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  • Writer's picturemichellepick5andpr

Out of the Web… Spider and Varicose Veins, what are They? What can You do about Them?






~ Michelle Tonkin ND


When someone thinks of Spiders, scary images or a familiar superhero may pop up in their head. But what if the Spiders that keep you up at night are not imaginary or an insect, but something that shows up on your physical body??







Varicose and Spider Veins for some people are just a nuisance, a cosmetic issue. However, for others they can be a source of not only cosmetic irritation, but physical as well.


What are They?


“Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn. They result from a weakening in the blood vessel wall or from faulty valves” ~ https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/cosmetic-procedures-spider-veins


This condition usually shows up in trunk area of the body (i.e. legs or sacrum), but they can essentially be seen anywhere. Spider veins on the other hand, have a web or branch like appearance and are a milder form of Varicose and tend to be smaller in appearance with “red, purple, and blue vessels that also twist and turn.” ~https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/varicose-veins/symptoms-causes/syc-20350643


Unlike Varicose veins, they normally are seen on facial or leg regions of the body.




How many ppl are affected?


It is estimated that 23% of those adults from ages 40-80 in the US (11 million men, and 22 million women) have varicose veins. (Those with chronic vascular issues account for around 2 million men and women) That percentage however makes a significant jump to 80% men and 85% of women, if spider veins are also included!


~https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.008331#d3e196







Fortunately, Varicose veins may not cause pain issues. However, if you start to have any of the below symptoms, it may be wise to consult a health care practitioner to rule out any possible medical concerns.

Symptoms to Look out for:

  • An achy or heavy feeling in the legs

  • Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in the lower legs

  • Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time

  • Itching around one or more of the veins

  • Changes in skin color around a varicose vein

List from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/varicose-veins/symptoms-causes/syc-20350643




What are the Causes?


There are a number of factors that can put one at risk for developing either Spider and/or Varicose Veins. These can include:

  • Heredity

  • Occupations that involve a lot of standing, such as nurses, hair stylists, teachers, and factory workers

  • Obesity

  • Hormonal influences of pregnancy, puberty, and menopause

  • The use of birth control pills

  • Postmenopausal hormone replacement

  • A history of blood clots

  • Conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen, such as tumors, constipation, and externally worn garments like girdles

  • Injury or trauma to the skin

  • Excessive sun exposure

  • Some medications, including anabolic steroids.

  • Excessive alcohol consumption (facial veins)

List from:

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/cosmetic-procedures-spider-veins



Natural Solutions?





While Varicose and Spider Veins can be problematic both cosmetically and physically. There are some natural solutions which may prove helpful, especially when looking to improve vascular health in the long run.



1. Exercise


Exercise has been well known to only improve circulation, but also to decrease inflammation in the body. It has been shown that poor posture such as in sitting in the “text neck” position, crossing one’s legs for an extended period of time, or even standing too long can increase one’s risk for varicose veins. Sitting still for too long, makes it harder on the body to get that blood moving, so make sure to take breaks at school or in the office and stretch out those legs! Exercise is also great to help maintain healthy weight and even aids in balancing hormones.



2. Eat a Healthy Diet


As inflammation can increase one’s risk for Varicose and Spider Veins, its important to incorporate a heart healthy diet into one’s regime. The best foods for this include those that have a high fiber content, potent antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. The best overall diet for most people would be the whole foods- based diet. This diet supplies the body with a wide variety of nutrients which not only keeps the body in tip top shape, but also helps to fight the aging process and surprise! It can taste great too! A whole food diet consists of foods such as: whole grains, (gluten free too) fruits, vegetables, beans, lean meats, dairy products (organic if possible) (milk, eggs, cheese, butter, keifer), root vegetables, herbal teas, 100% fruit juices, water. etc. Cereals, boxed, canned and frozen foods can also be used, but is best to use them more sparingly and try to buy those that are more minimally processed or organic. For those who are on the go and are looking for a convenient and great tasting way to stay fueled up check this out!



3. Essential Oils


Essential Oils have also been shown to help aid in improving circulation, decreasing inflammation and even helping to balance the hormones! Cypress oil has been shown to specifically be helpful with vein conditions. It is suggested to use five drops of Cypress Essential Oil mixed with a carrier oil (lotion or olive oil etc.) and applied 2x/day to the affected area(s) for a few weeks.


