When Your Legs Look Like Road Maps
When Your Legs Look Like Road Maps

When I was in high school, mini skirts were in style. Not that I personally know what it feels like to wear one. My mother raised children the old fashioned way, which meant she protected my mod­esty by insisting that the hems of my skirts brush the bottom of my knees. While I think she could have eased up a little, I’m grateful for her concern for my modesty.

Many women at my current age, however, would never think of appearing in public clad in such skimpy attire, not because of modesty but because of the road maps decorating the backs of their legs. First spider veins. Then varicose veins. We hate them, don’t we? The main problem with V.V. is not cosmetic, however. It is a medical condition that re­quires treatment.

Symptoms may not be as obvious as one would think. Yes, the veins can be dilated and may bulge, but other symptoms include chronic pain or aching in the legs which are relieved by elevation, water re­tention in the ankles, skin ulcerations, or superficial thrombosis. If you suspect varicose veins, it is impor­tant to get an accurate diagnosis, as other condi­tions can cause some or all of these symptoms.

As you may suspect, there is much in nature to either prevent them or ameliorate the symptoms once they occur. There is a genetic link here, so prevention is important. Avoid prolonged sitting, standing, or walking. In other words, change your body position and activity frequently. Exercise regularly, because vigorous exercise improves circulation. Avoid constipation, which can involve bearing down on weakened veins.

Enjoy foods that are rich in bioflavonoids like on­ions, berries, and dark leafy greens because these foods strengthen collagen tissue. Herbs may also be helpful. Horse chestnut seed extract, butcher’s broom, gotu kola, and bilberry come immedi­ately to mind. (Horse chestnut seed is also good for hemorrhoids and comes as either capsule or ointment preparations.)

A cold compress of witch hazel and yarrow tea may provide temporary relief.

Maintain an appropriate weight to decrease the likelihood of thrombosis.