Do Varicose Veins Cause Itching?

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Varicose and spider veins cause an array of symptoms including leg swelling, leg pain, throbbing of the legs, and the sensation of leg heaviness. People who report itching know they have it, meaning the symptom is NOT subtle. The question remains, is itching truly associated with varicose veins?

What Causes Symptoms of Varicose Veins?

Veins are supposed to carry blood back to the heart. It accomplishes this through one-way valves that open as we take steps and propels blood to the pelvis. When we breathe, the muscle that separates the chest from the belly (e.g. the diaphragm) pulls blood to the right side of the heart where it is oxygenated and ultimately sent back to the tissues by the heart.

Vein symptoms happen when veins become dilated, and the valves no longer work. Common causes of varicose veins include hormones and effects of pregnancy, occupations with prolonged sitting and standing, as well as our own genetic makeup. This leads to backwards flow that contributes to pressure in the veins. This pressure causes the veins to stretch and release inflammatory markers. It is the inflammatory component of backwards flowing varicose veins that is believed to be responsible for the symptom of itching.

Itching and Skin Changes due to Varicose Veins

Indeed, advanced cases of varicose veins lead to skin changes that include pigmentation (darker skin), inflammation (dry, red, flaking skin), and even open sores known as venous leg ulcers. When skin damage occurs, vein treatment is indicated. Again, as inflammation is seen at the skin level, itching is often a commonly reported symptom. In a single study looking at the five symptoms of varicose veins (Heaviness, Aching, Swelling, Throbbing, and Itching), it was found that those who reported itching had a far more advanced vein problem.

Itching is a common symptom related to varicose veins and spider veins

Itching is a common symptom of varicose veins and is found in more advanced cases. If you suffer from itchy legs and wonder if they could be related to your varicose veins, call to get your consultation at the Center for Vein Restoration. Chances are the itching can become a symptom of the past with a few short treatment sessions.

Article written by Dr. Schul

Dr. Schul is board-certified in Venous and Lymphatic Medicine and Emergency Medicine. He has been diagnosing and treating varicose veins, spider veins, leg ulcers, blood clots, and unexplained swelling since 2002.


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