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The facts about why Varicose Veins Itch

Source: La Jolla Light, San Diego Vein Institute

The itchy skin that can affect varicose vein sufferers often is diagnosed as either venous stasis dermatitis or venous eczema.

Although not often talked about, this symptom can occur when blood builds up in the damaged blood vessels and begins to leak, creating inflammation and swelling. This condition particularly affects the legs because they are prone to varicose veins.

The amount we stand and sit both play a major role in the development of varicose veins. The pressure of standing and sitting can impede blood circulation, and the blood is not able to flow back to the heart. The blood pools and forms twisted, enlarged blood vessels.

Continued itching can irritate the skin and result in skin abrasions and wounds. As venous stasis dermatitis worsens, it can develop into venous eczema. If this happens, the skin will begin to feel and look scaly and become red in color.

What can be done for the itching, skin scaliness and redness related to varicose veins? Below are some ways to manage these skin conditions.

Do not scratch

It sounds counterproductive but scratching the itchy areas can often worsen the itch. Scratching can lead to further trauma in the veins and increase the histamine that the body produces. Scratching also can cause cuts on the skin, which can lead to an infection, or an ulcer can form due to the excess swelling and fluid.

Apply specific topicals

Skin creams or lotions that contain antihistamines can reduce histamine, which reduces itchiness. Non-steroidal anti-itching creams or lotions, such as Gold Bond brand anti-itch cream or Calamine lotion, can reduce itching, too. If your itching is severe, an oral histamine might be a good choice. Discuss these options with your doctor.

Wear support stockings

Consider wearing compression stockings to improve circulation in the legs, which in turn can help to minimize inflammation and itchiness.

Commit to health and fitness

Eat a healthy diet that is high in fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains to help keep your weight in check and to reduce inflammation in the body. Remember to stay hydrated too. Light exercise, such as walking keeps the circulation in your legs moving. Elevate your legs regularly to improve circulation from your head to your toes.

Seek expert advice

Although the above suggestions will provide relief, these methods will only treat the symptoms. To eliminate health issues related to varicose eczema, the problem veins need to be treated.


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