Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted. Carl Arnold Ruge is credited with having first defined varicose veins as “any dilated, elongated and tortuous vein irrespective of size”. The term commonly refers to the veins on the leg, although varicose veins occur elsewhere. Veins have leaflet valves to prevent blood from flowing backwards (retrograde). Leg muscles pump the veins to return blood to the heart. When veins become enlarged, the leaflets of the valves no longer meet properly, and the valves don’t work. One cause of valve failure is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can cause permanent damage to the valves. The blood collects in the veins and they enlarge even more. Varicose veins are common in the superficial veins of the legs, which are subject to high pressure when standing. Besides cosmetic problems, varicose veins are often painful, especially when standing or walking. They often itch, and scratching them can cause ulcers. Serious complications are rare. Non-surgical treatments include sclerotherapy, elastic stockings, elevating the legs, and exercise. The traditional surgical treatment has been vein stripping to remove the affected veins. Newer surgical treatments, as radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser treatment, are less invasive and are slowly replacing traditional surgical treatments. Because most of the blood in the legs is returned by the deep veins, the superficial veins, which return only about 10 per cent of the total blood of the legs, can usually be removed or ablated without serious harm. Varicose veins are distinguished from reticular veins (blue veins) and telangiectasias (spider veins), which also involve valvular insufficiency, by the size and location of the veins.
Symptoms of Varicose veins
- Aching, heavy legs (often worse at night and after exercise).
- Appearance of spider veins (telangiectasia) in the affected leg.
- Ankle swelling.
- A brownish-blue shiny skin discoloration near the affected veins.
- Redness, dryness, and itchiness of areas of skin – termed stasis dermatitis or venous eczema, because of waste products building up in the leg.
- Minor injuries to the area may bleed more than normal and/or take a long time to heal.
- In some people the skin above the ankle may shrink (lipodermatosclerosis) because the fat underneath the skin becomes hard.
- Restless legs syndrome appears to be a common overlapping clinical syndrome in patients with varicose veins and other chronic venous insufficiency.
- Whitened irregular “scar-like” patches can appear, especially at the ankles, “atrophie blanche”.
Most varicose veins are relatively benign, but severe varicosities can lead to major complications, due to the poor circulation through the affected limb.
- Pain, heaviness, inability to walk or stand for long hours thus hindering work
- Skin conditions / Dermatitis which could predispose skin loss
- Skin ulcers especially near the ankle, usually referred to as venous ulcers.
- Development of carcinoma or sarcoma in longstanding venous ulcers. There have been over 100 reported cases of malignant transformation and the rate is reported as 0.4% to 1%.
- Severe bleeding from minor trauma, of particular concern in the elderly.
- Blood clotting within affected veins. Termed superficial thrombophlebitis. These are frequently isolated to the superficial veins, but can extend into deep veins becoming a more serious problem.
- Acute fat necrosis can occur, especially at the ankle of overweight patients with varicose veins. Females are more frequently affected than males.
Varicose veins are more common in women than in men, and are linked with heredity. Other related factors are pregnancy, obesity, menopause, aging, prolonged standing, leg injury and abdominal straining. Varicose veins are bulging veins that are larger than spider veins, typically 3 mm or more in diameter.
Non-surgical treatment of Varicose veins
The symptoms of varicose veins can be controlled to an extent with the following:
- Elevating the legs often provides temporary symptomatic relief.
- “Advice about regular exercise sounds sensible but is not supported by any evidence.” 
- The wearing of graduated compression stockings with a pressure of 30–40 mmHg has been shown to correct the swelling, nutritional exchange, and improve the microcirculation in legs affected by varicose veins. They also often provide relief from the discomfort associated with this disease. Caution should be exercised in their use in patients with concurrent arterial disease.
- anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin can be used as part of treatment for superficial thrombophlebitis along with graduated compression hosiery. — but there is a risk of intestinal bleeding. In extensive superficial thrombophlebitis, consideration should be given to anti-coagulation, thrombectomy or sclerotherapy of the involved vein.
