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Beating varicose veins

What are varicose veins? Varicose veins are caused when the valves in the veins work ineffectively. The blood may flow backwards and cause the vein to become varicose. It is quite common and affects about 3 in every 10 adults, with women at higher risk. They generally don't cause major health problems but some people experience swelling or painful legs. Others also experience leg ulcers or skin discolouration, but these cases are quite rare.

How to prevent varicose veins

There is little scientific research or evidence into how to stop varicose veins getting worse, or how to prevent new ones from developing. The NHS advise that if you have varicose veins, you should avoid sitting or standing for long periods, you shouldn't cross your legs, and you should take regular breaks and exercise regularly.

How do you get rid of varicose veins?

Beating varicose veins is very difficult. Compression stockings are often used to promote better circulation and these help to fight the symptoms, but it is yet to be proven whether stockings prevent new veins occurring or stop them from getting worse.

If the condition is bad, surgery may be required to remove the vein - but if you only want to get rid of them for cosmetic reasons, they won’t be removed by the NHS. Cosmetic surgeons can remove varicose veins if they are not causing you medical problems. The surgery itself is usually carried out under local anaesthetic and patients can walk and go home on the same day.

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