommended below on this page. Cold water applications and massages can ease circulatory congestion.
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Sitz Bath
After bathing, apply castor oil directly over the problem veins and massage the oil into your legs from the feet up.
Herbal Remedies: Castor Oil, Expeller Pressed, 100% Pure, NOW Foods, 16 fl. oz.
A massage with essential oils is helpful to encourage blood flow from the legs to the upper body. Massage varicose veins with:
2 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
2 drops Juniper Essential Oil
2 drops Cypress Essential Oil 2 tablespoons Sweet Almond Oil
Mix oils. Once a day, spread the mixture over varicose veins, massaging upward toward the heart.
Avoid strain. See your health care provider if you have problems such as chronic constipation, urinary retention, or chronic cough. Relieving conditions that are causing you to strain may help with the varicose veins.
Avoid doing heavy lifting and putting any unnecessary pressure on your legs.
Avoid alcohol, which can cause the veins in your legs to dilate.
If you smoke, stop. Smoking constricts blood vessels, resulting in poor circulation and weakened blood flow. This is particularly important if you are taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy.
MoonDragon's ObGyn Contraception Index: Information & Choices
MoonDragon's ObGyn Menopause: Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Smoking Cessation & Weight Gain
MoonDragon's ObGyn Information: Smoking Dependency
Avoid scratching the itchy skin above varicose veins. This can cause ulceration and bleeding.
If you develop leg ulcers, keep the ulcers clean and germ-free to prevent infection. Follow your health care provider's recommendations concerning proper care for your ulcers, and be forewarned that leg ulcers may take 3 months to a year to heal.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Leg Ulcers
Clean your legs daily to remove germs that can cause infection.
Avoid using products that can dry your skin. Contact your health care provider if you notice any redness or swelling in the legs - these may be signs of infection.
If you experience a swollen, painful vein that does not get better within 2 weeks, talk to a health care professional.
If symptoms of pulmonary embolism develop, sit down at once and call for emergency help (if someone is with you, have that person make the call). Getting to an emergency room quickly is your best decision.
TRAVELING TIPS FOR VARICOSE VEINS AND THROMBOPHLEBITIS
When traveling, take the following preventive measures:
- Do not sit inactive for an entire trip or flight. Get up, move around, stretch. Some airplanes are large enough to allow walking up one aisle and down the another. Some airlines, such as Qantas, offer leaflets suggesting leg exercises that passengers can do in their seats. If you are traveling by car, stop, get out, walk around and stretch every couple of hours.
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Dehydration causes the blood vessels to narrow and blood to thicken, increasing the risk of DVT.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Dehydration
- Avoid consuming alcohol and coffee, particularly on a long trip. Both contribute to dehydration.
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time.
In daily life, avoid standing for long periods of time. If you are sitting for long periods of time at work or at home, such as working on a computer, take periodic breaks and get up and move around. Avoid chairs that cut off circulation on the back of the legs while sitting.
PLANT EXTRACTS FOR THE VEINS
For varicose veins, look for salves and creams with a horse chestnut seed extract. This extract helps inhibit inflammation, reduce swelling and stimulate the muscles of the vein wall to contract so blood can flow properly. Blueberries, high in the blue and purple pigments known to strengthen blood vessels, may also be helpful.
HERBS FOR VARICOSE VEINS
Aloe vera gel is a cooling and soothing topical treatment for varicose veins.
Herbal Remedies: Jason Lotion, Aloe Vera Hand & Body Lotion, 84% Organic, 8 oz.
Herbal Remedies: Aloe Vera Concentrate, NOW Foods, 100% Organic, 4 oz.
Herbal Remedies: Aloe Vera Skin Gel, Herbal Aloe Force, Organically Grown Unprocessed Whole Raw Aloe Vera, 4 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Aloe Vera Gel, NOW Foods, 32 oz.
Herbal Remedies: Aloe Vera Gel, NOW Foods, 1 Gallon
Bilberry supports the health of connective tissue, including that of the veins.
Herbal Remedies: Bilberry Extract Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Bilberry Extract Tincture, Herbal Remedies USA, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Bilberry Leaf Powder (Vaccinium Myrtillus), 4 oz. Bulk
Herbal Remedies: Bilberry Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 60 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Bilberry Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 80 mg, 90 Caps
Butcher's Broom, Ginkgo Biloba, Gotu Kola and Hawthorn Berries improve circulation in the legs.
Herbal Remedies: Butcher's Broom Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Butcher's Broom Root, Nature's Way, 470 mg, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Ginkgo Leaf Powder (Ginkgo Biloba), 4 oz. Bulk
Herbal Remedies: Gingko Biloba Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 60 mg, 120 VCaps
Herbal Remedies: Ginkgold Max, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, vegetarian, Nature's Way, 120 mg, 60 Tabs
Herbal Remedies: Gotu Kola Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
Herbal Remedies: Gotu Kola Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Gotu Kola, Nature's Way, 475 mg, 180 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Hawthorn Berry Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Hawthorn Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 500 mg, 90 Caps
Cayenne (Capsaicin) helps to relieve pain and inflammation, and also expand blood vessels, reducing stress on the capillaries. It is available in capsule and cream forms.
