What are varicose veins?
Usually blue or dark purple in colour, varicose veins are unsightly veins which appear bulging and twisted. This makes them easy to see, but they may be less obvious if you are overweight due to them being hidden by fatty tissue under the skin. They can be uncomfortable and make your legs ache, with symptoms feeling worse in warm weather or if you have been standing for long periods of time.

As well as on the legs, varicose veins can also develop in other parts of your body, such as your rectum, womb, vag*na and pelvis. Varicose veins in the gullet (oesophagus) can also occur, but this is rare.

Typical symptoms of varicose veins are:

* A knobbly appearance to the skin in the affected area (as if the veins are straining to burst through the skin)

* Aching legs (which is often accompanied by a tingling sensation)

* Swollen feet and ankles

* Dry, itchy and thin skin over the affected vein

8A burning feeling in your legs (which many sufferers describe as 'a constant throbbing').

Also, where varicose veins are particularly severe, ulcers may develop.

In the human body, blood is pumped from the heart and carried to organs and body tissues through arteries, and back to the heart through veins. Inside your veins there are miniscule valves which open to let the blood through, but then close again to prevent it from going backwards. When these valves weaken (through things like stretching and loss of elasticity), and blood collects or pools in the veins, varicose veins develop.

The condition also often develops in people that:

* Are pregnant

* Are overweight

* Have had a previous blood clot (thrombosis) or an injury in a deep leg vein

Varicose veins are common and occur more in women than men.

If you have varicose veins and they are causing you discomfort, make an appointment with your GP. He or she will ask you questions to establish whether you have a genetic predisposition to developing the condition, and if you have diabetes - this could impact upon your problems with blood flow.

After examining your legs (particularly the pattern of the veins while you are in a standing position), and any other effected area, your GP will decide as to whether to refer you to a vascular specialist (a doctor that specialises in veins) or for an ultrasound scan which can provide precise information about the direction of your blood flow in your veins.

Effect on your life
If you have varicose veins you may be distressed about the way they look and so avoid wearing certain clothes. You may also avoid activities where your legs are showing (like swimming or racquet sports) due to being self-conscious about your appearance.

Because of hormonal changes, many women complain of experiencing more pain and aching due to having varicose veins just prior to their period.

Overall, varicose veins do not present serious health problems.

Treatments for varicose veins include:

Self-help methods - avoid prolonged periods standing still or sitting, to stop the blood collecting in your veins

Creams and medicines - a moisturiser can help relieve the itching, or where eczema may also have developed in the affected area

Support tights and compression stockings - these may ease the aching and also help to prevent early complications from getting worse

Surgery - such as sclerotherapy where a chemical is injected into the vein creating a sort of 'close and seal' effect

How Chemist Online can help
To help relieve the pain of varicose veins, we have available to buy through this website New Era® - a homeopathic remedy for varicose veins and circulatory disorders which is a combination remedy consisting of several single mineral tissue salts, all chosen for their suitability in treating certain conditions and combined together for their convenience.

This information and advice is not intended to replace the advice of your GP or chemist. Chemist Online is also not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based upon the content of the Chemist Online website. Chemist Online is also not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites.


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