Why Do Varicose Veins Itch?

Why Do Varicose Veins Itch?

The symptoms of varicose veins in the legs or elsewhere are more than a cosmetic nuisance. Swollen twisted veins visible under the skin surface (termed varicose veins) can lead to insufficient circulation of the blood to the affected area. They can also be itchy. Around one in every five adults has varicose veins, and pregnant women are at higher-than-average risk for developing varicose veins in the legs. In turn, poor venous circulation in the legs can lead to poor wound healing if the skin on the legs becomes broken. 

At the Palm Vein Center, we are experienced in surgically-treating varicose veins. The following are some of the other symptoms impacting varicose vein formation, as well as related risk factors and treatments.

Recognizing Symptoms of Varicose Veins

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the following are four common symptoms of varicose veins in the legs (besides those already noted):

  • A feeling of having “heavy” legs (or achy legs);
  • Pain and/or cramping in the legs;
  • Swelling of feet (and ankles);
  • Discolored skin in the area around the varicose vein

Obesity, Age, and Varicose Veins

An article in 2017 in Phlebology concludes that obesity is not only a risk factor for all types of lower limb venous disease, but increases the likelihood of related symptoms. Therefore, weight loss is recommended to reduce the likelihood of developing varicose veins. Meanwhile, the risk of developing varicose veins increases with age.

Since a high correlation also exists between obesity and high blood pressure (BP) development – and high BP increases the risk for varicose veins – embarking on a weight loss program in young adulthood if clinically-obese is a good idea. 

Complications of Varicose Veins

Living with untreated varicose veins in the legs is associated with a heightened risk for the following three serious leg complications:

  1. Ulcerations on the legs;
  2. Blood clots in the legs;
  3. Bleeding episodes in the legs

What are Some Non-Surgical Treatments for Varicose Veins?

For people experiencing minor-to-moderate symptoms from varicose veins in the legs, four nonsurgical treatment options are:

  • Utilizing leg compression stockings;
  • Avoiding standing in one position for a lengthy period of time;
  • Elevating the affected legs (while sitting);
  • Performing leg exercises aimed at increasing circulation in legs 

Surgical Treatments for Varicose Veins

Minimally-invasive surgical treatments include the following:

  • Endothermal ablation (using high-frequency radio waves or laser beams to seal the affected veins).
  • Sclerotherapy.
  • Transilluminated-Powered Phlebectomy (TPP). 

While invasive surgery to treat varicose veins is no longer as frequently performed as 10-15 years ago, vein-stripping (or vein-stripping withligation) may be necessary for people experiencing significant complications resulting from numerous severely-varicosed veins. 

One reason the invasive surgical option is recommended far less frequently than in past decades is that there is a higher risk of infection following invasive varicose vein surgeries than non-invasive ones.

Endothermal Ablation as Preferred Surgical Treatment

Endovenous laser ablation (ELA) is one form of endothermal ablation. According to research findings in 2018 in the British Journal of Surgery, it is more effective than invasive surgery for preventing clinical reoccurrence (up to five years following treatment) of the great saphenous veins in the legs. Meanwhile, findings in a Phlebolymphology article focused on radiofrequency ablation (RA) showed fewer post-op complications in post-RA patients than in patients who underwent invasive varicose vein surgeries.

Palm Vein Center (with offices in Phoenix and Surprise) offer both of these treatment options for varicose veins, making it an excellent choice for obtaining your outpatient surgical treatment.

Talk to our team to learn more about the best conservative and interventional treatment options for your vein condition.

The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

For more information on vein diseases and the treatments provided by the specialists at Palm Vein Center or to make an appointment, call 623-201-4777. We look forward to meeting you!