Varicose veins might not be considered a dangerous condition, but they can still cause a host of unpleasant symptoms. Hence, it’s understandable for people to seek out quick, easy, at-home solutions to the condition. But, is it possible to treat or cure varicose veins at home? From apple cider vinegar to topical creams, let’s go over the effectiveness of some of the common methods.
The difference between varicose vein cures, treatments, and remedies
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for varicose veins. Even if you seek medical treatment, you still have dozens of other veins, all with their own valves, and all technically able to turn varicose.
Remedies like walking and compression socks are good options if you’re not yet feeling varicose veins symptoms of itching, swelling, and pain. Treatment is generally only recommended when the condition causes discomfort. Remedies can also be effective in helping you manage such symptoms while you wait for treatment.
Apple cider vinegar
Some sources suggest that to relieve symptoms, you can:
- Massage apple cider vinegar into the area surrounding the varicose veins.
- Dip gauze into the vinegar and then wrap it around your affected limb.
- Mix it with cayenne pepper and water and drink it.
Some people believe that due to its high vitamin C and bioflavonoid content, it will help strengthen vein walls and reduce swelling. While vitamin C and bioflavonoids ARE important to vein health and can potentially relieve some symptoms, they won’t fix the underlying issue.
You should also note that there haven’t been many clinical studies proving that apple cider vinegar is effective for symptom relief. The one study that noted some apple cider vinegar effectiveness had participants elevate their legs after wrapping them with vinegar-soaked gauze. As elevating the legs IS a proven way to relieve symptoms, these results are inconclusive.
Elevating the legs
Elevating the legs is an effective way to use gravity to your veins’ advantage. The legs have an especially difficult time pulling blood up to the heart when you’re standing or sitting down. So, take a few minutes every day to prop your feet up above your heart level.
Massaging the legs when there’s varicose vein pain can be a great way to bring relief when the symptoms strike. Gently massaging the legs with mild massage oil or better yet moisturiser is the best way to help here. Make sure you don’t put pressure directly on the veins, as that may damage the strained and fragile vessel walls and cause bleeding in the surrounding tissue.
Essential oils for varicose veins
Currently, there is no research proving that essential oils are an effective varicose vein remedy. And there’s no research proving they’re a cure.
However, research HAS shown that lavender oil can reduce the size and duration of ulcers (a common complication of varicose veins). Research has also shown that rosemary oil can help boost circulation and relieve pain.
We’d recommend gently massaging the oils into the problem area. Just make sure to do a skin test if you’ve never used these oils before to avoid an allergic reaction.
Exercise for varicose veins
Physical activity is a great way to boost circulation, tone the muscles that assist your veins in pumping blood to the heart, and move congested blood out of the varicose vein. But, you should be mindful of the kind of exercise you do.
- Yoga, walking, and swimming are low-impact activities that have all the aforementioned benefits. They also won’t put too much strain on your veins
- Weightlifting and competitive sports (while still good for toning the muscle and getting the blood pumping), can overwhelm the already struggling varicose vein. Strenuous exercise results in your muscle tissue requiring a lot more oxygen and nutrients in a shorter time span. And while the arteries and capillaries generally won’t have an issue with getting that blood into the muscle, the veins could struggle to keep up.
Don’t stand or sit too long
Sitting or standing for long periods without a break in between can worsen your condition.
Essentially, your veins fight hard to move blood back up to your heart. The gravitational pull from standing and the pressure from sitting make it harder. And make it easier for blood to start pooling.
So, if you’re stuck in an office, behind a retail counter, or behind the wheel for long hours, do your best to take a break to wander around or do some exercises.
What you eat affects varicose vein symptoms and the health of your other veins. A diet rich in fibre, vitamin C, vitamin D, and antioxidants will help keep your healthy veins strong and reduce the strain on your varicose vein.
A diet high in salt, alcohol, and transfats, meanwhile, can slow your circulation and put increased pressure on your abdominal veins (via constipation). With the abdominal veins under increased strain, varicose veins in the legs will have an even harder time trying to circulate blood out.
Compression socks and stockings are another good way to relieve varicose veins. Medical-grade compression will gently squeeze your legs, activating the muscles so they act as more efficient pumps to better assist your leg veins. They’ll also help move blood out of congested surface veins and into the deep veins, which then, supported by the muscles, will move it to the heart.
Topical creams and dietary supplements
Topical creams and dietary supplements can be effective in some cases. Creams like Varesil and CremeVital are formulated to tighten the skin and relieve some swelling, though reviews on the products’ effectiveness are mixed. As of yet, there are no clinical studies proving the creams can eliminate varicose veins.
Vitamins C and D can help keep veins healthy and relieve some symptoms. But, we do want to note that the body will automatically get rid of any vitamins it doesn’t need. So if your diet is already rich in them, it’s unlikely that dietary supplements will do much for you.
Clothing that’s tight-fitting might look good, but it can cause restriction of blood flow and dry out the skin. Wearing looser fitting clothes, especially around your legs, waist and hips, will help keep a regular blood flow and reduce varicose symptoms.
Additionally, high heels limit blood flow by restricting blood vessels and weakening the calf muscles that pump blood up the legs. Switch to joggers or flats where you can.
Seek specialist advice
Conservative methods like dietary changes, exercise, compression socks, and exercise are good ways to slow varicose vein progression and relieve symptoms. As every case is different, we’d recommend mixing and matching these methods to see what works best for you.
But if you are starting to experience symptoms like itching, swelling, and pain, it may be best to seek specialist care. We at The Vein Institute specialise in treating varicose leg veins. With safe, effective, and minimally-invasive treatments, your veins will be in safe hands.
If you’re ready to start your treatment journey, call us at 13 VEINS (that’s 13 83467) or request an appointment online.