Itching is one of the many uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins. Here’s how you can find relief.
In addition to the pain and swelling that often accompany varicose veins, you may also experience an itching sensation. Irritated and itchy skin around varicose veins stems from an underlying condition called venous insufficiency.
Venous insufficiency means that the veins in the extremities aren’t performing properly. Often due to excess weight, sitting or standing for long periods of time, or pregnancy, the valves in the veins become weaker and are unable to pump blood back toward the heart. This causes blood to collect within the vein walls, which then expand. This swelling leads to twisted and protruding varicose veins.
The skin around varicose veins turns red and itchy when the excess blood spills into the surrounding skin and irritates the sensitive nerve fibers. This condition — venous stasis dermatitis — deprives the skin of oxygen, leading to inflammation. A lack of blood flow to the extremities also causes dry skin, which is another source of itchiness.
Left untreated, a sore may develop around the itchy vein. Fortunately, various treatments are available for varicose veins, some of which can be done at home. Yet the only sure cure for varicose veins — and the itchiness they cause — is a minimally-invasive procedure like sclerotherapy or endovenous ablation that closes off damaged veins.
How to Treat Itchy Varicose Veins
After an examination, your doctor may first recommend an antihistamine for itching and a heavy moisturizing lotion to keep the skin from drying out. Because an open sore may become infected, an antibiotic may be prescribed, and a dressing will be applied to protect the skin.
Other helpful at-home treatments include elevating the legs above the heart whenever possible. Wearing tight-fitting compression stockings squeezes the veins so that blood circulates back toward the heart. Brisk walks and other low-impact exercises can strengthen calf muscles and promote circulation. It’s also important to avoid rubbing the inflamed skin, which can cause damage and actually increase the urge to itch.
These therapies, however, are most effective for short-term relief only. To permanently erase varicose veins, your doctor may recommend a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure that requires little to no anesthesia. Here are three common varicose vein treatments that can help eliminate your symptoms.
- Sclerotherapy. During a sclerotherapy procedure, a vein specialist will inject a chemical into the damaged vein that causes scar tissue to develop and close off the vein. After a few months, the varicose vein will fade completely.
- Endovenous Ablation. Endovenous ablation uses either laser heat or radiofrequency waves to seal off the unhealthy vein. It is the preferred treatment for larger, bulging veins, and can be performed in just 10 to 15 minutes.
- Endoscopic Vein Surgery. If your varicose veins have erupted into open sores, your doctor may perform endoscopic vein surgery. During this procedure, a camera attached to a thin tube is inserted into the vein. A special instrument is then used to close the vein.
In each of these treatments, once the vein collapses, blood is absorbed by healthier nearby veins. Patients typically return to their daily activities immediately after the brief procedure.
Let’s Us Treat Your Varicose Veins
You don’t have to endure another day of painful, itchy varicose veins. At Siragusa Vein & Laser, we offer several different procedures to treat your symptoms and eliminate the underlying condition. Whatever you choose, we care about your vein health and want you to be comfortable with your decision. Contact us today for a free screening.