Varicose veins are the bane of many women. It is claimed that about 50 to 60 percent of women in the developed countries suffer from this disability.

Standing for lengthy periods on hard surfaces is said to aggravate the trouble – is possibly a cause. But most likely pregnancy and overweight are the main contributors. Heredity also plays its part. If your parents had varicose veins the chances that you will develop them are quite high.

Recent research has indicated that people living in developing countries where natural grain and coarse fiber foods are the staple diet seldom suffer from this disorder. This ties in with the current popular view that westerners have far too little fiber in their diet. It is claimed that this lack allows added pressure to build up in the bowel and in turn, it may aggravate the formation of dilated vessels in the lower limbs.

Severe varicosities are best treated surgically. This totally eliminates the affected vessels and restores a normal appearance.

However, many women would opt for simpler measures. For them, the pressure applied to the lower limbs can give worthwhile help.

Elastic bandages from the toes to the knee (even higher in severe cases) are often recommended. If ulcerations and swelling are present, added pressure may be necessary (especially around the ankles), with the addition of foam rubber under the bandaging.

For less severe vein problems, good quality elasticized stockings can give reasonable support. Although they are generally not as strong and stretchy as a bandage at least they do approach a normal appearance.

Exercises often give assistance to dilated vessels. Any form, including running, walking, jogging, active sports of any kind where the limbs are involved. Swimming and surfing, cycling, can all assist.

Elevating the legs can also help, and this may be carried out regularly. It is best to lie down, then to elevate the limbs to a higher level than the heart.

The injection of fluid into the vessels to “sclerose” their walls was once popular, but it has fallen into disuse with many doctors because recurrences were common.

The idea was to inject, then wrap the part firmly for several days. The walls of the vessels often adhered together, so obliterating the channel. Now, injections are used mainly after surgery in small areas that are still obvious.

In England, there still seems to be many surgeons who favor the use of injections plus compression therapy, and they claim good results.

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