Experiencing an intense itch on your legs? It might not be from a bug bite or an allergy. It could be caused by varicose veins. Learn about why this happens and explore the various treatment options that are available for itchy varicose veins.
What are Varicose Veins?
Veins, which are a part of your circulatory system, help transport blood from the organs in your body to your heart. When veins are healthy, the blood easily flows in a continuous cycle throughout the body. If the veins become weak or broken, the blood is unable to move and starts to back up.
Over time, the backed up blood will start to accumulate in the veins which causes them to swell and bulge. Oftentimes, you may start to notice the veins have a dark blue or purple color to them and they often appear thick and ropy. When this happens, you have developed varicose veins.
Why are Varicose Veins so Itchy?
Itching is one of the most common symptoms of varicose veins. The itching you experience isn’t caused by the actual varicose veins, but is a secondary condition that developed as a result of the varicose veins.
The itching is caused by venous stasis dermatitis, which is sometimes referred to as venous eczema or stasis dermatitis. Venous stasis dermatitis happens as a result of the blood that has backed up in the veins leaking out to the surrounding skin. This causes the skin to become inflamed as it is unable to get enough oxygen. Without proper oxygen, the skin starts to turn red and intense itching occurs.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Itchy Varicose Veins
There are a number of treatment options available for itchy varicose veins. The severity of your varicose veins will determine what treatment option your doctor recommends.
Some of the treatment options available for itchy varicose veins include:
- Corticosteroid Creams or Calcineurin Inhibitor Creams – helps reduce swelling and inflammation for minor cases of varicose veins
- Antihistamine – helps to relieve itching
- Antibiotics – oral or topical antibiotics may be recommended if your doctor believes the itching is caused by an open wound near the varicose veins that has become infected. Even if the itching isn’t caused by the open wound, a doctor will still prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection and help with healing.
- Dressings – compression stockings or wraps may be used to help reduce inflammation and swelling of the legs. Dressings may also be used when open wounds are present along with varicose veins.
While these non-surgical treatment options may help to relieve your itching, they do not cure or treat the varicose veins. Surgical treatments, typically administered by a vascular surgeon, are the only way to completely cure and treat varicose veins.
Surgical Treatment Options for Itchy Varicose Veins
Many of the surgical treatment options for itchy varicose veins are non-invasive. The type of surgical treatment option that is recommended by your vascular surgeon will depend upon the severity of your varicose veins, previous health history and whether you are experiencing any open wounds as a result of the varicose veins.
Surgical treatment options that may be recommended if you experience itchy varicose veins include:
- Sclerotherapy – the injection of a special chemical that seals the leaking veins by irritating them and causing scar tissue to form
- Laser Treatment – using laser energy to damage the walls of the veins which prevents blood from being able to flow through them. Blood is diverted to other, healthier veins and you may experience symptom relief.
- Endovenous Ablation Therapy – a small catheter is inserted into the vein. A laser will heat the top of the catheter which seals up the damaged vein.
- Microphlebectomy – tiny incisions are created that allow a small instrument to be inserted. The instrument will remove the veins that have become diseased or damaged.
Contact Us to Find Relief for Itchy Varicose Veins
If varicose veins, spider veins or other vascular issues are causing you health problems, schedule a consult with us right away. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the middle of winter or July here in Nashville, TN. We’ll plan out a course of vein treatment to help you deal with varicose veins, spider veins, or DVT.