Herbal Remedies: Cayenne Extra Hot Formula Supplement, Nature's Way, 450 mg, 100,000 HU, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: CapsiCool Cayenne Supplement, Nature's way, 390 mg, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Cayenne & Garlic Supplement, Nature's Way, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Cayenne Pepper Supplement, Nature's Way, 450 mg, 180 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Cayenne Pepper Oil, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Cayenne Supplement Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Cayenne & Ginger Supplement, Nature's Way, 465 mg, 100 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Swedish Bitters Capsaicin Cream, Nature Works, 4 oz.
Dandelion alleviates tissue swelling by reducing water retention.
Herbal Remedies: Dandelion Root Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Dandelion Tea, NOW Foods, Organic, 30 Tea Bags
Herbal Remedies: Dandelion Root, Vegetarian, Nature's Way, 540 mg, 180 VCaps
Herbal Remedies: Dandelion Root Powder (Taraxacum Officinal), 4 oz. Bulk
Herbal Remedies: Organic Roasted Dandelion Root Tea, Kosher, Traditional Medicinals, 16 Tea Bags
Horse Chestnut Cream From Planetary Herbals is a topical formula containing Horse Chestnut, Butcher's Broom, Witch Hazel, White Oak, and Myrrh. It can be used to reduce the appearance of varicose veins.
Herbal Remedies: Planetary Herbals Horse Chestnut Cream, 2 oz.
Horse Chestnut makes a good treatment for the discomfort of varicose veins. Horse chestnut seed extract may be an effective treatment for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a condition associated with varicose veins in which leg veins have problems returning blood to the heart. The herb may help improve swelling and discomfort caused by varicose veins. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of horse chestnut powder with 2 cups of water, and moisten a sterile gauze cloth with the mixture. Rub the cloth gently over the affected area. This is soothing to inflamed veins. Witch Hazel can be used in the same way to reduce discomfort.
Herbal Remedies: Horse Chestnut Extract, Standardized, With Calendula, Nature's Way, 350 mg, 90 Caps
Herbal Remedies: Leg Veins Formula With Tru-OPC's, Nature's Way, 435 mg, 120 VCaps
Herbal Remedies: Vein Supreme, NOW Foods, 90 VCaps
Herbal Remedies: Horse Chestnut Tincture Supplement, Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Varicose Veins Wellness Oil by Nature's Inventory should be massaged from the ankle up your legs for best results. Use daily and to see a difference in your veins. Shake before each use. Massage into skin 2 to 3 times per day where varicose veins have appeared. It can be added to a lotion for easier use. It contains unrefined grapeseed oil and an essential oil blend of cypress, lemon, and geranium.
Herbal Remedies: Varicose Veins Wellness Oil, Nature's Inventory, 2 fl. oz.
Herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine that are helpful in alleviating symptoms include: Magnolia Flower (Magnolia Liliflora Flos/M. Denudata, also known as xho yi hua/xin yi hua), Scutellaria (Scutellaria Baicalensis, or huang qin; also known as Baikal Skullcap), Trichosanth (Trichosanthes Kirilowii), and Wild Angelica (Angelica Dahurica, or bai zhi). Note: I was unable to find any herbal resource under the Chinese herbal name Xho yi hua - only xin yi hua.
Shaman Shop: Magnolia Flower (Xin Yi Hua) Powder, Plum Flower, 500 gm
Shaman Shop: Scutellaria Baicalensis (Huang Qin) Powder, Plum Flower, 500 gm
Shaman Shop: Trichosanthes Fruit (Trichosanthes Kirilowii, Gua Lou Shi) Powder, Plum Flower, 500 gm
Shaman Shop: Dahurican Angelica Root (Angelica Dahurica, Bai Zhi) Powder, Plum Flower, 500 gm
Bathing your legs or other affected area in White Oak bark herb tea 3 times a day helps to stimulate blood flow. Simmer (but do not boil) a strong tea and use the tea to make compresses. Apply the compresses to affected areas.
Herbal Remedies: White Oak Bark, Nature's Way, 480 mg, 100 Caps
Venacura Diosmin 95 is a dietary supplement used for the treatment of varicose and spider veins. Diosmin 95, the active ingredient in Venacura is finally available for sale for the first time in the USA without a prescription and has had over 28 clinical studies conducted showing positive and quick success with reduction of varicose & spider veins, relief from swelling and inflammation of the legs, reversal of chronic venous insufficiency (vein disorders), relief from hemorrhoids and relief from leg ulcers.
