How Does Heat Affect Varicose Veins?

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Heat has a dilatory effect on veins, which means that heat can make varicose veins more swollen and painful. People with varicose veins should take special precautions to avoid the effects of heat on varicose veins.

If you have varicose veins, you know that they can be sensitive, tender, and temperamental. For people living with varicose veins, it can be hard to tell exactly what’s going to make them feel better, and what will make symptoms even worse. A common question for people with varicose veins is: does heat make varicose veins worse?

The answer to that question is pretty straightforward: yes, heat does make varicose veins worse. For heat to affect varicose veins, you don’t even need to experience unnaturally high temperatures like a sauna or hot tub — even a warm summer climate can have a detrimental effect on varicose veins.

Let’s take a look at the effects of heat on varicose veins, and some easy ways to prevent heat from making your discomfort even worse.

How heat affects our veins

When your body experiences hot temperatures, it has natural response systems in place to help you cool down. One of the techniques your body uses to fight the heat is to dilate your veins and blood vessels — especially near the surface of your skin. Dilation allows more blood to pass through your veins, which combines with other cooling mechanisms (like sweat) to cool you off.

Vein dilation in heat is a helpful way for your body to avoid overheating. For people with varicose veins, though, this natural climate control system can become painful, and even dangerous. When your veins dilate, even more blood flows into veins that are already swollen with blood.

Because varicose veins make it hard for blood to exit your blood vessels, heat can make varicose veins even worse. High temperatures can also make your symptoms more severe — you may experience additional cramping or stiffness as your veins go into overdrive trying to remove the excess blood.

Preventing varicose veins from overheating

It doesn’t take much heat to cause additional problems for your varicose veins. Even warm temperatures in the summertime can be enough to affect your body temperature and lead to swelling.

To avoid overheating your varicose veins, your first priority should be avoiding hot temperatures when possible. This means that you should stay away from the sauna and refrain from taking extended hot showers. If you’re outdoors on a hot summer day, you should shade your veins from the sun as much as possible.

Even though avoiding heat is important for varicose vein health, being proactive doesn’t mean you need to hide away indoors. People with varicose veins can still enjoy poolside days and warm showers and baths (of a reasonable length). Just make sure to place a cool, damp towel on your varicose veins to avoid additional swelling, regularly elevate the affected limbs, and try your best not to remain in the heat for an extended period of time.

Varicose vein treatment at Center for Vein

Once you have varicose veins, they won’t go away on their own. You can avoid additional swelling and discomfort by keeping cool, but fixing varicose veins altogether will require a visit to a vein specialist. After treatment, your veins will be especially sensitive, so winter is the ideal season for treating varicose veins.

For lasting varicose vein solutions, visit our specialists at Center for Vein. With vein doctors across the Atlanta Metro, Center for Vein offers a wide range of minimally invasive treatments, including laser ablation and sclerotherapy. Don’t wait for the summer to make varicose veins worse — request an appointment at Center for Vein today!


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