Welcome to week five of our Beautiful, Healthy You series!  You can catch up on previous posts (and take a peek at upcoming posts) right here.

Today I want to talk about a health issue that is common (but not exclusive) to mamas: varicose veins.  

I treat varicose veins naturally, and it works!

My first symptoms of varicose veins appeared 4 1/2 months into my second pregnancy (about eight-and-a-half years ago).  When I mentioned my symptoms to my doctor and she confirmed that I was dealing with varicose veins, her off-handed remark was, “There’s not much you can do about it.  They’ll keep getting worse, especially if you keep having babies.”

(Thankfully, all doctors are not so unsupportive!)

While this prediction has been partly true, I’m thankful that there are effective and natural solutions!  I do still “deal” with varicose veins (although they are mostly problematic during pregnancy), but I don’t just “deal” with them.  I treat them!  

At the end of this post I’ll share the natural protocol I’ve used over the years to treat my varicose veins, but first-

What are varicose veins, and what cases them?  

Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps to prevent blood from flowing backwards as it moves up your legs. If the valves become damaged or weak, blood can leak back into the veins and collect there. (This problem is called venous insufficiency.) When backed-up blood makes the veins bigger, they can become abnormally swollen or dilated (varicose). 

Varicose veins are often hereditary.  They are frequently caused (or made worse) by pregnancy, obesity, prolonged standing, and chronic strain.

Varicose veins tend to worsen with subsequent pregnancies and age.

Varicose veins can be more prominent or first appear during menstruation or pregnancy, and they may be more bothersome during these times.  (This has certainly been my experience!)

What are the symptoms?

Varicose veins most commonly develop in the legs and ankles;  vulvar varicosities tend to occur most often during pregnancy.

I probably don’t have to tell you about the symptoms (since you’re reading this, you likely already have first-hand experience), but here is a list of common symptoms of varicose veins:

  • burning sensation (can be mild or quite painful)
  • heaviness/pressure
  • visibly swollen, bulging veins at the surface of skin
  • pain or cramps in legs (or affected areas) after prolonged standing

What can you do about varicose veins?

Despite my doctor’s just-deal-with-it approach back in 2006, over the years I’ve discovered many effective means of strengthening  and healing varicose veins.

Here are a few things that work for me.

Exercise

Exercising in general is beneficial for varicose veins, but walking in particular seems the most beneficial way to improve circulation and relieve discomfort.

 

image courtesy

Another simple trick I discovered during pregnancy was to take time out for a few minutes to lie on my back and put my feet up.

Lying on the floor with your feet propped on a stool or low chair for at least 5 minutes is best.  This gets the circulation going again, provides a short reprieve during a busy day, and also helps with backaches.

Chiropractic adjustment

I’ve noticed a marked improvement in the health of my veins after an adjustment by a chiropractor.  In fact, if walking or other exercising does not seem to be helping, usually a trip to the chiropractor will do the trick.

Support Hose

I found support pantyhose to be a rather cumbersome but absolutely necessary life saver.

I’m not a big pantyhose fan  (in fact, I pretty much hate pantyhose) but I wore these babies daily during my last four pregnancies, simply for the fact that they kept my legs from killing me!

I have tried several brands of maternity support hose and found most of them to be uncomfortable, ill-made, and very unsupportive (not to mention expensive). The only brand I whole-heartedly recommend is Gabrialla.

I recommend Amazon’s Gabrialla Store for great prices on an array of maternity support items (including panties, belts and hosiery) that are well-made, wear and wash well, and are comfortable.

If you’re not pregnant but in need of support hose, check out JCPenney department store.  My mom has used JCPenney’s support hose for years.

Herbs and Supplements

By far the most helpful resource I’ve found for vein support is Mountain Meadow Herbs.  Their Vari-Plex herbal tincture and Vascular Ease herbal lotion are amazing!

Below is a list of herbs and supplements I’ve found helpful, but Vari-Plex is a concentrated combination of many of these herbs.  I cannot recommend this tincture highly enough!

For topical treatment, I love Mountain Meadow Herb’s Vascular Ease lotion.  I’ve used this product for several years with great success; it’s super soothing, cooling to hot, painful veins, and it smells nice!

 

Other helpful herbs and supplements I’ve used over the years, both during, between and after pregnancies:

  • Taking at least 400 I.U. of Vitamin E daily helps improve circulation and strengthen vein capillaries
  • Rutin helps relieve the swelling and poor circulation of varicose veins
  • White Oak Barkgreat for relieving the pain associated with varicose veins, although it does not seem to actually cure the varicosities themselves
  • Cayenne is also beneficial in improving vein circulation

Other Helpful Tips

  • Rest frequently in short intervals during the day.  I know it’s impossible to “stay off your feet” when you’re busy taking care of your family, but taking a quick break (5-15 minutes) every few hours does help.

