For many, itchy veins are a cosmetic concern. However, itchy veins can be indicative of vein disease, which can lead to more severe problems such as loss of mobility, swelling and skin discoloration.
What is vein disease?
Vein disease is any complication arising from damaged veins. Due to age and other risk factors like obesity, smoking, pregnancy, family history, and physical activity levels, problems may develop in the veins. When vein walls are damaged, blood can accumulate and flow backward. This causes a buildup of pressure in the veins.
Consequently, as the veins stretch, twist and swell, the valves become ineffective and can hinder blood flow. Ultimately vein disease can contribute to blood clotting, vein discoloration, and more.
What causes itchy veins?
The accumulation of blood in damaged veins causes inflammation because deoxygenated blood contains toxins like lactic acid and CO2. The subsequent build up of pressure in the veins can cause blood to leak into surrounding tissues.
The disintegration of red blood cells causes deposition of hemoglobin, edema, and fibrinogen into skin and muscles. These cause skin irritation which can lead to itchiness and inflammation also known as stasis dermatitis. If you suffer from itching veins, it is important to see a medical professional to prevent your itching veins from developing into a more severe condition.
What are the treatment options available for itchy varicose veins?
A visit to a dermatologist or vein specialist (like us!) is a good place to start. Treatments available for itchy veins include:
A doctor may recommend moisturizers, over the counter topical creams, or medicated ointments depending on the severity of the condition. Corticosteroid inhibitor creams can help to reduce inflammation and relieve itching. Gentle and non-fragrant moisturizers such as emollient creams and petroleum jelly can help to alleviate skin dryness when applied regularly.
Compression stockings are specially-tailored socks that gently put pressure on the veins in the legs to improve blood circulation and relieve swelling. Getting compression stockings that fit correctly is important to ensure their effectiveness. Contact us to learn more about compression stockings & alternative treatment options.
If vein symptoms become severe, they may warrant a surgical procedure. Several treatment options are available.
- Sclerotherapy is a procedure involving a salt solution that irritates the walls of the vein.
- Endovenous thermal ablation is another treatment option which uses heat to seal off problematic veins.
Curious about learning about additional treatment options for vein disease? Visit our Treatment Options page to learn more!
Itchy varicose veins can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. However, available treatments are mildly invasive, FDA approved, and effective. Contact us for more information.