The most common myths about varicose veins debunked

How many of these myths have you believed?

Nobody wants them, but some of us do… Varicose veins — the purple and occasionally bulging lines on your legs or ankles.

Have you ever wondered what causes your varicose veins or what you can do about them? There are plenty of myths about them, as Starts at 60 has discovered.

Myth 1: Varicose veins are caused because you cross your legs
According to Dr James Bekeny, a vascular surgeon at Cleveland Clinic in the United States, “Crossing legs does not cause varicose veins. Neither does wearing tight shoes or tight pants — although these things can exacerbate varicose veins if you already have them.”

It is true however, that increased pressure on the area can cause the vein to bulge as blood pools inside it, but it’s not external pressure that does it. Dr Bekeny says your varicose veins are more likely caused by defective valves or weakened vein walls.

Myth 2: If your family has varicose veins, you’ll have them too
Not true. Your parents or grandparents might have had them but varicose veins are not hereditary and so that is no indication you will get them also. What the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute found was that varicose veins were only ran in the family for half of all people who have them.

Myth 3: Massage is a cure for varicose veins
While massage is great for reducing swelling or discomfort, it won’t get rid of your varicose veins completely. Proven ways to treat your varicose veins, especially when you are suffering swollen legs, ankles or feet; have muscle cramps, throbbing soreness or aching legs; or have legs that feel ‘heavy’ include injections and laser therapy.

Myth 4: Women should wait until they have finished have children before seeking treatment
Dr Bekeny says there is no need to wait. “Women may benefit from having early treatment, even before becoming pregnant,” he says.

Myth 5: Tatts are bad for varicose veins

Dr Bekeny also says there is no know relationship between the two.

While avoiding varicose veins might be difficult to do entirely, you can delay the condition or reduce the amount they are visible by maintaining a healthy weight and wearing compression stockings if you stand for a long period of time.

Do you have varicose veins? Have you sought treatment for them? Are you concerned about their appearance?

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