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New Treatments for Varicose Veins

If you're "vein" or in pain, varicose veins are more easily treated now than in the past.

Can Holistic Remedies Help?

Where grandmother probably took a trip to the doctor and mother a trip to the medicine cabinet, younger sufferers now want to hit the health food store. Molly Kimball, RD, sports nutritionist at the Ochsner Clinic's Elmwood Center in New Orleans, recommends a diet low in carbs and rich in fiber to keep weight down and all circulatory systems going strong.

A 100 mg coenzyme Q10 helps with circulation and tissue oxygenation, she says. Omega-3 oils (1,000 mg daily) help with elasticity of blood vessels. Also much touted for varicose veins are ginkgo biloba and vitamin K. "You can start at 60 mg twice daily and go to 120 mg twice daily on ginkgo," Kimball says. Tsao and Weiss are both doubtful about ginkgo, however. "There have been no formal studies of the effects on varicose veins," Tsao says. And if you have normal levels of vitamin K, you don't need more, she adds.

The best way to prevent varicose veins if they are in your family is to not stand for long periods, Weiss advises. Other tips include:

  • Avoid sitting with your legs crossed, it puts terrible pressure on the veins.
  • Elevate your legs when resting. This applies especially to pregnant women.
  • If you're on a long flight, get up and walk about every hour. This goes for sitting at the computer, too.

Now here's the bad news. Wearing support hose -- yes we're talking the dreaded pantyhose -- is recommended for anyone with visible veins or for people who have had a procedure done. "Wear them every waking hour," says Tsao.

Star Lawrence is a medical journalist based in the Phoenix area.

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Reviewed on September 15, 2003

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