Are Your Varicose Veins Making Your Legs Itch?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists itchiness among many unpleasant symptoms of varicose veins. This itching often goes hand in hand with other epidermal symptoms that include dry, irritated, discolored, swollen, and/or painful skin.
What is Varicose Vein Eczema?
Consistent with all the symptoms listed above, varicose vein eczema is a long-term skin condition that manifests in the lower legs. It commonly occurs in conjunction with varicose veins. If left untreated, varicose vein eczema can begin weeping and crusting, forming venous ulcers, causing shrinkage in the lower leg, and creating areas of scaly, thickened, and fibrotic skin.
Reasons Why Your Varicose Veins Are Itchy
Varicose vein eczema and itchy varicose veins are byproducts of the natural degenerative processes of vascular disease. Namely, itchiness arises from elevated pressure in the leg veins and fluid leakage into surrounding tissue.
How Varicose Vein Eczema Forms
Healthy leg veins contain numerous small valves that help propel blood upwards against the force of gravity. When these valves malfunction, blood begins to pool in the lower legs causing varicose veins.
Experts point to fluid leakage into surrounding tissue as a primary cause for varicose vein eczema. As the immune system reacts to this leakage, varicose vein eczema spreads across the skin.
Ways to Treat the Symptoms
To ameliorate the discomfort of varicose vein eczema, your doctor may suggest a number of treatments. For the best medical advice, it is important to visit a dermatologist or a vein specialist who has specific expertise in varicose vein eczema.
The most popular pharmaceutical methods of calming the itchiness of varicose vein eczema and the varicose veins that underlie it include…
- Medicated creams
Antibiotics become helpful when varicose veins sores become infected with bacteria. Often used in conjunction with medication, compression stockings can help relieve inflammation and itch by placing increased pressure on damaged veins.
Treating the Source of the Problem
In order to address the roots of varicose vein eczema, physicians must treat varicose veins themselves. Outside of medication and compression therapy, the NIH limits effective varicose vein treatments to lifestyle changes and surgical procedures.
While losing weight and exercising can significantly improve circulation and overall vein health, surgery is the only way to directly and dramatically repair damaged leg veins. Fortunately, there are surgical options to choose from, and most of them are noninvasive in nature.
Today’s safe and effective varicose vein treatments include…
- Sclerotherapy – This procedure involves the intravenous injection of special chemicals that create scar tissue to form within damaged veins, causing them to close and rerouting blood to healthy veins nearby. Eventually, the closed veins will reabsorb into the body and disappear.
- Endovenous ablation therapy – Physicians begin this procedure by making a tiny incision in the legs to inert a thin venous catheter under the skin. This catheter channels radiofrequency energy that heats up at its exposed tip. Closing any vein that it touches, it produces effects that are very much like those of sclerotherapy.
- Other forms of vein closure – Similar methods of closing diseased vein may employ medical grade adhesive (VenaSeal) or medical grade foam (Varithena).
Your specific course of varicose vein treatment should meet your specific wants and needs. In many cases, physicians will recommend a combination of treatments. Furthermore, patients will often need to undergo a series of procedures in order to achieve and maintain relief.
Get Vein Treatment at Premier Heart & Vein Care in California
Located in San Luis, CA, Premier Heart & Vein Care operates under the leadership of Dr. Ken Steven, a board-certified physician and surgeon who has completed extensive cardiology and vascular postgraduate training, Dr. Steven has operated Premier in San Luis Obispo for more than a decade. If you have questions about varicose vein eczema or varicose veins in general, contact Premier today.
A Guide to VenaSeal™: Everything You Should Know
Varicose veins are no fun. Yet, as we begin to age, many of us begin seeing the appearance of those dark, telltale lines that indicate blood is pooling in our legs and around our ankles instead of returning to the heart as it should. While varicose veins are mostly benign, they may be a sign of a circulatory problem such as chronic venous insufficiency. This means that valves inside the veins of our legs are no longer functioning as they should. This can be due to normal aging, being overweight, or being on our feet too many hours out of the day. VenaSeal™ is a simple solution that can help alleviate the irritation of varicose veins. Book a consult today.
The Amazing Details About VenaSeal™ Procedure
VenaSeal™ is a simple, minimally invasive procedure that your vein specialist performs on an outpatient basis. You're able to return to your regular schedule immediately afterward, and blood flow to your heart from your legs may actually become stronger and healthier as a result. The steps of a VenaSeal™ procedure are simple:
- You'll receive a shot of a local anesthetic for pain relief near the site of the initial injection.
- Your vein specialist will make a single incision near the damaged vein and insert a catheter.
- A special adhesive is pumped into the damaged vein and pressure is applied afterward, effectively sealing the vein.
- Blood is automatically re-routed to healthy veins nearby, where it can be pumped back to the heart.
