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Tout savoir sur l'eczéma variqueux.

All you need to know about varicose eczema.

Varicose eczema, also known as stasis eczema or venous eczema, is a skin condition primarily caused by venous insufficiency. Located on the leg and ankle, it is associated with varicose veins. Causes, symptoms, treatments: here is everything you need to know about varicose eczema.

Summary
Published February 8, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 5 min read
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The causes of varicose eczema.

Varicose eczema occurs when the veins in the lower limbs lose their tone and no longer transport blood to the heart as efficiently. Indeed, when everything is functioning properly, the blood circulating in the veins rises from the legs to reach the heart. To counteract gravity, the veins use valves, acting like flaps to prevent the backflow of blood. However, if they are damaged, the valves can no longer fulfill their role, causing blood to stagnate in the legs. This phenomenon is called venous stasis. It is also referred to as varicose veins or dilation of the veins under pressure. This condition is characterized by swelling and stasis. The excessive pressure of the blood on the walls of the veins causes a distension of the skin and its inflammation : this is the onset of varicose eczema.

It remains unclear why some individuals suffering from venous insufficiency only experience sensations of heaviness in the legs, while others develop stasis dermatitis in the absence of treatment. Physicians hypothesize that these patients have a predisposition on a genetic level. Additionally, factors such as overweight, sedentary lifestyle, and occupations that require prolonged standing, such as hairdressers or pharmacists, exacerbate the condition.

What are the symptoms of varicose eczema?

Varicose eczema is a dermatological disorder that progresses in several stages. The first is characterized by feelings of heavy legs. Due to the pressure exerted by the blood on the walls of the veins, these expand and the skin then reveals some small vessels. At this stage, it is possible to detect a varicose vein when an ultrasound is performed. The edema and swelling of the legs continue to intensify until they cause inflammation of the skin: itching sensations then appear, marking the onset of varicose eczema.

Under the effect of scratching, crusts form on the skin, causing oozing lesions. The area then becomes infected. Complete healing is still possible if varicose eczema is immediately treated. However, in the absence of care, a varicose ulcer develops. This will not heal and the wound will then become chronic.

Preventing varicose eczema.

The prevention of varicose eczema primarily involves the prevention of venous insufficiency. To achieve this, it is recommended to maintain regular physical activity, wear compression stockings during long airplane journeys or whenever you feel the need, and possibly elevate your legs at night to facilitate the return of blood to the heart. The most recommended sports to promote blood circulation are swimming, walking, and cycling.

In addition, if you are prone to heavy legs, you can also prevent varicose eczema by applying a moisturizing treatment to your legs daily. This will help to strengthen the skin barrier. With increased protection, the skin will be less prone to inflammation. We also recommend accompanying this routine with a massage to stimulate blood circulation.

Varicose Eczema: How to Alleviate It?

Several measures can help alleviate the symptoms of varicose eczema. In addition to wearing compression stockings and elevating your legs at night to stimulate blood circulation, the application of cold compresses or certain essential oils, such as tea tree or true lavender, is recommended to reduce itching. The topical corticosteroids prescribed by dermatologists also help to relieve itching episodes and reduce redness, due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the cortisone they contain.

If the itching does not subside or you notice that the lesions are intensifying, it is very important to consult a doctor who may suggest a procedure to remove the varicose veins. Stripping, phlebectomy, sclerotherapy, endovenous laser ablation, radiofrequency... Depending on your age, the severity of your varicose eczema, and your tolerance, different surgical options will be considered. The doctor will then discuss the benefits, risks, and expected outcomes of each option, while taking into account your needs and preferences.

Note : The sooner you consult a doctor, the less severe the procedure and its repercussions will be. That's why we recommend you not to wait to make an appointment, especially if your heavy leg sensations persist.

Sources

  • GOLDENBERG G. & al. Eczema. The Mount Sinai journal of medicine (2011).

  • SAURAT J. H., LACHAPELLE J. M., LIPSKER D., THOMAS L. et BORRADORI L. Dermatologie et infections sexuellement transmissibles. Elsevier Masson (2017).

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