Other varicose vein products from Amazon.com are listed below. MoonDragon.org has no opinions as to the effectiveness of these products, but they are included here as a courtesy to our visitors. Keep in mind, not every product will work for every person. You may have to find one that works well for you. For more products, use the Amazon.com search box further down on this page.
HERBS FOR CIRCULATION PROBLEMS
Alfalfa, Pau D'Arco, Red Raspberry Leaf, Rosemary and Yarrow are antioxidant herbs that improve blood oxygenation.
Herbal Remedies: Alfalfa Supplements & Products
Herbal Remedies: Pau D'Arco Supplements & Products
Herbal Remedies: Red Raspberry Supplements & Products
Herbal Remedies: Rosemary Oil & Rosemary Leaf Supplements & Products
Herbal Remedies: Yarrow Flower Herb Supplements & Products
Butcher's Broom improves circulation.
Cayenne (Capsicum) thins the blood, eases blood pressure, and improves circulation. It can be combined with Ginger, Plantain, and Witch Hazel in a poultice and applied directly to the affected area.
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Applying A Poultice
Herbal Remedies: Cayenne Supplements & Products
Ginger, Skullcap, and Valerian root dilate the blood vessels and aid circulation.
Herbal Remedies: Ginger Supplements & Products
Herbal Remedies: Skullcap Supplements & Products
Herbal Remedies: Valerian Supplements & Products
Ginkgo Biloba improves circulation and brain function, and is a powerful antioxidant.
Herbal Remedies: Ginkgold, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, Vegetarian, 60 mg, 150 Tabs
Backed by over 35 years of extensive research, including over 400 published scientific and clinical studies, Nature's Way Ginkgold ginkgo biloba extract has been proven to support healthy circulation to the brain as well as the extremities.
Herbal Remedies: Ginkgold MAX, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Nature's Way, Vegetarian, 120 mg, 60 Tabs
Backed by over 35 years of extensive research, including over 400 published scientific and clinical studies, Nature's Way Ginkgold ginkgo biloba extract has been proven to support healthy circulation to the brain as well as the extremities.
Herbal Remedies: Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, Vegetarian, 60 mg, 120 VCaps
Nature's Way Ginkgo biloba extract is a technically and scientifically advanced herbal extract standardized to 24% Ginkgo flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones, supported by whole Gotu Kola herb. Ginkgo biloba extract is the most frequently prescribed herbal extract by both doctors and pharmacists worldwide and is the best selling natural healthcare product in Europe.
Herbal Remedies: Ginkgo Supplements & Products
Goldenseal can be used to treat leg ulcers. Either make a Goldenseal tea (using water that has been sterilized by boiling prior to making the tea) or use alcohol-free Goldenseal extract. Use a piece of sterile gauze pad with a dropperful of extract or soaked in the tea and place it over the affected area.
Shaman Shop: Goldenseal Root Extract, Alcohol Free, Starwest Botanicals, 1 fl. oz.
Starwest Herbal Extracts are convenient to use, an excellent alternative to herb tea or capsules. Made by a cold process method that extracts the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals, and active constituents of the herb. Starwest Herbal Extracts are made to exacting standards. These extracts have a herb strength of 1 to 1. Packaged in 1 ounce (30 ml) amber bottles with a fitted neck dropper insert and sealed with a tamper-evident, child-proof lid. Goldenseal is a broad spectrum antibiotic and fungicide, effective against a wide range of topical and internal infections of the respiratory, digestive, and urinary tracts. Its use by Native America was widespread. It was used topically for skin and eye infections, as a mouthwash for canker sores, and as a tea for diarrhea, upper respiratory and vaginal infections. It was also used as a yellow dye for skins and fabrics.
Shaman Shop: Goldenseal Root Extract, Alcohol Free, Starwest Botanicals, 4 fl. oz.
This is Starwest's Alcohol Free Glycerites Extract, made with a vegetable glycerine base. Packaged in 1 ounce (30 ml) amber bottles with a fitted neck dropper insert and sealed with a tamper-evident, child-proof lid. Bulk sizes include 4 fl oz and 1 gallon bottles. These extracts are mostly Certified Kosher - all grown in compliance with the National Organic Program.
Herbal Remedies: Echinacea Goldenseal Tincture, Alcohol Free, Nature's Way, 1 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Goldenseal Supplements & Products
Hawthorn dilates the blood vessels, lower cholesterol levels, and protects the heart.
Herbal Remedies: Hawthorn Supplements & Products
HAWTHORNHawthorn is an effective herb for both high and low blood pressure because its powerful antioxidants protect blood vessels from damage while improving oxygen and blood delivery to the heart and the vessels. Simmer 1-2 tablespoons of hawthorn berries in 6 cups of water for 10 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of hawthorn flowers and leaves; steep 10 minutes more. Strain. Drink 3 cups daily.
Olive Leaf extract aids in preventing infection.
