Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are well-treated using naturopathic medicine.

Varicose veins are a condition in which your veins become enlarged, and can occur to any veins, but most commonly occur in the veins of your legs and feet.

Varicose veins are caused by a natural loss of elasticity of the veins that occurs with age; loss of function of the valves in the circulatory system whose function it is to prevent backwards flow of blood; and conditions of increased blood volume (e.g., pregnancy). These changes combine to cause pooling of blood in your veins, resulting in “varicosities”.

Complications of varicose veins are rare, but can include skin ulcers and blood clots.

Seek professional healthcare if your varicose veins become painful, or if you are concerned about their appearance for cosmetic reasons.

Seek emergency medical care if you experience sudden leg swelling or skin ulcers (most commonly near the ankles).

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Possible symptoms of varicose include:

  • Veins that appear twisted and bulging (cord-like), often on your legs
  • Veins that are bluish in colour
  • Sensation of itching or heaviness (most commonly in your legs) in your veins
  • Aching, burning, cramping or throbbing pain (most commonly in your legs)
  • Swelling in your lower legs
  • Leg pain that is worsened after sitting or standing for prolonged periods

Treatment of Varicose Veins at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine

At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goals of varicose vein treatment are to increase blood vessel strength and integrity, reduce pain and increase blood flow (to minimize swelling).

Conventional treatment for varicose veins may include compression stockings, surgery and various techniques that cause vein destruction (e.g., sclerotherapy), which may result in scarring.

For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional treatment.

Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:

  • Identifying specific treatment goals
  • Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
  • Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
  • Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment

At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating varicose veins may be to:

  • Identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., standing for long periods of time) or general health (e.g., obesity) that may be contributing to development of varicose veins
  • Increase blood flow using exercise prescription and hydrotherapy
  • Relieve discomfort using botanical (herbal) medicines and hydrotherapy
  • Prevent recurrence by increasing strength and elasticity of blood vessels using botanical (herbal) medicines; and exercise prescription

Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:

Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.

References

Varicose veins [Online]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2010 Jan 18]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/varicose-veins/DS00256.

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