Varicose Veins: What are they and how can we treat them?

Varicose veins are, at best unpleasant to look at and at worst painful and hazardous to your health. They are

Varicose veins are, at best unpleasant to look at and at worst painful and hazardous to your health. They are characterised by a large, dark blue appearance just under the skin of our legs and are, unfortunately, one of the more upsetting parts of ageing.

They are twisted, widened and darkish-blue veins and are caused when weak or damaged valves allow blood to back up and pool, causing them to swell.

Causes of varicose veins

There are many factors that contribute to the cause of varicose veins these being:

  • Age – as you get older, your veins can lose elasticity causing them to stretch
  • Standing or sitting for long periods
  • Being immobile for long periods – for example, being confined to bed
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity
  • Genetics
  • Pregnancy

Are they dangerous?

Usually, no treatment is needed if you have varicose veins and you don’t need to see a doctor unless there is swelling, inflammation or pain in the area.

What removal options are there?

Most doctors will recommend that you do not do remove varicose veins, but if sever symptoms (such as pain) occurs, surgery might be recommended. Blood will usually divert into other veins if one is removed or blocked so surgery usually doesn’t cause any problems. However, some side effects can include bruising, swelling, skin discoloration and mild pain.

  • Sclerotherapy – a chemical is injected to scar the inside of the vein, making it close off and fade away. This can be done in a doctor’s office and may require additional treatments.
  • Laser surgery – directed light makes smaller varicose veins fade away
  • Endoscopic vein surgery – the doctor makes a small cut near a varicose vein and looks through a tiny camera to close it off.
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy – the doctor makes small cuts in your skin to remove smaller veins close to the surface.
  • Vein stripping and ligation – this is only for severe cases that involves tying the veins shut and remove the veins through cuts. Sometimes you may need to stay in hospital for 1-2 weeks.

If you would prefer to avoid surgery or treatment, you can wear support stockings that lift the leg veins.

You could also try some of these home remedies to reduce the size:

  • Apple cider vinegar

Gently massage apple cider vinegar onto the veins twice daily to improve blood flow and circulation which can help veins move blood more effectively and reduce the appearance.

  • Garlic

Rub a clove of garlic on your veins, it works to reduce inflammation and breakdown harmful toxins in blood vessels.

  • Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is effective in strengthening blood vessels and can reduce swelling. Place a cotton ball soaked in witch hazel on your veins three times a day.

  • Grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can strengthen and repair damaged capillaries and blood vessels. Massage the oil over your veins twice daily to see results.

  • Cayenne pepper

Adding one teaspoon of powder to a cup of hot water and drinking it twice a day is said to be a miracle treatment for varicose veins.

  • Olive oil

Mix equal amounts of olive oil and vitamin E oil and massage onto veins to increase blood circulation.


Have you tried any of these?