Varicose veins mostly affect older or pregnant women due to the combination of hormonal imbalances and increased inflammation that causes the veins to lose their natural elasticity. But they also affect both men and women of all ages, and are most visible among people with light skin.

Varicose veins home & natural treatments

Fortunately, there are several ways to manage varicose veins, ranging from conservative (lifestyle changes, medications, and medical stockings) to minimally invasive (such as endoluminal ablation) to invasive (ligation and stripping) to hybrid (combination or techniques).

Varicose veins are the result of an underlying venous insufficiency disorder that can be managed through at-home care. Most doctors and vein specialists recommend that patients try lifestyle adjustments and natural remedies before seeking invasive solutions. The most common options include:

  • Regular exercise – The National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute claims that prolonged standing or sitting with poor posture increases the risk of blood pooling disorders such as varicose veins. Exercise helps to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight – Excess body weight increases the burden of veins to push blood up your legs against gravity, which results in inflammation or reflux in the larger superficial veins, including the saphenous veins in your legs.
  • Anti-inflammatory diet – Consuming foods that improve blood flow and reverse inflammation can help to relieve the symptoms of varicose veins. Suggested foods include those with high levels of fiber (flax seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables), antioxidants (mainly vitamins C and E sources like cayenne pepper and parsley), magnesium (bananas, sweet potatoes, and green veggies), fish and seafood, and apple cider vinegar.
  • Essential oils – Rubbing a few drops of cypress essential oil on the affected area twice a day can help reduce inflammation, manage hormonal imbalances, and improve blood flow. Diluted tea tree, olive oil, lavender oil, and peppermint also work well with varicose veins.

These natural remedies can not only reduce the risk of blood pooling in the veins, but also offer other benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, clearer skin, better digestion, and more energy. In addition, they pose little to no risk and are cost effective compared to office-based treatments.

Many people seek varicose vein treatment because of cosmetic concerns. However, they can also cause physical discomfort like pain, restlessness, heaviness in the legs, and fatigue. These symptoms can wear you out, slow you down, and affect your productivity.

Varicose veins pain relief

Fortunately, you can find pain relief through simple lifestyle changes and fast, non-invasive in-office treatments for varicose veins. Here’re some options to consider:

1. At-home treatments

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, your doctor may recommend some lifestyle changes to help manage the pain and other varicose veins symptoms. Some recommendations include exercising, losing weight, regular leg elevation, and wearing compression socks.

2. In-office minimally invasive treatments

If at-home care doesn’t result in any gainful improvements, you should discuss with your doctor about modern office-based varicose vein treatment. These minimally invasive treatments include:

  • Endovenous Radiofrequency Therapy – Involves the use of radiofrequency heat energy to seal the problematic saphenous vein and forcibly reroute blood flow to deeper veins
  • Endovenous Laser Treatment – Involves the use of laser heat energy to collapse the walls of the varicose vein and cause it to close
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy – Involves the removal of large, bulging veins by making tiny incisions in the skin. For best results, this procedure may be combined with laser treatments.

Office-based minimally invasive varicose vein treatments are performed under local anesthesia. They also provide little-to-no scarring, minimal downtime, and quick recovery, and any soreness can be managed with a prescription. You can resume normal activities immediately, though you should wait for 1-2 weeks before doing anything strenuous.

Varicose veins may be hereditary and are a chronic problem that will likely accompany you for your lifetime. There’s little you can do about your age, gender, or genetics. That said, you can avoid the common risk factors to help delay the development of varicose veins, or at least keep them from progressing.