Shaman Shop: Olive Leaf Extract, Health & Herbs, 2 fl. oz.
Used as an infusion, decoction, extract and tincture. Olive leaves have always had a reputation as a health-enhancer. The leaves are astringent and antiseptic. Internally, a decoction of 2 handfuls boiled in a quart of water until reduced to half a pint has been used in obstinate fevers. Both leaves and bark have valuable febrifugal qualities. Modern research is centered on the olive leaf's powerful antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties, which support the immune system and yet do not harm beneficial bacteria. Olive leaf contains oleuropein and several types of flavonoids, including rutin, apigenin, luteolin. Oleuropein has been experimentally shown to decrease blood pressure and dilate the arteries surrounding the heart. Oleuropein inhibits the unhealthy oxidation of the 'bad' LDL cholesterol. LDL oxidation is a precursor to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Mediterranean peoples, who eat plenty of olive products, have a lower rate of atherosclerosis than people who do not. Oleuropein is converted in brine into elenolic acid, which has been clinically shown to have antibacterial actions against several species of human-infecting bacteria. Use 6-12 drops in juice, water, under the tongue or as desired. May be taken 2 times daily. Shake well. Store in cool dark place. Keep out of reach of children. About 30 dropperfuls per fl oz. 30-40 drops per dropperful. Herbal tinctures (extracts) are a highly effective way to administer herbs. They are very concentrated, they work faster than teas and are four to eight times stronger than capsules. Extracts are easily digestible and quickly assimilate into the system.
Shaman Shop: Olive Leaf Tea, 20 Tea Bags
Olive leaf is a delicious and natural tool to fight over one hundred viral and bacterial conditions. Olive Leaf is a caffeine free antioxidant with a mellow flavor that has also been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, improve respiratory response and improve skin health Olive Leaf Tea is flavorful itself and mixes very well with many other herbs and flavorings.
Herbal Remedies: Olive Leaf Herb, Nature's Way, 470 mg, 100 Caps
Europeans have used olive leaf herb for centuries for it's natural benefits. Traditionally grown in the Mediterranean regions of Europe and the Middle East, the olive tree has been used extensively as a source of food, flavoring and oil. - Olive Leaf Contains natural amounts of Oleuropin. Recently, numerous new studies have shown its benefit as an herbal supplement. Recommendation: In addition to the daily diet, take 3 capsules 2 - 3 times daily with water or food.
Herbal Remedies: Olive Leaf Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 500 mg, 60 Caps
Nature's Way Standardized Olive Leaf extract is a technically advanced herbal product. Standardization assures specific measurable levels of important compounds that provide beneficial activity in the body. Olive leaf extract standardized to 12 percent oleuropin. Scientifically & technically advanced premium extract. Olive Leaf (Olea europaea) herb has long been used for general well being and has been the focus of research since the 1800's. Oleuropin the bitter glycoside found in the leaves has been identified as a key constituent which provides some of the therapeutic benefits of Olive Leaf. Recommendation: Take 1 capsule two times daily with food or water.
Herbal Remedies: Olive Leaf & Olive Oil Supplements & Products
Unless otherwise specified, the following recommended doses are for adults. For a child between 12 and 17 years old, reduce the dose to 3/4 the recommended amount.
NUTRIENTS Supplement Suggested Dosage Comments Important Coenzyme Q-10 100 mg daily. Improves tissue oxygenation, increases circulation, and enhances immunity.
CoQ10, Vegetarian Coenzyme, NOW Foods, 30 mg, 60 VCaps,
CoQ10, Now Foods, 400 mg, 60 Softgels
Coenzyme A As directed on label. Works with coenzyme Q-10 to support the immune system's detoxification of many dangerous substances.
Pantethine (Coenzyme A Precursor), Highly Active Form of Vitamin B-5, 300 mg, NOW Foods, 60 Softgels
Dimethylglycine (DMG) 50 mg 3 times daily. Improves oxygen utilization in the tissue.
DMG Supplement N,N Dimethyl Glycine, NOW Foods, 125 mg, 100 Caps
Essential Fatty Acids
As directed on label. Reduces pain and helps to keep blood vessels soft and pliable.
Ultimate Oil, Essential Fatty Acids Supplement, Nature's Secret, 90 Softgels,
Barlean's Flax Oil, 100% Highest Lignan Content, Organic, Pesticide & Herbicide Free, 16 fl. oz.,
Barlean's Flax Oil, Highest Lignan, 1000 mg, 250 Caps
L-Glutathione As directed on label. Protects the heart, veins, and arteries from oxidant damage.
L-Glutathione, NOW Foods, 250 mg, 60 Caps,
ThioDox Glutathione Complex, Hypoallergenic, Allergy Research Group / Nutricology, 90 Tabs,
Glutathione With Vitamin C, Hypoallergenic, Allergy Research Group / Nutricology, 60 Caps
Grape Seed Extract
As directed on label.