- Diosmin 95 is a dietary supplement distributed in the U.S. by Nutratech, Inc. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not approve dietary supplements, but concluded that there was an “inadequate basis for reasonable expectation of safety.” 
A commonly performed non-surgical treatment for varicose and “spider” leg veins is sclerotherapy. It has been used in the treatment of varicose veins for over 150 years. Sclerotherapy is often used for telangiectasias (spider veins) and varicose veins that persist or recur after vein stripping  . Sclerotherapy can also be performed using microfoam sclerosants under ultrasound guidance to treat larger varicose veins, including the greater and short saphenous veins. A study by Kanter and Thibault in 1996 reported a 76% success rate at 24 months in treating saphenofemoral junction and great saphenous vein incompetence with STS 3% solution. A Cochrane Collaboration review concluded sclerotherapy was better than surgery in the short term (1 year) for its treatment success, complication rate and cost, but surgery was better after 5 years, although the research is weak. A Health Technology Assessment found that sclerotherapy provided less benefit than surgery, but is likely to provide a small benefit in varicose veins without reflux.  Complications of sclerotherapy are rare but can include blood clots and ulceration. Anaphylactic reactions are “extraordinarily rare but can be life-threatening,” and doctors should have resuscitation equipment ready . There has been 1 reported case of stroke after ultrasound guided sclerotherapy when an unusually large dose of sclerosant foam was injected.
Surgical treatment of Varicose veins
Some doctors favor traditional open surgery, while others prefer newer methods. Newer methods for treating varicose veins, such as endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), radiofrequency ablation, and foam sclerotherapy are not as well studied, especially in the longer term. Open surgery has been performed for over a century. Complications include deep vein thrombosis (5.3%), pulmonary embolism (0.06%), and wound complications including infection (2.2%).
Two prospective randomized trials found speedier recovery and fewer complications after radiofrequency obliteration (AKA radiofrequency ablation). . Myers wrote that open surgery for small saphenous vein reflux is obsolete. (The great saphenous vein is the vein that runs along the inside of the leg from ankle to groin; the small saphenous vein is the vein that runs along the back of the calf.) Myers said these veins should be treated with endovenous techniques, citing high recurrence rates after surgical management, and risk of nerve damage up to 15%. In comparison, radiofrequency ablation has been shown to control 80% of cases of small saphenous vein reflux at 4 years, said Myers.
Endovenous laser and radiofrequency ablation require specialized training for doctors and expensive equipment. Endovenous laser treatment is performed as an outpatient procedure and does not require the use of an operating theatre, nor does the patient need a general anaesthetic. Doctors must use ultrasound during the procedure to see what they are doing. Some practitioners also perform phlebectomy or ultrasound guided sclerotherapy at the time of endovenous treatment. Follow-up treatment to smaller branch varicose veins is often needed in the weeks after the initial procedure.
Complications for radiofrequency ablation include burns, paraesthesia, clinical phlebitis, and slightly higher rates of deep vein thrombosis (0.57%) and pulmonary embolism (0.17%). Complications for endovenous laser treatment include minor skin burns (0.4%) and temporary paraesthesia (2.1%).
Another concern in varicose vein surgery is the recurrence rate. For traditional surgery, reported recurrence rates, which have been tracked for 10 years, range from 5-60%. Because the new treatments haven’t been studied as long, their long-term recurrence rates aren’t known. One 3-year study compared radiofrequency, with a recurrence rate of 33%, to open surgery, which had a recurrence rate of 23%. The longest study of endovenous laser ablation is 39 months.
