I remember the first time I ever saw ‘spiders on a leg’ was when I was a little girl of no more than 8 years old. Of course at that time I had no idea what they were called but I did know that they were scary and painful looking pop-out veins. I first came to notice about them when I saw them on my own mother while she was pregnant with my brother. On the back of her legs where she once had smooth beautiful skin, the alarming appearance of dark blue and purple lines forming erratic patterns across her skin’s surface had taken over. But I do believe the unsightliness was nothing as disturbing as the amount of pain and discomfort it caused her.
So that’s varicose veins for you and the less severe version of that would be the spider veins. But why does it form and what’s the cure for it. I guess even in the simplest explanation, we’ve got to tell you a little something about the human circulatory system. So here goes, the human blood circulation system is made up of a network of arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood from your heart to the organs and tissues in your body while veins return the used blood back to your heart.
Easy as pie right? But it’s a little more complex than just that because in order to return the blood, your veins have the daunting task to work against gravity. That’s why the muscles in your leg contract, to help pump that blood back up towards your heart. And to help that flow, inside each vein are tiny one-way valves that function to only let blood through then close to prevent backwards traffic.
Varicose veins form when that system slacks – either through weakened vein walls or defective valves – blood flows backwards and is collected in the vein causing them to bulge and become visible on the skin.
Certain conditions aggravate the condition but we won’t get into details with those. Instead what we’d like to do is talk about what can be done about those veins.
If you seek conventional treatment, surgery is usually involved. One of the most common being ligation & stripping- where they tie up the affected vein and then pulled out – sounds nasty doesn’t it?
Unless your condition is very bad, you may want to avoid invasive surgery and give the following options a try:
1. Bamboo silk compression socks/stockings
These will help apply pressure to your legs to improve your circulation. Often tightest at the ankle and gradually loosing as they go further up your leg to encourage blood to flow upwards back towards your heart.
2. Extract of Horse Chestnut
Native to Asia, the active ingredient in horse chestnut is a compound called aescin. Aescin has the ability to block the release of enzymes that damage capillary walls.
3. Herbs that strengthen walls of veins.
Grape seed, pine bark and butcher’s broom all contain anti-oxidants and collagen strengthening properties that help maintain the connective tissue structure of blood vessels.