- The closed veins are harmlessly absorbed by the body, becoming invisible to the eye.
VenaSeal™ is safe and effective and allows you to return to work immediately. You can drive yourself to and from treatment. It's that minimally invasive, and closed veins will never open up again.
How Much Does VenaSeal™ Cost?
The average cost of a VenaSeal™ procedure is around $3,000, but may vary depending upon where you live and other circumstances. This may sound expensive, but in reality, it's a state-of-the-art medical procedure that allows patients to find immediate relief from the pain, itching, and swelling of varicose veins, while alleviating the unsightly bulging, black lines that develop as a result.
Is VenaSeal™ Covered by Insurance?
Unlike other forms of treatment for chronic venous insufficiency, VenaSeal™ may not be covered by your insurance carrier because it's the newest, most cutting-edge treatment available for closing varicose veins. Before having your procedure, speak with your insurance representative to learn more about coverage.
If VenaSeal™ is not covered by your insurance carrier, talk with your vein specialist regarding radiofrequency vein ablation (RVA). RVA is normally considered effective treatment for chronic venous insufficiency, and as such, most carriers provide coverage.
Is VenaSeal™ Covered by Medicare?
Happily, Medicare often covers at least a percentage of the cost of the VenaSeal™ procedure as long as it's considered medically necessary. Talk with your vein specialist to find out whether your procedure is considered necessary or cosmetic. Because varicose veins can lead to bigger problems such as venous ulcers, seeking treatment is typically recommended.
Schedule a Consultation Today
When you're ready to find relief for the discomfort and embarrassment of varicose veins, Premier Heart & Vein Care is ready to help. Our dedicated vein specialist is an expert at performing the newest, most scientific treatments for varicose veins, including VenaSeal™. Meet our vein physician in San Luis Obispo, CA, when you book your consultation today.
Why Do Pregnant Women Get Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are common during pregnancy, but usually fade after delivery. Follow these tips to manage the discomfort and make your pregnancy as pleasant as possible.
Awaiting the birth of a child is often a joyous time. But for 40 percent of pregnant women, it comes with an uncomfortable side effect: varicose veins.
Shortly after childbirth, pregnancy-related varicose veins tend to disappear, and for that reason, don’t require medical intervention. But while you’re carrying your baby, you may experience the uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins — pain, swelling, cramping, and tired legs. Fortunately, alleviating those symptoms can be accomplished with some simple, at-home remedies.
Why Varicose Veins Appear During Pregnancy
Changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy may lead to the development of bulging, twisting varicose veins. When carrying a baby, the body produces excess blood to nourish both the mother and the fetus. This occurs at the same time the pregnancy hormone progesterone weakens the vein walls, making it harder for the veins to manage that extra volume of blood. A third factor is the additional weight the growing baby puts on the abdominal veins, which, in turn, slows circulation between the pelvis and the heart.
All of these components strain the vein valves whose job it is to return blood to the heart. These tiny flaps become overwhelmed by the force of gravity when pumping blood from the legs up to the heart. Eventually, the veins swell under the skin and appear as protruding varicose veins.
Treating Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Besides the legs, varicose veins may also develop on the vulva and rectum as hemorrhoids. Although surgical treatment isn’t necessary because the varicose veins will typically recede after delivery, you should alert your doctor to the condition, especially if there are any skin changes or if the veins bleed. Varicose veins can increase the risk of blood clots, so you’ll need to be monitored for that, too.
During your pregnancy, try these self-care tips to manage any discomfort. Each can help counteract the swelling, pain, and cramping that comes along with varicose veins.
- Stay Active. Always check with your doctor about which exercises are safe, but walking and swimming are common low-impact workouts that strengthen the calf muscles. When you work your calf muscles, you’re also helping the vein valves push blood back to the heart.
- Don’t Sit or Stand For Too Long. Sitting or standing for long hours adds pressure to already stressed veins. Give yourself — and your veins — a break by taking brief strolls periodically or flexing your ankles while you sit.
- Put Your Feet Up. An easy way to encourage blood flow back to the chest is by elevating your legs above your heart several times a day. Doing so makes it easier for your veins to circulate blood freely between the extremities and the heart.
- Ditch the High Heels. Instead of heels, switch to flats that work the calf muscles when you walk. Also avoid tight-fitting garments, especially around the waist. Tightly cinching your waist will block blood flow between the inferior vena cava (a large vein in the abdomen) and the extremities.
- Sleep on Your Left Side. Your sleeping position can either help — or hinder — your circulation. To relieve pressure on the inferior vena cava and boost blood flow, sleep on your left side.
- Wear Compression Stockings. These tightly woven socks provide the extra support your veins need to pump blood back to the heart. By compressing the veins, the stockings prevent blood from pooling in the legs.