Other treatments are:
- ambulatory phlebectomy
- endovenous laser treatment
- vein ligation
Homeopathy Treatment for Varicose veins
Keywords: homeopathy, homeopathic, treatment, cure, remedy, remedies, medicine
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution, family history, presenting symptoms, underlying pathology, possible causative factors etc. A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptibility) is also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. A homeopathy doctor tries to treat more than just the presenting symptoms. The focus is usually on what caused the disease condition? Why ‘this patient’ is sick ‘this way’. The disease diagnosis is important but in homeopathy, the cause of disease is not just probed to the level of bacteria and viruses. Other factors like mental, emotional and physical stress that could predispose a person to illness are also looked for. No a days, even modern medicine also considers a large number of diseases as psychosomatic. The correct homeopathy remedy tries to correct this disease predisposition. The focus is not on curing the disease but to cure the person who is sick, to restore the health. If a disease pathology is not very advanced, homeopathy remedies do give a hope for cure but even in incurable cases, the quality of life can be greatly improved with homeopathic medicines.
The homeopathic remedies (medicines) given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the homeopathy treatment of this condition. The symptoms listed against each homeopathic remedy may not be directly related to this disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional indications are also taken into account for selecting a remedy. To study any of the following remedies in more detail, please visit the Materia Medica section at Hpathy.
None of these medicines should be taken without professional advice and guidance.
Homeopathy Remedies for Varicose veins :
acet-ac., aesc., alum., alum-sil., alumn., am-c., ambr., ang., ant-t., apis., arist-cl., arn., arg-n., ars., ars-s-f., asaf., bar-c., bell., bell-p., berb., brom., bry., calc., calc-f., calc-i., calc-p., calc-s., calen., camph., carb-an., carb-v., carb-s., carc., card-b., card-m., caust., chel., chin., chin-s., cic., clem., coll., coloc., con., croc., crot-h., cycl., ferr., ferr-ar., ferr-p., fl-ac., form., form-ac., graph., ham., hecla., hep., hyos., kali-ar., kali-n., kreos., lac-c., lach., lyc., lycps., mag-aust., mag-c., mag-f., man., mangi., meli., meny., merc-cy., mez., mill., morg., mosch., mur-ac., nat-m., nux-v., olnd., op., paeon., petr.,ph-ac., phos., plb., polyg., puls., pyrog., ran-s., rhod., rhus-t., ruta., sabin., sars., scirr., sec., sep., sil., sol-n., spig., spong., staph., stront-br., stront-c., sul-ac., sulph., thuj., vip., zinc.
- ^ Merck Manual Home Edition, 2nd ed.
- ^ NHS Direct
- ^ Weiss R A, Weiss M A, Doppler Ultrasound Findings in Reticular Veins of the Thigh Subdermic Lateral Venous System and Implications for Sclerotherapy, Journal of Derm Surg Onc, Vol 19 No 10 (Oct 1993) p947-951.
- ^ Goldman M. Sclerotherapy, Treatment of Varicose and Telangiectatic Leg Veins. Hardcover Text, 2nd Ed, 1995
- ^ Ng M, Andrew T, Spector T, Jeffery S (2005). “Linkage to the FOXC2 region of chromosome 16 for varicose veins in otherwise healthy, unselected sibling pairs.”. J Med Genet 42 (3): 235–9. doi:10.1136/jmg.2004.024075. PMID 15744037.
- ^ BMJ 2006;333:287-292 (5 August), Varicose veins and their management, Bruce Campbell (subscription)
- ^ Curri SB et al. Changes of cutaneous microcirculation from elasto-compression in chronic venous insufficiency. In Davy A and Stemmer R, editors: Phlebology ’89, Montrouge, France, 1989, John Libbey Eurotext.
- ^ New Dietary Ingredients in Dietary Supplements, U. S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements February 2001 (Updated September 10, 2001) , Memorandum 
- ^ Goldman M, Sclerotherapy Treatment of varicose and telangiectatic leg vein, Hardcover Text, 2nd Ed, 1995
- ^ “Veins & Lymphatics,” L. K. Pak et al, in Lange’s Current Surgical Diagnosis & Treatment, 11th ed., McGraw-Hill,
- ^ Tisi PV, Beverley C, Rees A. Injection sclerotherapy for varicose veins. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD001732.
