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Sunday, November 10, 2013

I Have Ugly Varicose Veins and Spider Veins

Disclaimer:  I am not a medical doctor or health care practitioner.  The contents of this blog reflects my personal experience and opinion.  It is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice.  For any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a licensed doctor or health care practitioner.  


Since, I my mid-twenties I have had a problem with varicose veins and spider veins in my legs.  They've gotten worse over the years.  My condition is mainly cosmetic and I had not experienced any major medical complications due to the varicose veins.  Also, according to what I occasionally see on the Internet and out in public, many people have it far worse than I do.  Still, I don't like the way that they look, and I generally don't wear short skirts without also wearing concealing stockings or short pants because of the appearance of the varicose veins and spider veins.  

Veins are the blood vessels which function to carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart,  from the tissues.  Varicose veins are formed in some people that have hereditary weakening of the valves in the veins.  The weak valves, cause blood to pool in the vein, resulting in bulging, twisted, bluish-green veins near the surface of the skin.  Spider veins are similar, except they are mainly formed in smaller blood vessels.
I am not surprised that I have varicose veins, because it runs on my mother's side of the family.  My mother has them after giving birth to several children, my sisters have them, and my brother has varicose veins.  In addition, I have struggled with weight problems most of my adult life.  Also, I have worked in job fields for several years, which required standing for very long periods.  

Besides it being a hereditary condition, certain other people are more prone to developing varicose veins.  Pregnant women, overweight people, and those that sit or stand for long periods of time may be at increased risk of developing varicose veins.   I would tell most people that have a predisposition towards forming varicose veins, that they should take measures to try and prevent them from forming (although this may be impossible for some people).  

Well, it is too late for me to prevent varicose veins, but at least there are options available to me to keep the conditioning from worsening.  I did visit a doctor several years ago about treatment for my varicose veins.  He explained all of the choices of treatment available, as well the side effects for each.  Since my veins weren't all that noticeable back then, he recommended sclerotherapy and compression stockings.  

Sclerotherapy involves injecting the varicose veins with a chemical which will cause it to close off and disappear.  I decided to pass on the sclerotherapy, because I am fearful of invasive forms of treatment and their possible side effects.  I went out and bought a few pairs of compression stockings and I started using them on and off since then.

Now, my varicose veins have worsened because I took a position a few years ago that required me to stand and walk around for most of the work day.  My legs would throb and sometimes give a burning sensation from all the walking and standing. I slacked off and stopped using the compression stockings and the varicose veins began to reappear and worsen.  They appear only on my feet, lower legs and thighs.  I am lucky in that respect, because there are people that have thousands of spider veins and varicose veins on the face, chest, arms, and legs.  

I don't want to ever get to that point, so I bought a couple of pairs of new compression stockings.  My legs don't hurt so much, now that I have resumed using the compression stockings. The idea with compression stockings is that they apply gentle to firm pressure on the legs, in order to alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins, such as swelling and pain, and stimulate the circulation in the legs.  The two brands that I purchased were Truform Leg Health, knee high compression stockings and Futuro Energizing Ultra Sheer Knee Highs for Women.  

I plan to continue wearing the compression stockings through out my day and elevate my legs above my heart in the evenings before bed.  I started my exercise routine to lose weight, too.  This will take some of the pressure off my legs and hopefully, lessen the appearance of the varicose veins and spider veins. I am in the process of researching herbal supplements that may help with varicose veins.   I will monitor how things turn out over the next several months and keep you posted.  

© Copyright 2013 Susan Broadbelt 

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