Professor Whiteley explains the effect of saunas on veins in the legs, whether they cause varicose veins or would they be helpful for varicose veins.
“Saunas basically make you hot, as we all know, which makes things dilate. For people with normal veins this neither has a good or bad effect on the veins. Basically, there is not much to worry about provided you don’t get dehydrated. If you already have varicose veins though, saunas are not going to be very helpful as they will make you dilate more and this probably, isn’t going to cause too much of a problem either. However, one thing you need to be concerned about is staying too long and becoming dehydrated? What we know is if you become dehydrated and the blood becomes thicker it could just increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis.
However, apart from these observations there is no evidence that saunas have much effect on varicose veins or causing varicose veins. One note of caution though, if you’ve had treatment for varicose veins, especially sclerotherapy in the recent past, and then you have a sauna, you find the inflammation is much worse and we do advise our patients to avoid hot weather or saunas for six weeks after any sclerotherapy or the endovenous technique.”