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…

  • Antihistamines
  • Medicated creams
  • Dressings
  • Antibiotics

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.

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