- ^ Paul Thibault, Sclerotherapy and Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy, The Vein Book / editor, John J. Bergan, 2007.
- ^ Padbury A, Benveniste G L, Foam echosclerotherapy of the small saphenous vein, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Phlebology Vol 8, Number 1 (Dec 2004)
- ^ Kanter A, Thibault P. Saphenofemoral junction incompetence treated by ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, Dermatol Surg. 1996. 22: 648-652.
- ^ http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/cochrane/clsysrev/articles/CD001732/abstract.html
- ^ Rigby KA, Palfreyman SJ, Beverley C, Michaels JA. Surgery versus sclerotherapy for the treatment of varicose veins. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD004980. 
- ^ Michaels JA, Campbell WB, Brazier JE, MacIntyre JB, Palfreyman SJ, Ratcliffe J, et al. Randomized clinical trial, observational study and assessment of cost-effectiveness of the treatment of varicose veins (REACTIV trial). Health Technol Assess 2006;10(13).  This Health Technology Assessment monograph includes reviews of the epidemiology, assessment, and treatment of varicose veins, as well as a study on clinical and cost effectiveness of surgery and sclerotherapy
- ^ William R. Finkelmeier, Sclerotherapy, Ch. 12, ACS Surgery: Principles & Practice, 2004, WebMD (hardcover book)
- ^ “Open Surgery Is Still The Best Technique To Ablate The Great Saphenous Vein,” Vascular, Vol. 14 (Nov. 2006), Suppl. 1, p. S. 25
- ^ Systematic review of foam sclerotherapy for varicose veins.Jia X, Mowatt G, Burr JM, Cassar K, Cook J, Fraser C.Br J Surg. 2007 Aug;94(8):925-36
- ^ van Rij AM et al. Incidence of Deep Venous Thrombosis after Varicose Vein Surgery, Br J Surg 2004 Dec;91(12):1582-5
- ^ Rautio, T, et al., Endovenous oblitration versus conventional stripping operation in the treatment of primary varicose veins, J Vasc Surg 2002:35:958-65
- ^ Lurie F, et al., Prospective randomized study of endovenous radiofrequency oblitration (closure) versus ligation and vein stripping (EVOLVeS: two-year follow-up. Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg 2005;29:67-73
- ^ Kenneth Myers, An opinion —surgery for small saphenous reflux is obsolete!” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Phlebology, Vol 8, Number 1 (Dec 2004)
- ^ a b Elmore FA and Lackey D, Effectiveness of laser treatment in eliminating superficial venous reflux, Phlebology 2008 :23 :21-31
Dr. Manish Bhatia
BHMS, BCA, M.Sc. Homeopathy (UCLAN, UK), CICH (IACH, Greece)
Dr. Manish Bhatia is the Founder Director of Hpathy.com, world’s leading homeopathy portal, serving homeopathy to more than half a million people every month. He is also Editor of Homeopathy for Everyone.
He runs a consultation office at Jaipur (Asha Homeopathy) and is one of the most well known Indian homeopaths globally. He has been practicing since 2001 and is helping Autism and other psychiatric patients since 2006. He was awarded Rajasthan’s foremost Raja Pajvan Dev Award For Excellence in the field of Medicine in 2015.
He has been working as an Asso. Professor of Organon of Medicine at S. K. Homeopathic Medical College since 2002. He was awarded with the prestigious APJ Abdul Kalam State Level Teacher’s Award in 2016. He has also given seminars and webinars in several countries of Europe, Americas and Australia.
He is the author of Lectures on Organon of Medicine Vol. I & II (English, Bulgarian, German editions), which are approved by the Central Council of Homeopathy (India) for BHMS and MD (Hom) syllabus. He is a contributing author to the book “Homeopathy and Mental Health Care: Integrative Practice, Principles and Research” and co-editor of “The Fireside Book of Homeopathy Tales.”