Varicose eczema is a serious and common condition
and at the VeinCare Centre we frequently get asked questions about it. In this video, I
am going to cover the 10 commonest questions we get asked and I will give you our answers. Number 1 – What is varicose eczema? The
term varicose eczema is in fact a misnomer and it is very misleading. The condition is
neither an eczema – a skin problem- nor is it caused by varicose veins. The term arose
before we fully understood the true nature of the problem. So in fact varicose eczema
can develop even in the absence of visible varicose veins and unlike skin problems it
should not be managed solely by dermatologists. Other misleading synonyms are gravitational
eczema and stasis eczema suggesting that gravity somehow preferentially adversely affects some
people – clearly ridiculous – or that blood is stagnant in some people – again, equally
ridiculous. Varicose eczema is what we see when the skin is being damaged. Number 2 – What causes varicose eczema?
Well, the true nature of varicose eczema is a malfunction of the veins of the legs which
causes inflammation and scarring of the skin and the underlying fat layer. These changes
are seen when biopsies of varicose eczema are looked at under the microscope. A better
medical term is lipodermatosclerosis Number 3 – What is the treatment for varicose
eczema? Again, the underlying vein problem should be diagnosed by ultrasound and it should
be rectified if at all possible. Number 4 – What about creams for varicose
eczema? Often the skin becomes dry and itchy. Moisturising creams can help. Varicose eczema
should not be treated with steroid creams, however, except for very brief periods when
the itchiness and pain are very troublesome. Longer term use of steroid creams will help
the relieve symptoms and the area will look and feel better, but the use of steroids will
thin the skin over time making it more vulnerable to further damage in the long run. Number 5 – What about medical stockings?
Medical stockings or socks help normalise the function of the leg veins when they are
worn and therefore wearing them will go a long way to improving the varicose eczema.
Ideally, they should be put on first thing in the morning before getting out of bed and
they should be taken off last thing at night. They are not a long-term solution and most
people do not like wearing them Number 6 – Should everyone with varicose eczema
have a scan? – A duplex ultrasound scan is essential in all cases of varicose eczema.
It will detect the exact vein abnormality and the results of the scan will form the
basis of the plan for curative treatment. Number 7 – Can varicose eczema be cured?
Over half of all cases of varicose eczema are caused by a malfunction in the superficial
veins of the leg- the veins which lie deep to the skin but superficial to the leg muscles.
These problems in the superficial veins can nearly always be cured by non-invasive procedures
under local anaesthetic on a walk-in walk out basis — procedures such as laser, radiofrequency,
foam sclerotherapy or superglue. Number 8 – Will varicose eczema come back?
Well, varicose eczema is a condition in which the skin is damaged and there may be permanent
scarring and changes only visible under the microscope. The area is vulnerable and although
the vein condition can be cured, the skin may not completely return to normal even after
successful vein treatment. Number 9 – Can I get varicose eczema on my
arms? If you have varicose eczema on your leg, it can spread to other parts of the body.
The medical term is autoeczematisation. Once the leg vein problem is treated, the eczema
elsewhere gets better. Number 10 – What happens if I ignore varicose
eczema? Varicose eczema should be taken seriously. It is a warning sign that the skin is being
damaged by inflammation and if neglected and not treated, varicose eczema will progress
to a leg ulcer. Well, I hope you have found this video interesting.
For more information about varicose eczema visit our website. Thank you for watching
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