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What can I do about my varicose veins itching?

I’ve had varicose veins for a few years, and they haven’t bothered me too much, but for the past month or so, they’ve been really itchy. No matter how much I scratch, they won’t stop itching. What can I do to make them less itchy? Should I be worried about how itchy they are?

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Doctors Answers (7)

The only treatment that will fix your problem is to treat your veins. They will continue to itch until they are closed. You should make an appointment at a vein center to be evaluated.

Itchy varicose veins is the first stage of stasis dermatitis which can ultimately lead to more serious problems, like leg ulcers, over a number of years. You can slow down this process by wearing compression stockings daily and getting off your feet whenever possible, or definitively treating the problem by seeing a vein specialist for evaluation.

Varicose veins may itch, burn, ache, or may not have any symptoms. Itching is a form of pain that is due to irritation and inflammation of the varicose vein, and it may reflect stretching of the vein as it is congested and enlarges slowly (usually at the end of the day). Itching is a fairly nonspecific symptom of irritation, but can occur, usually around the ankles prior to rupture and bleeding of a varicose vein. Anti-histamines may provide some temporarily help with the itching, and treating the veins in the clinic would be a good long term solution.

This is due to the underlying condition of chronic venous insufficiency or reflux. The cure is to stop this backwards flow (reflux) by ablating the major superficial vein (the greater saphenous vein). We treat this condition weekly at the Iowa vein clinic and you are welcome to call for an appointment.

See your doctor and discuss a plan of action.

This should not worry you unless there is a skin problem overlying it. You may try a camphor cream to see if that helps, or have them treated by a physician to see if that gets rid of the problem.

This is a histamine response in the skin and is quite common. Care should be taken not to damage the skin over the veins if it is thin, as this can lead to bleeding, which is quite dramatic but easily controlled with a little local pressure and elevating the limb. Keep the skin moisturized and wear a compression hose that will keep the vein closed down. This should reduce itching. You should consider being evaluated by a surgeon who is vascular- and venous-trained with ultrasound to determine if there is a deeper cause of the varicose veins. They do not start on the surface, but result in back flow of a larger vein deeper down.

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