Health

Varicose veins – hot pants aren’t an option

Legs!

According to Albert Einstein, ‘legs’ are the wheels of creativity…

Catherine Bach who played Daisy Duke in the ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ had her legs insured for $1,000,000…

And… my legs look like a road atlas. I look at women such as Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson and Marlene Dietrich and go green with envy.

Varicose veins have been an issue for me for the last 25 years. After two operations where I had both my legs stripped and what I can only guess was some type of glue injected into my shin, the surface of my legs still look like a motorway with slip roads and dual carriageways.

Not only do they look horrible (I’m being slightly dramatic), they cause me other issues too.

The symptoms that I had when the varicose veins first appeared were:

  • Slightly swollen lower legs – my right leg was more swollen than my left
  • Piles (they are a form of varicose veins inside your rectum)
  • Pain going from the top of my legs to my calves
  • Discolouration of the skin – large blue veins and red spider veins
  • Throbbing in my calf area

Years have passed now and my legs still don’t look great. It’s just one of those annoying things that I have learnt to live with.

My operation:

After the first operation I had on my legs, the veins came back again because the blood just rerouted itself and created other varicose veins. The same happened after the second op but the overall pain from having varicose veins has almost gone now and the swelling is minimal so it was worth having the two operations.

I have experienced a slight loss of sensation down the back of my right leg, I guess that’s where they cut through the nerve tissue or something like that. I have at least 30 little scars on my legs where the surgeon made little incisions. I also have some big scars around my groin. Once I showed them the sun, they scars went from deep pink to a pearly white gold colour.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are swollen, weak veins with enlarged vein walls and faulty valves that normally appear on the legs and feet. They can be different shades of blue or purple and quite often they can be lumpy – bulging out of the skin like twisted tree roots. Varicose veins can cause symptoms such as aching, heavy and uncomfortable legs, swollen feet and ankles.

Why do you get varicose veins?

Inside your legs, there are valves to prevent blood flowing backwards. When the walls of the vein become weak and the blood leaks out this causes a buildup of blood and the veins start to swell up.

There are many reasons that someone develops varicose veins:

  • Hereditary
  • Being overweight – this can put extra pressure on the veins
  • Age – as you get older, like a lot of things, the veins don’t work so well
  • Having a job that involves long periods of time standing up can cause varicose veins
  • Pregnancy – the amount of blood in the body increases when a woman is pregnant
  • Hormones – they tend to weaken the vein walls
  • A previous blood clot
  • Swelling or a tumour in the pelvis
  • Abnormal blood vessels

Do you think you might be developing varicose veins?

When is it time to visit your doctor?

If you can recognise yourself that you do have varicose veins, unless they are causing a problem there’s normally no need to see the doctor (this is not medical advice). However, if the veins are causing you a problem and it is affecting your lifestyle, it’s important to see your GP.

What treatment is available for varicose veins?

  • Compression stockings
  • Regular exercise
  • Elevating the legs
  • Not crossing the legs when sitting
  • Endothermal ablation – heat is used to seal the veins
  • Sclerotherapy – special foam is inserted to close the veins
  • Ligation and stripping – the veins are surgically removed

Research has revealed at 20-25% of women and 10-15% of men are affected by varicose veins. In the US, 30 million people are said to be affected by the condition. In the UK the NHS normally don’t operate on varicose veins for vanity reasons. Vanity can be hard to deal with sometimes. Varicose veins have been linked to depression and like a lot of ailments, sometimes it is hard to deal with the pain and constant discomfort.

For me, I was very young when I developed varicose veins. I was so uncomfortable and I used to lay down on my bed hoping the aching pain would go away. In the end, it got too much and that’s when I had my first operation.

I have tried different products to help relieve the issues that I have with my legs and here are some that I can recommend: 

  • Physix Gear Sport Compression Calf Sleeves for Men & Women (20-30mmhg) – Best Footless Compression Socks for Shin Splints, Running, Leg Pain, Nurses & Maternity Pregnancy – Increase Blood Circulation. Find out more here.
  • Rymora Compression Socks (Cushioned, Graduated Compression, Ergonomic fit for Men and Women, Seamless Toe Seams) (Ideal for Sports, Work, Flight, Pregnancy). Find out more here.
  • Knee Pillow – Ideal Choice for Hip, Back, Leg, Knee Pain, Side Sleepers, Pregnancy & Right Spine Alignment – Premium Comfortable Memory Foam Wedge Contour with Washable Cover & Storage Bag (White). Find out more here.
  • BeFit24 Medical Graduated Compression Stockings (23-32 mmHg, 120 Denier, Class 2) for Men and Women – Best for Varicose Veins Support, DVT, Oedema, Swelling Reduction – [ Size 3 – Long: A – Caramel ]. Find out more here.
  • BeFit24 Medical Graduated Compression Support Tights (23-32 mmHg, 120 Denier, Class 2) for Women – Best Pantyhose for DVT, Varicose and Spider Veins Prevention, Swelling Reduction – [ Size 5 – Short: A – Black ]. Find out more here.
  • Scholl Sheer Flight Socks, Size 6-8, 2 Pairs. Find out more.

What exercise can you do to help your varicose veins?

If you’ve got varicose veins, chances are good that you are skipping out on your exercises for fear that you’ll make your already painful veins feel much worse.

However, cutting exercise out of your life is something you don’t want to do. Incorporating some form of exercise into your daily life is crucial to not only help your vein health but also your cardiovascular health and your entire body’s health overall. Read more….

Do you suffer from varicose veins? How do you deal with the swelling and pain?

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** The content on this site should not be used as medical advice, we are giving our readers information and insights. If you are concerned about your health or need medical advice please see your doctor. If you are struggling with any issues please talk to someone – don’t suffer in silence. **

 

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