 

  • Keep your weight within the healthy range for your height and build.  Excess weight over works your body!  If you’re pregnant, strive to keep your weight gain at a healthy rate through proper nutrition and exercise (if possible).
  • Sitting with your feet propped up improves circulation.  Sitting with your legs crossed or beneath you slows circulation.
  • If you do opt to take herbal supplements be sure to take them daily.  Hit and miss isn’t nearly as effective.  Keep in mind that it may take a few weeks of taking your herbs faithfully before you begin to see a lot of improvement.
  • As always, drink a lot of water and eat a diet high in fiber, protein and nutrients.  Your over all health will directly support or weaken your efforts at treating varicose veins.  (Constipation can make varicose veins worse!)

Follow my Healthy Mama board on Pinterest for more helpful articles, tips, and info!

Follow Kristy {naturalcottagemama}’s board Healthy Mama on Pinterest.

 Do you deal with varicose veins?  What have you found that is helpful? 

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18 thoughts on “Treating Varicose Veins Naturally

  1. Natural ways are good as well as other treatments.

    Posted on February 25, 2017 at 9:33 am
  2. Hi. I was wondering if anyone has used the vascular ease lotion on vulvar varicosities?

    Posted on January 1, 2016 at 11:44 am
    1. Michelle, I haven’t used the vascular ease lotion topically for vulvar varicosities, just the ones on my legs. I found relief from the vulvar varicosities by wearing support panties and taking herbal supplements, such as the herbal blends from Mountain Meadow Herbs.

      Hope this helps!

      Posted on January 1, 2016 at 4:09 pm
  3. There are also new advanced surgical methods for hard cases of varicose:
    http://surgeryfrontiers.blogspot.com/2014/11/veins.html

    Posted on November 4, 2014 at 9:21 am
  4. Varicose veins are terrible! I do take herbs internally to help them, as well as making my own salve to treat them. I need to make my own tincture one of these days for internal use! Great info, Kristy!

    Posted on June 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm
    1. I’ve never made my own salve for varicose veins, Jill! What a great idea. Have you blogged about the recipe? If so, please leave a link! 🙂

      Posted on June 28, 2014 at 10:15 pm
    2. Yes, Jill! Share the salve!

      Posted on June 29, 2014 at 10:48 pm
  5. Just to mention Vitamin E is a great help for varicose veins but use with caution because too much can cause a retained placenta. It did with a friend of mine.

    Posted on June 26, 2014 at 9:48 am
    1. Kim, I do remember my midwife mentioning that with my last pregnancy. I’m so glad you brought it up! Vitamin E might be a better route to go for those who are NOT pregnant.

      Posted on June 26, 2014 at 11:22 am
      1. My midwife recommended taking it twice a week, which I was already doing. I don’t have varicose veins (my husband does) but I get busted blood vessels, especially while pg. I had been taking vit. c for it and it worked pretty well, but when I added the E it totally stopped.

        Posted on July 7, 2014 at 12:25 am
      2. Thank you for sharing this helpful info, Laura!

        Posted on July 7, 2014 at 7:47 am
  6. My mom had varicose veins but no longer does. Walking and Vitamin C help for sure. 🙂

    Posted on June 26, 2014 at 8:39 am
    1. Vitamin C is a great recommendation! Thanks for mentioning it, Luba!

      Posted on June 26, 2014 at 8:43 am
      1. You’re welcome, Kristy. There are other things that help too. 🙂

        Posted on June 26, 2014 at 10:45 am
      2. You’ve encouraged me to up my vitamin C intake, since I’ve noticed some pain with a varicosity on the back of my leg recently. Please feel free to share any other helpful remedies you’ve found, Luba! I appreciate learning more, and I know other ladies who read here will too. 🙂

        Posted on June 26, 2014 at 11:24 am
  7. I am scared to say that I *may* have felt pain from varicose veins yesterday. I mean I definitely felt the pain, but not sure if that’s what it was from. It was in the leg area behind my knee (where those nice bluish veins are present). I was hobbling a bit for a while. I was trying to ignore it, surely I don’t have problems with varicose veins. Surely. 🙂 🙂 I will remember the Vari Plex (I actually read about it in the free book I got the other day–the one you recommended from Mtn Rose Herbs) if this becomes a recurring problem. Oh well, I’m not having heartburn this pregnancy so it’s funny that certain symptoms occur with different pregnancies. 🙂

    Posted on July 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm
    1. Oh girl, you will know if you indeed have varicose veins.  You will KNOW!!  

      The products from Mountain Rose Herbs absolutely work, so do give them a try if you even think it might be a varicosity. 

      So glad you were able to comment, Monica!  I’ve missed your two cents around here.  🙂  

      Posted on July 24, 2011 at 7:17 pm
  8. Thanks so much for all this hepful info :). My varicose veins appeared with a vengeance my last pregnancy and still give me problems. It’s kind of disheartening to hear that they will get worse with each pregnancy, though. I wish I would’ve done more to prevent them. Hindsight is 20/20.

    Posted on July 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm