Itchy Varicose Veins: Best Home Treatment Tips for 2022?

 

So, I think we all know varicose veins are uncomfortable, right? They swell up, can cause heavy, restless legs and are certainly a cause of anxiety or stress should you suffer from them. 

But itchy varicose veins? Yeh, that’s totally a thing too. Planning a chilled weekend in front of the sofa? Nope, your skin has other ideas. And so the cycle of itch-scratch-itch begins. 

Luckily, we’re here to shed some light on the subject and hopefully lay out a simple at home treatment guide that can help ease your symptoms. 

In this guide, you’ll find: 

1) What are varicose veins?

2) What causes itchy varicose veins?

3) Medical intervention and treatment

4) Best ways to manage the condition at home 

So, what are varicose veins? 

Veins in the body are full of one-directional valves that help pump blood in one direction away from our skin, and back towards the heart and lungs. 

When these valves become faulty and blood starts to travel in both directions, pooling of blood and a build up of pressure can occur, which leads to the visible bulge shown on the skin. 

In appearance, varicose veins are thick, blue or purple and are visible near the skin’s surface. 

With varicose veins you may suffer from a number of the following symptoms: 

- Swelling in your legs and ankles

- Cramps or achiness in the thigh or calf

- Heavy legs

- Restlessness, especially at night

- Itchy, dry or hardened skin on the legs

In general, you’re more likely to develop varicose veins as you get older and the valves in your body get weaker. 

What causes itchy varicose veins? 

One cause of itchy varicose veins is stasis dermatitis (also termed varicose eczema). When blood builds up in damaged vessels, it can eventually leak out into the skin causing inflammation and discoloration. 

This can in turn then lead to a lack of oxygen reaching the skin. It is at this point you may become intensely itchy, with sores forming that can leak fluid and scab over. 

Basically, it becomes nasty. 

Another reason for itchy varicose veins is an increase in histamine in the body. When you suffer from such a condition, your body works hard to repair the damaged veins by releasing a number of hormones. 

One of these is histamine, which is the same hormone released during an allergic reaction. This can lead to an increased sense of itchiness in the body, and is why dermatologists often suggest antihistamines as a potential treatment option.  

Medical intervention and treatment

With something as serious as varicose veins and stasis dermatitis, medical intervention will be required to ensure you’re managing the symptoms safely and in the correct manner. 

There are a number of different options available: 

1) Topical medicated creams - yep, we’re talking steroids. It's not something we advocate, however they can, when used sensibly and in short bursts, provide welcome relief for eczema symptoms. (It’s when however they’re abused over long periods that problems can occur). As ever, just make sure you’re happy with what you’re putting on your skin :)

2) Antihistamines - these are taken to fight against the hormone histamine being created in the body which can cause the need to itch. 

3) Antibiotics - necessary if your varicose veins have turned into open sores and become infected. These can either be taken orally or through the use of a cream. 

4) Surgery - we won’t dive into the scientific detail here, but surgery is really the only way to cure your varicose veins and get lasting relief. The procedures below are ones for you to read up on:

- Sclerotherapy

- Laser treatment

- Endoscopic vein surgery 

Best ways to manage the condition at home

So you’re booked in to see the dermatologist, yay! Now what? The wait list is 3 months long and they’ve given you no further support in easing your symptoms. 

Don’t worry, we got you. 

1) Control the itch and nourish dry skin 

I know what you’re thinking, but how? As luck would have it, we got you! 

Our plant based calming spray has been especially designed to repair the skin barrier and deeply moisturise, as well as soothe irritated, itchy skin. 

Anti-inflammatory by nature, it’s also steroid, paraben and sulphate free. 

2) Moisturise, regularly! 

Crucial at maintaining the skin barrier and warding off any unwanted irritants, moisturising with a thick emollient (on top of our calming spray) is something you must build into your daily routine and stick to. 

3) Compression socks

These work by providing pressure to the legs and helping pump blood back towards the heart. They can help with reducing pain, inflammation and swelling. One tip? Always opt for knee high. 

4) Elevate the legs 

Getting your feet to the same level as or above the heart, will help improve circulation throughout the body. This in turn will reduce pressure in the legs and help blood flow more easily back to the heart. 

Sitting down infront of the TV for a few hours? Get them legs up! 

5) Keep moving 

Try your best not to sit down for long periods and definitely don’t cross your legs, as this will further restrict blood flow. If this is part of your job, make sure to wear compression socks as mentioned above and try jogging on the spot any moment you can! 

6) Exercise

This is great for improving circulation and overall body health. Swimming, cycling and running are great choices. 

Final thoughts 

So there we have it, a quick guide to itchy varicose veins and a simple at home treatment plan to hopefully help ease your symptoms. 

What have we missed? Jump over to our Twitter page and let us know! 

With care, 

The yan-yee team

Sources

- Varicose veins. (2020). Link

- Antihistamines. (2020). Link

- Sclerotherapy. (2019). Link

- Varicose veins - Endovenous laser therapy. (n.d.). Link

- Varicose veins. (n.d.). Link

- Why are my varicose veins itchy? (2016). Link

- Paul JC, et al. (2012). Itch: Association with Chronic Venous Disease, Pain and Quality of life. Link

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