Causes - Varicose eczema

Varicose eczema is usually caused by increased pressure in the leg veins.

The small valves in the veins stop working like they should. This makes it difficult for blood to push upwards which means it can leak backwards.

This increases the pressure in the veins which can cause fluid to leak into the nearby tissue. it is believed that the immune system reacts to this fluid, causing varicose eczema.

People most at risk of varicose eczema

Varicose eczema is more common in people with varicose veins. That condition is also often a sign that the leg veins aren't working like they should.

Some people develop the condition for no obvious reason. But there are certain factors that increase its chances.

They include:

  • gender – varicose eczema is more common in women
  • obesity – this can increase the pressure in your leg veins
  • pregnancy – this can also increase the pressure in your leg veins
  • if you've had deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • increasing age – people generally find it harder to move about as they get older


Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 23 March 2021
Next review due: 23 March 2024

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