How to prevent varicose veins

You can achieve this by:

  • Staying active: Keep your leg muscles engaged to maintain proper blood flow. Great exercises include swimming, walking, and flexing leg muscles.
  • Avoiding high heels: Reducing the use of high heels, or completely avoiding them. High heels tend to limit the ability of the calf to pump blood, which in turn increases the risk of developing varicose veins.
  • Avoiding heat: The sun, sauna, and extended hot baths heat the skin and cause the veins to dilate in order to dissipate heat. This will encourage blood to flow via the superficial veins, rather than deep veins, increasing the risk of varicose veins.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight: Excess weight overloads the circulation, disrupts your blood pressure, and contributes to varicose veins.
  • Wearing medicinal stockings as instructed by your doctor: Elastic stockings are the most common preventive measure. They work by deviating blood from the superficial veins, where varicose veins are likely to form, to the deeper veins.

If you spend a lot of your time on your feet because of your profession – teaching, hairdressing, healthcare, cooking – follow this procedure to relieve the symptoms temporarily:

Step 1: Lie down

Step 2: Raise your legs about 6 inches above your heart level

Step 3: Maintain this position for 10 minutes, and repeat several times a day

Lastly, if you start experiencing the symptoms of varicose veins, including pain, aches, and fatigue, you should visit a qualified doctor to diagnose the origin of venous reflux in your legs, the cause, and discuss available treatment options.

You don’t necessarily need to treat your varicose veins if they aren’t causing any discomfort. However, you may choose to remove varicose veins on your legs:

  • To ease associated symptoms such as fatigue, pain, and discomfort
  • To treat complications like swelling, skin discoloration, and leg ulcers
  • For cosmetic purposes if you’re self-conscious and feel the need to keep your legs covered

Best treatment for varicose veins

If your doctor determines that you need treatment, 12 weeks of self-care may be recommended before the veins can be treated through minimally invasive procedures. Home care involves:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing your weight
  • Use of compression stockings
  • Elevating your legs when resting – sitting or lying down
  • Avoid standing for prolonged periods

In the event that your varicose veins require further treatment, or if the symptoms are making you uncomfortable, your doctor can help you find the right treatment depending on your overall health, as well as the position, size, and severity of your varicose veins.

The Best Treatment for Varicose Veins

Lifestyle changes are arguably the best treatment for varicose veins. This is because varicose veins are likely to appear for the rest of your life. Even if you treat the troublesome ones, others will likely appear in future if you don’t make an effort to suppress them with proper at-home care.

For immediate results, your doctor may recommend endovenous laser treatment. According to a 2014 publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, endovenous treatment is the best way to treat varicose veins. It is not only minimally invasive, but the procedure is also very fast (less than one hour), has reduced downtime, and is unlikely to lead to complications compared to other treatments.

It is best to discuss your options for your specific case with your surgeon.

Compression stockings allow you to manage varicose veins without having to go to a surgeon. But they are not suitable for everyone and they do not correct the underlying problem. Your surgeon may recommend a minimally invasive procedure such as endothermal ablation to treat the leaky veins.

How to remove varicose veins on legs

Endothermal Ablation

In most cases, your doctor or surgeon will recommend endothermal ablation for treating leaky veins. The procedure involves the use of:

  • energy from lasers (endovenous laser treatment) or
  • high-frequency radio waves (radiofrequency ablation) to seal the leaky veins.
Here’s what to expect:
  • Radiofrequency ablation – The surgeon makes a tiny incision on the lowest point of the leaky vein, inserts a thin tube into the affected area using an ultrasound scan, and then inserts a catheter into that narrow tube. The catheter sends radiofrequency energy to heat the vein. This causes the walls to collapse and close and seal the vein shut. After this, blood is naturally redirected to other healthy veins.
  • Endovenous laser treatment – The procedure is similar to RF ablation, except that a laser catheter is inserted in the vein. It is then slowly guided downwards as it emits laser energy to seal the vein.

Both procedures are performed under local anesthesia.


If you are not a good candidate for endothermal ablation treatment, your doctor may recommend sclerotherapy. Here, the surgeon injects special foam into the veins to initiate scarring and sealing. The results take a few weeks to show, and you may need multiple treatments if the veins reappear.

Ligation and Stripping

If none of the other treatments are suitable for you, then a surgical procedure known as vein ligation and stripping may be your only option to remove the affected veins.