How can I Minimize Varicose Veins?

Niki Foster
Niki Foster

Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted, typically in the legs. They are larger and more serious than the common condition of spider veins. Varicose veins may be treated surgically, but there are also ways to minimize varicose veins and perhaps prevent the need for an invasive treatment.

Aspirin may be helpful in minimizing varicose veins.
Aspirin may be helpful in minimizing varicose veins.

Part of the problem with varicose veins is that they are unable to return blood to the heart effectively. For this reason, anything that reduces the pressure on the veins to pump blood back up the body can help minimize them, or at least the pain and swelling associated with the condition. Elevating the legs above the heart whenever possible is helpful, and it can also help to wear compression stockings when on your feet.

Compression socks may help minimize varicose veins.
Compression socks may help minimize varicose veins.

Certain medications can help minimize varicose veins. Aspirin and ibuprofen act as anti-inflammatory and blood thinning drugs, and they can therefore help alleviate the condition. Taking too much of these drugs can cause greater problems, however, so only begin a regimen under the advice of a medical professional. Diosmin is prescribed in Europe to treat varicose veins, but it has not been approved as a drug by the United States Food and Drug Administration. It is available in the United States as a dietary supplement.

If compression stockings and medication are unsuccessful against varicose veins, there are medical procedures that can help. Sclerotherapy, in which the veins are injected with a medication to make them shrink, is most often used in conjunction with surgery, but may also be used alone, depending upon the specific case.

The traditional surgery to minimize varicose veins, known as vein stripping, is still the most common surgical treatment, but it is no longer the only option. Vein stripping involves removing the affected veins with old-fashioned surgical tools, rather than lasers or radio waves. The vein is pulled out through an incision in the groin using a special wire. Laser surgery and radiofrequency ablation are two new, noninvasive procedures, but their long-term effectiveness is unknown. All of the surgeries for varicose veins just remove the veins in question; there is currently no way to repair them.

Varicose or bulging veins can occur on other parts of the body, but are typically associated with the legs..
Varicose or bulging veins can occur on other parts of the body, but are typically associated with the legs..
Niki Foster
Niki Foster

In addition to her role as a wiseGEEK editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interesting and unusual topics in order to get ideas for her own articles. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she majored in Linguistics and Anthropology.

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Discussion Comments

anon160761

Thanks for the information. I am a nurse who is working in ccu, so I am at risk for varicose veins. Hope this information helps me to overcome this disease.

anon3231

THANKSOMUCH FOR THE GREAT INFORMATION...I am a lucky lady, and have no trouble with veins, but Mother did, and

I am familiar with the topic and verify its accuracy. So many nice ways to deal with this very common condition! ONE PLEA: can medicine find a better name for it than "Vein STRIPPING"....when Mother had to have hers done, the name was enough to stand the hair on end, throughout our home....like strip-mining...a brutal sound. Thanks again...e

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