Some other helpful Oils Include:

  • Tea tree

  • Geranium

  • Cypress

  • Lemongrass

  • Lavender

  • Yarrow


4. Apple Cider Vinegar


One remedy that may surprise you, is Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple Cider vinegar is known for its ability to increase blood flow and thus is recommended for those dealing with Varicose and/or Spider veins. It is suggested to apply a cloth soaked in vinegar on the affected area(s) for a period of 20-30 mins.


5. Herbs and Supplements





There are a variety of supplements available to help those deal with Varicose and or Spider Veins.


Two well-known herbs such as Bilberry and Horse Chestnut have been used for many millennia and are believed to be safe and effectual in treatment of varicose vein conditions. They have also been shown to help with water retention, vascular issues, diarrhea, cramping, PMS, swelling and skin issues. The fruit of the Bilberry can also be eaten or made into a tea. It is also used to make extracts. The Horse Chestnut tree can also be made into an extract, capsules, or even creams/lotion. The active ingredient in Horse Chestnut is aescin and it is suggested to get a standardized extract which contains between 16-20% of this active ingredient. The suggested dosage of Horse Chestnut is 100 milligrams and is to be taken 1x/day. The suggested dosage of Bilberry is 160 milligrams, 2x/day.






“In addition, you can combine these with butcher’s broom (200 milligrams daily), grape seed extract (200 milligrams daily) and vitamin E (400 IU daily) to help boost blood flow, protect veins and achieve natural blood-thinning effects safely.” ~ https://draxe.com/health/varicose-veins/



It also suggested to intake Bioflavonoids to aid in reducing swelling and pain. This can be found in foods such as pine bark, hawthorn berry, blueberry, cranberry, as well as foods that contain Vitamin C.







Other Solutions:

It is highly recommended that one tries more natural means first before engaging in other procedures such as the ones listed below. Please consult with a health care practitioner.


Sclerotherapy: This is done to help in pain relief and also as a preventative in bleeding or ulcers. This is a procedure in which a salt solution or “specially made detergent is injected directly into the vein.” This solution causes the vein to be irritated, scaring it from the inside and causing it to eventually collapse. The vein disappears anywhere between 3-6 weeks and for larger veins can take up to 6 months.


Endovenous laser ablation: in this procedure a very “small laser fiber is inserted into the vein.” ~ Varicose Veins and Spider Veins: Causes and Treatments (webmd.com)


A small incision is made near the vein and a catheter is inserted. At the tip of this catheter is a device which heats the vein inside. The laser pulses light inside the vein and the vein collapses. This procedure is considered pretty safe with minimal risks. However, there are some risks, such as:


“infection, damage to the blood vessel, inflammation of the vein, and, rarely, heat damage to nerves, although this typically goes away in a short time. In extremely rare cases, blood clots that form in the veins can travel to the lungs” ~ Varicose Veins and Spider Veins: Causes and Treatments (webmd.com)


Radiofrequency occlusion: In this procedure a little catheter in placed inside the vein which delivers a radiofrequency inside the vein which causes it to “heat, collapse, and seal shut.”


Surgery: Surgery is also an option which can include anything from tying veins shut, removing the vein surgically and even removing larger sections through “very small incisions.” ~Varicose Veins and Spider Veins: Causes and Treatments (webmd.com)


However, even though these types of surgeries are considered lower risk, it is always wise to consult your health practitioner as there are always risks and complications that can occur.


Summary


Varicose and Spider Veins affect millions of men and women in just the United States alone. While some may find these conditions a cosmetic nuisance, others may experience issues with these conditions that can include pain even hindering their daily lives. Fortunately for a majority of suffers, there are natural solutions that may not only provide relief, but also encourage whole body health and wellness!


References https://www.yourveincarecenter.com/what-are-the-best-natural-remedies-for-spider-veins/


https://draxe.com/health/varicose-veins/


https://www.veincenterofarizona.com/chronic-venous-insufficiency/spider-veins/


https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/cosmetic-procedures-spider-veins




https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/varicose-veins/symptoms-causes/syc-20350643


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