- Stock Up on Vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a vital role in your circulatory system. That’s because your body uses it to produce collagen, a substance that repairs and keeps blood vessels strong.
Visit the Vein Specialists
If your varicose veins don’t go away within a year after delivery, or you want to know more about how to take care of your varicose veins while pregnant, visit the vein specialists at Premier Heart and Vein Care. We’ll discuss all your surgical and non-surgical treatment options. Contact us today to set up an appointment.
Should I See a Doctor for My Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins can directly impact your health and quality of life — here’s how to know if you’re at risk.
While varicose veins may not pose an immediate risk for some people, they are a serious health concern for thousands of others. In fact, varicose veins may result in painful leg swelling, numbness, skin ulcers that refuse to heal, infections, excessive bleeding, blood clots, and more.
These symptoms make it difficult to enjoy daily activities and can, in some cases, be life-threatening. Keep an eye out for the following signs to determine if your varicose veins are putting you at risk:
1. Swollen, Tender Skin
While varicose veins are a common part of the aging process — a result of worn-out valves that are no longer able to effectively pump blood back to the heart — it’s important to pay close attention to your veins as they change. In particular, varicose veins are a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that develops deep within the body.
Signs you may have DVT include cramps, discoloration, swelling, and skin that is red, tight, tender and/or warm to the touch.
2. Legs that Ache, Throb, or Feel Uncharacteristically Weak
Blood that fails to circulate properly and pools in the veins can cause patients to experience persistent aches and pains throughout the day. Others may notice that their legs feel weak or heavy. These symptoms are often heightened during warm weather or as a result of excessive sitting or standing.
It’s important to pay attention to these signs of poor vein health, as they can make day-to-day tasks more difficult, directly impacting your quality of life.
3. Itchy, Dry Skin and/or Discoloration
Leg ulcers are breaks in the skin, or lesions, that usually impact tissues below the wound. If left untreated, they can cause serious, life-threatening infections.
Dry, itchy skin, discoloration, and/or a rash on your lower legs or around your ankles all indicate poor circulation and warn of an impending ulcer. Other signs of a leg ulcer include swelling and firm skin that feels almost hard to the touch.
Seeking Treatment for Varicose Veins
If you’re experiencing any of the signs and symptoms described above, it’s important to make an appointment with a vein specialist as soon as possible. A vein expert will conduct a comprehensive exam and use the latest in diagnostic equipment to determine the best course of action.
Common forms of modern vein treatments include:
- VenaSeal™: VenaSeal is a type of “glue” injected into spider or varicose veins to create a barrier. This barrier prevents blood from entering the unhealthy vein, thus closing it off and relieving many painful vein-related symptoms.
- Venefit™: Venefit is designed to treat varicose veins, including those that are larger or located deep within the body. During this procedure, a vascular surgeon threads a thin catheter into the abnormal vein and administers radiofrequency energy. This causes the vein to collapse and shrink.
- Varithena®: Varithena is the only foam treatment that's been approved by the FDA to treat large leg veins. Once injected into the vein, the foam irritates the vein lining, causing it to close. After treatment, the body redirects blood to neighboring veins so circulation is improved and varicose vein symptoms are resolved.
- Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat varicose and spider veins. It involves injecting a sclerosant, or solvent, into the damaged veins, causing them to collapse. This outpatient procedure is typically performed in less than an hour.
These are just a few of the many varicose vein treatment options available. Don’t put your health on hold any longer — get in touch with Premier Heart & Vein Care today to set up an appointment with a vein specialist.
Which is the Best Treatment for Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins range from very small (spider veins) to large, tortuous veins that cause burning, swelling and leg pain. Although most common in the legs, they can occur anywhere in the body. Most vein treatment in today's world is done on an outpatient basis, but treatment varies according to a number of different factors. Here's what you need to know about vein care and vein treatment, courtesy of Dr. Ken Stevens at Premier Heart and Vein Care.
Varicose Vein Basics
A varicose vein occurs when the tiny tissue flaps called valves to stop doing their jobs. As a result, blood can flow backward and pool in the vein. As the vein becomes distended, it starts to twist and bulge from the increased pressure. You can get a varicose vein anywhere in the body, including inside in places like the esophagus, where they are called esophageal varices. The distended veins are unsightly and can make your legs burn, itch, swell or hurt. In severe cases, you can actually develop leg ulcers from the damaged veins. Very small varicose veins, called spider veins, may occur in places like the face, chest, legs or ankles. Many varicose veins can be diagnosed with a physical examination, but an ultrasound may also be used for confirmation.
Varicose Vein Treatment – Conservative
Self-care and compression stockings are the most common conservative recommendations for varicose veins. Varicose veins often accompany obesity, so losing weight may help. The vein won't go away, but it may get smaller and you'll have fewer symptoms. It may also prevent you from developing more varicose veins. Other strategies – regular exercise to improve circulation, not wearing tight clothes and not spending long hours on your feet – may also be helpful. Specially fitted compression stockings are another self-care strategy.