As directed on label.
Stimulates blood circulation, boosts immunity, neutralizes free radicals, and strengthens connective tissue, including that of the cardiovascular system.
Pycnogenol W/ Vitamin E, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 50 mg, 30 Tabs,
Grape Seed (Grapeseed) (Vitus vinifera), 100% Pure, NOW Foods, 16 fl. oz.
Vitamin C With Bioflavonoids 3,000-6,000 mg daily. Aids circulation by reducing blood clotting tendencies.
Vitamin C Liquid w/ Rose Hips & Bioflavonoids, Kosher, Natural Citrus Flavor, Dynamic Health, 1000 mg, 16 fl. oz.,
Ester C With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 1000 mg, 90 Tabs,
Vitamin C 1000 With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 1000 mg, 250 VCaps,
The Right C, Nature's Way, 1000 mg, 120 Tabs
100 mg daily. To promote healing and prevent bruising.
Activated Quercetin Bioflavonoid Complex, Source Naturals, 50 Tabs
50 mg 3 times daily. A potent non-citrus bioflavonoid that helps maintain the strength of blood vessels. Important Garlic (Kyolic) 2 tablets 3 times daily, with meals. Enhances immune function.
Garlic Oil, NOW Foods, 1500 mg, 250 Softgels,
Garlic Bulb Cloves Supplement, Nature's Way, 580 mg, 100 Caps,
Super Odorless Garlic, NOW Foods, 5000 mg, 90 Caps,
Aged Garlic Extract, Cardiovascular Formula 100, Wakunaga Kyolic, 300 Caps,
Kyolic Liquid Aged Garlic Extract, Cardiovascular, Vegetarian, Wakunaga Kyolic, 4 fl. oz.,
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract, One Per Day, Vegetarian, Wakunaga Kyolic, 1000 mg, 30 Caps,
Aged Garlic Extract, Cholesterol Formula 104, Wakunaga Kyolic, 200 Caps
Vitamin E Start with 200-400 IU daily and increase slowly to 1,000 IU daily. If you have a clotting disorder or high blood pressure, start with 100 IU and increase slowly to 400 IU daily. Consult your health care provider if you are taking anticoagulant medication. Improves circulation and aids in preventing heavy feeling in the legs. Use d-alpha-tocopherol form. Emulsion form is recommended for easier assimilation and greater safety at high doses.
Ester E Natural Vitamin E, California Natural, 400 IU, 60 Softgels,
Vitamin E, 400 IU, 100% Natural, NOW Foods, 100 Gels,
Vitamin E-1000, NOW Foods, 1000 IU, 100 Gels,
Vitamin E, d-alpha-tocopherol, 400 IU, 100 Softgels
Helpful Advanced Carotenoid Complex
As directed on label. Contains antioxidants, immune enhancers, free radical scavengers, potential cancer fighters, and heart disease protectors. Aerobic Bulk Cleanse As directed on label. Take separately from other supplements and medications. Keeping the colon clean is important.
Ultimate Fasting Cleanse, Includes 2 Free CD's, Nature's Secret, 5 Part 5 Day Program
Body Essential Silica Gel
As directed on label. Good for healing of veins and skin tissues. Body Language Super Antioxidant
As directed on label. Protects the body from free radical damage, environmental stresses and pollutants.
Oxyfresh Products - Super Antioxidant
Brewer's Yeast As directed on label. Contains needed protein and B vitamins.
Brewer's Yeast, Debittered, NOW Foods, 1 lb.,
Brewer's Yeast, NOW Foods, 650 mg, 200 Tabs,
Other Nutritional Yeast Products:
Nutritional Yeast Flakes, Red Star, Vegetarian, NOW Foods, 10 oz.,
Liquid Yeast B Complex, TwinLab, 16 fl. oz.
1 Tablespoon 3 times daily, before meals.
1,200 mg 3 times daily, before meals. Take with vitamin E (below).
Fat emulsifier that aids circulation.
Lecithin Vegetarian Granules, NOW Foods, 97% Phosphatides, Identity Preserved Non-GE, 1 lb,
Lecithin Liquid, NOW Foods, Vegetarian, 16 fl. oz.,
Lecithin Concentrate, Nature's Way, 400 mg, 100 Softgels
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) As directed on label. Relieves pain and inflammation.
MSM Cream, With Methylsulfonylmethane, 2 oz.,
MSM Liquid, Pure Lignisul Methylsulfonylmethane, 16 fl. oz.,
MSM, Pure Lignisul Methylsulfonylmethane, 1000 mg, 240 Caps,
MSM, Pure Lignisul Methylsulfonylmethane, 500 mg, 250 Caps,
MSM Powder, Pure Lignisul Methylsulfonylmethane, 4 oz.
Multi-Vitamin & Multi-Mineral Complex As directed on label. All nutrients are needed in balance for healing and tissue repair.
