Varicose eczema is a quite frequent complication of varicose veins.
Eczema of various types is a common problem in the population. Many children suffer from atopic eczema. Seborrhoeic eczema also occurs frequently.
Often people seem to grow out of these problems as they mature. Certain situations can trigger later outbreaks.
The simplest treatment for eczema of various types, apart from the more potent surface treatments with various cortisone preparations, is simple application of a moisturiser. This illustrates the basic underlying problem with eczema.
Evolution Of Eczema
For some reason the skin itself becomes relatively dry. This tends to cause the skin to itch. When scratched or rubbed then skin breaks down. The typical reddened, scaling appearance follows.
I remember children admitted covered with eczema who were simply treated with regular moisturising cream applications (usually with associated particular bathing lotions) recover totally in days. More severe cases can require much more powerful agents.
Varicose eczema arises from that simple underlying problem. The skin is less well nourished due to the increased proportion of waste products poorly cleared by the inadequate, impaired and damaged varicose veins in the area.
The less well-nourished skin becomes drier. It becomes itchy. It breaks down into eczema.
Usually the varicose eczema will occur around and just above the ankles. But it can occur anywhere in the legs particularly about areas of varicose veins.
Again simple treatments like moisturisers will help early problems. Many women, with their regular leg moisturising applications will mask the early development of varicose eczema.
Once the problem becomes more severe, usually topical steroid creams are required.
The eczema usually tends to be worse around the change of seasons - autumn and spring - like many other eczema forms.
Varicose eczema will tend to readily relapse and require further applications of cream to bring it under control again.
The only definitive treatment for varicose eczema is to treat the underlying varicose veins - ideally by endovenous laser treatment or ultrasound guided and surface treatment of varicose veins. Surgery can be used, but is becoming much less common.
Once the veins are fixed, and often once the initial treatment is done, varicose eczema tends to disappear completely.
A recurrence of the eczema would tend to indicate an untreated or relapsing underlying varicose vein problem.