Varicose Vein Treatment – Interventions
For more severe problems or if conservative strategies don't help, there are office-based procedures available. Some treatments are outpatient surgeries. Among the possibilities are:
Sclerotherapy – an irritant solution is injected into the vein, which collapses and scars closed. Used for spider veins.
Foam sclerotherapy – similar to the above but foam is injected into larger varicose veins.
Laser surgery – lasers can make the vein swell, collapse and scar closed.
Radiofrequency treatment – a special catheter is inserted into the vein, the radiofrequency energy irritates the vein and it scars closed.
Litigation and vein stripping – a minor surgical procedure; the vein is tied off high in the leg and pulled out from the bottom.
Ambulatory phlebectomy – similar to a vein stripping, but the vein is removed in smaller sections.
Endoscopic vein surgery – surgery to remove the vein with a special instrument inserted into the vein.
The best treatment for a varicose vein depends on many things – your age, your physical condition, your symptoms, and the size and location of the vein. Dr. Stevens can asses your situation and make a recommendation that works best for you. Please contact our office for more information or to schedule an appointment.
What You Need to Know about Varithena®, the Varicose Vein Treatment
Do you have varicose veins? Varithena® might be the right varicose vein treatment for you!
If you have varicose veins, you are not alone. About 22 million adults in the United States suffer from these twisting, bulging, unsightly veins, according to the American Heart Association. Untreated, varicose veins can cause discomfort, achy or heavy feelings in the legs, and even burning, swelling, throbbing, and muscle cramping of the legs.
What Kind of Doctor Treats Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins can be both unsightly and embarrassing for patients. In many cases, they also cause uncomfortable symptoms. If you are struggling with varicose veins, you may wonder what type of doctor you should see to deal with this condition.
Why Varicose Veins are More Common in Females
Gender plays a huge role in whether or not you get varicose veins. Discover why women are more susceptible to getting varicose or spider veins than men.
How to Prevent Varicose Veins From Getting Worse
Varicose veins are a common problem that can be both painful and embarrassing. Unfortunately, once this condition develops, it tends to worsen over time without the right treatment. To prevent varicose veins from getting worse, you need to consult an experienced doctor for vein treatment as soon as possible.
Is Varicose Vein Treatment Right for You?
Varicose vein treatment helps thousands of people overcome embarrassing and uncomfortable varicose veins each year. Vein doctors use the most technically advanced medical tools to diagnose and treat varicose veins. Patients find relief with the first visit to a vein clinic, and most are back to work the same day after treatment.
You may wonder if vein treatment will relieve your varicose vein problem. You might worry that your varicose veins are not serious enough – or that they are too serious – for treatment. Comfort, recovery time, and other considerations might prevent you from seeking treatment. Fortunately, advances in varicose vein care have made treatment available for almost everyone suffering from varicose veins. The vascular surgeons at Premiere Vein Clinic are glad to help you determine if varicose vein treatment is right for you.
How to Know if Varicose Vein Treatment is Right for You
Use a mirror to look at the backs of your legs. If you see ugly blue or red veins that look like twisted cords on your skin, varicose vein treatment will likely help. Doctors can remove these veins, leaving smooth, beautiful skin behind.
Run your fingers lightly over the skin on your legs. Do you feel veins bulging outwards? Vascular surgeons can treat those bulging veins using a variety of state-of-the-art medical treatments, such as ambulatory microphlebectomy, endovenous laser therapy (EVLT), sclerotherapy, and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy.
Look at the color of your skin, especially around your ankles. Dark or discolored skin may be a sign that you need varicose vein treatment. Assess the pain or discomfort associated with your varicose veins. California vein doctors relieve pain caused by varicose veins through minimally invasive procedures that are safe and effective.
Examine your lower legs for skin ulcers. Varicose veins do a poor job of delivering oxygen to and carrying toxins away from body cells. Lack of oxygen and toxic buildup in tissue cells can lead to the development of sores known as skin ulcers.
Look at your wardrobe. Have you started to cover up your legs because you are embarrassed about your varicose veins? Wearing long pants and other heavy clothes in Florida is unfashionable and downright uncomfortable. Consider varicose vein treatment if you want to go back to wearing shorts, skirts, and bathing suits again.
Contact your local vein doctors to find out if varicose vein treatment is right for you. Vascular surgeons will perform a comprehensive exam and use the latest in diagnostic equipment to determine the cause of your varicose veins. Your doctor can then suggest the best course of treatment for your varicose veins.
Make an appointment with Premier Vein Institute today for varicose vein treatment tomorrow.