Super Multi-Vitamin & Multi-Mineral, Pure Vital Earth, 32 fl. oz. (98% Bio-Available for Absorption), Damage Control Master Formula, High Potency, Multi-Vitamin & Mineral, 60 Packets (30 Day Supply)
Vitamin A 10,000 IU daily. If you are pregnant, do not exceed 10,000 IU daily. To enhance immunity, protect the cells, and slow the aging process.
Vitamin A, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 10,000 IU, 100 Softgels,
Vitamin A, Fish Liver Oil, NOW Foods, 25,000 IU, 250 Softgels,
Dry Vitamin A & D, Nature's Way, 15,000 IU / 400 IU, 100 Caps,
Shark Liver Oil, NOW Foods, 400 mg With 10,000 IU Vitamin A, 120 Softgels
Carotenoid Complex (Betatene)
As directed on label. An antioxidant and precursor of vitamin A. Needed by all cells for repair and rebuilding.
Beta Carotene (Natural Dunaliella Salina), Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 25,000 IU, 100 Softgels,
Multi-Carotene Antioxidant, Nature's Way, 60 Softgels
Vitamin B Complex 50-100 mg of each major B vitamin 3 times daily, with meals (amounts of individual vitamins in a complex will vary). B vitamins are needed to help in digestion of foods. Speeds healing time and aids all bodily functions. B vitamins work best when taken together. Sublingual forms are best for all the B vitamins.
Ultimate B (Vitamin B Complex), Nature's Secret, 60 Tabs,
Vitamin B-100 Complex, w/ Coenzyme B-2, Nature's Way, 631 mg, 100 Caps
Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine)
50 mg daily. B vitamins are needed to help in digestion of foods. Speeds healing time and aids all bodily functions. Deficiency has been linked to heart disease. Extremely important for formation of red blood cells and neurotransmitters.
Vitamin B-6 / Pyridoxine, Nature's Way, 100 mg, 100 Caps
Vitamin B-12 300-1,000 mcg twice daily. B vitamins are needed to help in digestion of foods. Speeds healing time and aids all bodily functions. To prevent anemia. Use a lozenge or sublingual form.
Vitamin B-12 Complex Liquid, NOW Foods, 2 fl. oz.,
Vitamin B-12, Nature's Way, 2000 mcg, 100 Sublingual Lozenges,
Vitamin B-12 Liquid Supplement, 50 mcg, With Vitamin B-9 (Folic Acid), 400 mcg, 1 oz.
Vitamin B-12, California Natural, 1000 mcg, 60 Tabs,
Vitamin B-12 LipoSpray, NOW Foods, 2 fl. oz.
Vitamin D-3 1,000 IU daily, at bedtime. Vitamin D combined with Calcium & Magnesium helps to relieve leg cramps.
Vitamin D, NOW Foods, 2000 IU, 120 SoftGels,
Vitamin D, NOW Foods, 1000 IU, 180 SoftGels,
Dry Vitamin D, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 400 IU, 100 Caps
Calcium 1,500 mg daily, at bedtime. Vitamin D combined with Calcium & Magnesium helps to relieve leg cramps. Use calcium chelate form.
Calcium Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 700 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.,
Liquid Calcium W/ConcenTrace, Orange Vanilla, Trace Minerals, 1000 mg, 32 fl. oz.,
Cal-Mag Pre-Chelated Calcium & Magnesium, Vital Earth, 240 Gelcaps
Magnesium 750 mg daily, at bedtime. Vitamin D combined with Calcium & Magnesium helps to relieve leg cramps. A natural blood thinner that reduces abnormal clotting. Vital for a healthy heart. Connected to over 300 enzyme actions controlling glucose, proteins, and fats. Works with calcium.
Magnesium Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 350 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.,
Just An Ounce Calcium & Magnesium Liquid, Almond Flavor, 16 fl. oz.,
Calcium & Magnesium Mineral Complex, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 500 mg / 250 mg, 250 Caps
Zinc 80 mg daily. Do not exceed a total of 100 mg daily from all supplements. Aids in healing and boosts immune function. Needed to maintain proper concentration of vitamin E in the body. Use zinc gluconate lozenges or OptiZinc for best absorption.
Zinc Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 100 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.,
Colloidal Silver & Zinc Lozenges, Silva Solution, 90 Lozenges,
Zinc Lozenges W/ Echinacea & Vitamin C, Nature's Way, 23 mg, 60 Lozenges,
Zinc (Chelated), 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 30 mg, 100 Caps,
3 mg daily. Needed to balance with zinc. A deficiency may be linked to some heart problems.
Copper Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 50 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.,
CIRCULATORY PROBLEMS SUPPLEMENTS & PRODUCTS
Supplements and products for varicose veins, enlarged and distended veins that occur most often in the legs and pelvis. Included are supplements and products for circulatory problems.
