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What should I do if my veins are swelling?

This question was asked in Eagle Creek, Indiana and has 8 answer(s) as of 12/18/2012.
I am a 41 year old woman that has been swelling for the past 3 months. I went to the doctor and asked for water pills, thinking it was water. I've been taking them for about a week, and I'm still swelling in the feet and lower back legs. At first I would itch. I took Benadryl and it helped. Then the doctor gave me Hyrdox for the itching and Trima water pills, but nothing is helping. The heating pad takes the swelling down sometimes. I need help. The doctor tells me that she doesn't know why this is happening. My blood work is fine, my sugar intake is fine, and I'm not taking any other medications. What can I do that will help? Thank you.

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Doctors Answers (8)

Swelling and itching in the legs and feet are common signs of venous insufficiency, which is curable with proper treatment. A high quality venous ultrasound examination by a doctor and clinic that specialize in vein treatment is the first step toward resolution of this problem. Many vascular labs and ultrasound labs are very good at identifying arterial disease and DVTs, but not so at identifying venous insufficiency. Going to a vein specialist is important. Venous insufficiency causes blood to back up under pressure in the leg veins. This causes fluid to accumulate in the tissues, which causes the swelling. When the veins under the skin are engorged, it irritates the skin and causes itching. Wearing 20-30 mmHg compression stockings (or if needed 30-40 mmHg compression stockings) will help reduce the symptoms until definitive treatment can be done.

You need to see a vein specialist, he/she will do an evaluation to rule out venous reflux disease.

It is possible, but of course I can not be sure without seeing you myself, that your symptoms are from CVI, Chronic Venous Insufficiency. You should consult a vein specialist, someone who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of venous disorders for an opinion.

Swelling associated with varicose veins is common and often the result of increased venous pressure with poor venous drainage (flow), and inflammation including phlebitis. Medical grade compression hose is one of the best methods for returning this fluid from the tissues (edema and swelling) back into circulation and out of the leg by reducing vein distension and improving venous flow and relief of swelling and itching. Treating problem varicose veins is also recommended.

This is a difficult question to answer without seeing your legs. Did your doctor suggest that it might be lymphedema? If you wish to have a consultation with a vascular surgeon, you may call our office.

You will need to have an ultrasound exam performed on your legs. This exam will determine whether you are suffering from varicose vein disease (or valve insufficiency in medical terms) which would explain your symptoms.

I think you should have a dupelex scan of both lower extremities to make sure you do not have venous valvular reflux of you varicose veins and/ or the deep veins in hour legs. This maybe contributing to your swelling. Pending the results of this test you maybe a candidate for endovenous laser ablation of the greater saphenous veins and/ or elastic compression stockings to control the edema if you have reflux involving the deep veins in your legs.

You should have this evaluated, and it sounds like your doctor is heading in that direction. Most doctors are very comfortable when a patient requests a second opinion or a specialist referral. Without more information - lab tests, physical exam, and so on - it's hard to know what kind of specialist to recommend. However, your primary care physician will have the information, so I'd ask her.

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