Can varicose veins be more pronounced during certain times of the year and less pronounced during others? Yes, indeed. Seasonal varicose veins are common, and they are caused by warm and cold temperatures affecting the circulation of blood throughout the body. This is especially true in wintertime.
Read on for everything to know about winter vascular health and winter self-care for veins.
Vein Health in Winter
Varicose veins tend to fluctuate in appearance and symptoms due to the conditions of the outside environment. For example, in cold weather, leg circulation tends to get a boost. This is because cold temperatures cause veins in the extremities (arms and legs) to constrict, shunting blood more readily back up to the heart and lungs. This can reduce the appearance and symptoms of varicose veins.
However, paradoxically, circulation can also slow in cold weather because people tend to spend more time inside, with less activity and exercise. More sedentary activity and less movement can actually make varicose veins more pronounced. This is why paying attention to vein health in the winter is especially important.
Preventing Winter Vein Issues
To practice winter self-care for veins, people should follow a few simple guidelines:
- Continue to stay active, even when it’s cold outside. Getting a gym membership or hitting up an indoor track can help keep the blood circulating well throughout the venous system and reduce the appearance and symptoms of varicose veins.
- Keep an eye on diet, as adding extra pounds during the winter can exacerbate underlying varicose vein symptoms and appearance.
- The combination of reduced humidity during the winter and increased time indoors in artificially heated environments can dry out the skin. Varicose veins may become itchy or even prone to ulcerations when the skin is dry, so be sure to use a high-quality emollient or lotion to prevent dryness.
- Make sure to wear compression socks to help support blood flow throughout the season.
Why Vein Treatment Is Best Over the Winter
Varicose vein symptoms can often be less pronounced during the winter time. However, many experts believe that wintertime is actually the best time to get vein treatment. This is because wintertime allows for more discrete recovery from a vein procedure—clothing is long and can cover up any residual bruising. Additionally, wearing compression socks after a vein procedure is more comfortable during the wintertime because it confers an additional layer of warmth. Getting a vein treatment during the winter also allows enough time for a complete and full recovery so that people are ready to expose their newly treated skin come spring and summer.
Treatment Options for Winter Vein Care
At North Shore Vein Center, patients benefit from the expertise of nationally recognized Dr. Mark Schwartz. Dr. Schwartz offers the most up-to-date and minimally-invasive winter-friendly vein treatments, ranging from endovenous radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser ablation to the VeinGogh™ Ohmic Thermolysis system. To learn more, contact North Shore Vein Center at (516) 869-8346 to request an initial vein consultation.