Alive! Whole Food Energizer, Multi-Vitamin With Mineral, Nature's Way, 18 mg of Iron Added, 90 Tabs
Nature's Way Alive multi-vitamin with mineral is better absorbed into your blood stream because its tablets disintegrate up to 5X faster than other leading brands. No other supplement contains more life-giving nutrients than Alive, which is just the way it will make you feel.
Barlean's Flax Oil, 100% Highest Lignan Content, Organic, Pesticide & Herbicide Free, 16 fl. oz.
Barlean's Flax Oil contains 25% more lignan bearing flax particulate than competing brands. Barlean's Flax Oil is one of the Nation's Top-10 Best Selling Health Products.
Bilberry Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 80 mg, 90 Caps
Nature's Way Bilberry Extract is high in the bioflavonoid complex anthocyanosides.
Bilberry Extract Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
Helpful with many different diseases of the eyes including vascular retinal disturbances, cataracts, diabetic-induced glaucoma, myopia, and all forms of eye strain.
Bilberry Leaf (Vaccinium Myrtillus) Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
Bilberry Leaf is used in connection with vascular and blood disorders and shows positive effects when treating varicose veins, thrombosis, and angina.
Blood Circulator, 100% Natural, Jingui Huayu, 450 mg, 60 Caps
This time-honored formula is used in Chinese medicine to promote micro-circulation, increase blood flow to heart muscles, open and clear arteries, inhibit intestinal adhesion, soothe the liver, remove stasis and maintain healthy blood circulation and regular menses.
Blood Pressure Balance, TCM Formula, Gegen Pingya, 100% Natural, 60 Caps
Blood Pressure Balance TCM Formula is made of pueraria root and lotus embryo, this well-known blood pressure herb formula is used in Chinese medicine to maintain healthy blood pressure and blood flow.
B-Stress Vitamin Complex With Siberian Eleuthrero (Siberian Ginseng), Nature's Way, 100 Caps
If you are looking for herbal stress relief, you will find B-Stress Vitamin Complex with Siberian Eleuthero, formerly Siberian Ginseng Root to be just what you are looking for.
Butcher's Broom Root, Nature's Way, 470 mg, 100 Caps
Popular in Europe for improving circulation in the legs, Butcher's Broom Root contains a mixture of steroidal saponins which produce a vasoconstrictive effect.
Butcher's Broom Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
Butchers Broom is a laxative and diuretic and it is also used to improve circulation problems, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, arteriosclerosis, and blood clots.
Cellfood Liquid Multi-Vitamin, 100% RDA Spray, 1 fl. oz.
Cellfood Liquid Multi-Vitamin has an absorption and assimilation rate of almost 20 times more than vitamin pill supplementation.
Cholesterol Guard Herbal Tea, 20 Tea Bags
A caffeine free Herbal Tea designed to disperse stagnant blood, soften and dilate blood vessels, to maintain healthy cholesterol level and normal blood pressure.
Coronary Ease For Heart Health, TCM Formula, Danshen Shuxion, 500 mg, 60 Caps
Made of extracts from red sage root, notoginseng root with rosewood oil, this well-known formula is used in traditional Chinese medicine to maintain regular heart beat and coronary health.
Evening Primrose Oil, Cold Pressed, Nature's Way, 500 mg, 250 Softgels
Nature's Way EFA Gold is the highest quality Evening Primrose Oil - guaranteed to contain 10% gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).
Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 800 mcg, 100 Caps
Nature's Way Folic Acid is 100% natural and contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
Garlic Oil Tincture, Alcohol Free, Nature's Way, 1 fl. oz.
Garlic oil is often used to soothe the ear and as an antibiotic but most often used as a food and herb and also to lower serum cholesterol and blood pressure and to improve circulation as well as possibly inhibiting the growth of ulcer causing bacteria.
Ginkgold, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Nature's Way, Vegetarian Standardized, 60 mg, 150 Tabs
Nature's Way Ginkgold ginkgo biloba extract has been proven to support healthy circulation to the brain as well as the extremities.
Grape Seed Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 100 mg, 30 Caps
Nature's Way Standardized Grape Seed Extract are technically and scientifically advanced herbal product.
Heart Formula With Hawthorn CoQ10 & Vitamin E, Nature's Way, 60 Caps
Heart Formula with Hawthorn CoQ10 & Vitamin E represents the powerful synergy of current scientific research and traditional herbal medicine. Key ingredients include Hawthorn Extract, CoQ10, and Natural Vitamin E.
Horse Chestnut Extract, Standardized, With Calendula, Nature's Way, 350 mg, 90 Caps
Nature's Way Horse Chestnut extract provides aescin, a saponin that has been shown to support healthy circulation, especially in the legs.
