Varicose veins are a common health condition—half of adults over age 50 are affected by their often painful symptoms, and many also struggle with the insecurity associated with the cosmetic effects of the condition. So, when cold weather rolls around, it can be a relief for varicose vein sufferers to be able to turn to long pants, skirts and gloves as a way to cover enlarged veins on their hands and feet.
But winter may not be the time to put varicose veins at the back of your mind. In fact, it could be the perfect opportunity to treat them.
“Varicose vein treatment is effective at any time of year, but there are a number of reasons why treatment may be more comfortable during cold weather months,” explains Vincent DiGiovanni, DO, vascular surgeon at Main Line HealthCare Vascular Specialists and Riddle Hospital.
Rest is best
During the recovery period from varicose vein treatment, it’s essential to spend some time recuperating. You’ll need to carve out a few days immediately following the procedure where you can take it easy at home, and continue to find time to rest in the weeks following.
Although it’s not easy to find time to relax, winter is a slower season for many people, particularly after the holidays. Find time when you’re not traveling, running errands, and can take a few days off of work to be at home and relaxing.
Cold weather: Better for covering up
Winter isn’t just better for spending time recuperating; it’s also the best season for covering up. Winter clothing has a number of benefits for anyone who recently received varicose vein treatments, but perhaps its most significant benefit is that it protects the affected areas from UV rays.
“Exposure to UV rays can cause discoloration following varicose vein treatment and, during winter, patients are less likely to be affected by this than they are during the summer,” explains Dr. DiGiovanni. “Wearing winter clothing can also help disguise some of the other common side effects of treatment, like bruising and swelling.”
In addition, winter clothing can help disguise compression stockings, which many patients are required to wear following varicose vein treatment. Compression stockings keep the treated veins in close contact and prevent them from filling back up with blood.
Rest during winter, ready for summer
Of course, one of the best reasons to care for your varicose veins during winter is so that you can be ready to show off your legs when summer arrives.
“The majority of treatment options for varicose veins are minimally invasive and performed on an outpatient basis, so recovery is quick,” says Dr. DiGiovanni. “You can be back on your feet and enjoying life without the pain of varicose veins by the beginning of spring and summer if you seek treatment soon.”