Lecithin Concentrate, Nature's Way, 400 mg, 100 Softgels
Nature's Way Lecithin Supplement is 100% natural from soy oil and it contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
Leg Veins Formula With Tru-OPC's. Nature's Way, 435 mg, 120 VCaps
Leg Veins Formula Vein Supplement with Tru-OPC's represents the powerful synergy of current scientific research and traditional herbal medicine.
L-Proline, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 120 VCaps
L-Proline is an amino acid that is essential for the synthesis of collagen, the most abundant protein in mammals. Collagen is the main structural protein that constitutes all human connective tissues, including skin, tendons, ligaments, joints, bone, and vasculature (veins and arteries). L-Proline therefore provides building blocks that help to stabilize and strengthen the structural components of the body.
Nattokinase for Circulatory Health, Vegetarian, NOW Foods, 100 mg, 60 VCaps
Natto has been consumed safely for thousands of years for its numerous health benefits. More recently, both clinical and non-clinical studies have demonstrated that Nattokinase supports heart health and promotes healthy circulation.
PlasminPlus Thrombolytic, 250 mg, 36 Caps
In China, Plasmin Plus Thrombolytic is used for stroke victims that have suffered paralysis or brain damage, blood clots in the legs and brain, poor circulation, clogged arteries, and to prevent thrombosis associated with airline travel.
Selenium, 100% Natural, 200 mcg, 100 Caps
Selenium is an essential component of glutathione, the body's most potent natural antioxidant system. It is a popular choice in many antioxidant regimens.
Varicose Veins Wellness Oil, Nature's Inventory, 2 fl. oz.
This oil should be massaged from the ankle up your legs for best results. Use daily and you will see a difference in your veins.
Vitamin A, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 10,000 IU, 100 Softgels
Nature's Way vitamin A is 100% natural from fish liver oil. It contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
Vitamin B-100 Complex With Coenzyme B-2, Nature's Way, 631 mg, 100 Caps
A complete Vitamin B complex of 8 essential vitamins. B Vitamins are precursors of coenzymes involved in the conversion of cellular energy, manufacture of hormones and proteins, and repair and maintenance of nerve structures.
Vitamin B-12 Complex Liquid, NOW Foods, 2 fl. oz.
Vitamin B-12 Helps to maintain a healthy nervous system, and helps in the prevention of pernicious anemia. Folic Acid should be taken by all females of child bearing age to help prevent neuro-tube birth defects. Folic acid is also linked to heart health.
Vitamin C 500 With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 500 mg, 250 Caps
Vitamin C 500 With Bioflavonoids provides antioxidant protection for many of the body's important enzyme systems.
Vitamin C 1000 With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 1000 mg, 250 VCaps
Nature's Way Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids provides antioxidant protection for many of the body's important enzyme systems.
Vitamin E (D-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate), 100% Natural, NOW Foods, 400 IU, 250 Softgels
Vitamin E is a major antioxidant and the primary defense against lipid peroxidation. It is particularly important in protecting the body's cells from free radical/oxidative damage.
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana) Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
Witch Hazel can be taken internally for diarrhea and hemorrhage or externally as a rinse or gargle for sore throats.
Yarrow Tincture (Achillea Millefolium), 2 fl. oz.
Yarrow is well-known for its use as a remedy for cold, flu and fever and also for its skin wound healing and antibiotic properties.
Herbal Remedies: Varicose Vein Information
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CONTACTING MEDICAL CARE
Self-care - such as exercise, elevating your legs or wearing compression stockings - can help you ease the pain of varicose veins and may prevent them from getting worse. But if you are concerned about how your veins look and feel and self-care measures have not stopped your condition from getting worse, see your health care provider.
If a person has varicose veins, any of the following warrant a visit to a health care provider:
- Inflammation, discoloration, or ulceration of the skin or swelling of the calf or leg is more typical of problems related to the deeper veins, especially a blood clot.
- Unexplained pain or swelling in a leg particularly suggests a blood clot. Varicose veins by themselves do not usually cause a leg to swell.
- Varicose veins alone are relatively harmless, but every now and then they can cause minor problems.
- If the skin overlying the vein is thin or irritated, minor trauma from a bump or even shaving can tear the vein and cause bleeding. In this case, elevating the leg and applying pressure for several minutes should be enough to stop the bleeding. If it does not, you may need to visit your hospital emergency department.
- If, at any time, you feel chest pain or have trouble breathing, this may indicate the presence of a blood clot in the blood vessels of the heart or lungs. You should go to a hospital emergency department immediately.
- Having varicose veins does not necessarily mean you will eventually have a blood clot or that a blood clot somehow caused them. In rare instances, however, a clot increases pressure in the veins by blocking blood flow. This elevated pressure will cause backward flow of blood through weakened valves, creating varicose veins. For this reason, you should see your health care provider if your leg is swollen or if you experience worsening pain in the leg, or if you should suddenly develop varicose veins and you do not have any of the common risk factors such as pregnancy.
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