What Are the Treatments for Stasis Dermatitis?

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Stasis dermatitis, or venous stasis uclers, is a condition characterised by skin irritation and/or rash. The condition is caused by fluid building up below the skin. This fluid causes the skin to swell, prompting stasis dermatisis. The condition can be treated by non-surgical or surgical methods, depending on the patient and the severity of the condition.

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Causes

The stasis dermatitis itself is caused by the effect of excess fluid which builds up under the skin. This underlying build-up of fluid can have many causes. The underlying causes of stasis dermatitis include poor circulation, varicose veins, ulcers and congestive heart failure. Treatment for stasis dermatitis will correct the effects of the fluid on the skin, but the underlying problems and causes of stasis dermatitis should be resolved and/or treated if possible in order to achieve long-term relief from stasis dermatitis.

Symptoms

Identifying stasis dermatitis is the first step in the treatment process. Symptoms include swelling in the ankles or legs, skin legions, thick skin, open sores on the skin, itchy skin, irritated skin and/or dark red blotches on skin. While these are symptoms of stasis dermatitis, some of these symptoms can also be symptoms of other skin conditions, including eczema. A proper diagnosis from a doctor is necessary to ensure that the skin irritation is caused by stasis dermatitis and to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Diagnosis

Before doctors can identify a proper course of treatment, stasis dermatitis must be conclusively diagnosed. Doctors can typically diagnose the condition based on the visual appearance of the skin, but might also order a blood test to measure blood flow to the ankles or legs where the stasis dermatitis is present.

Treatment

Treatment typically involves two separate factors: treating the underlying condition which is causing the stasis dermatitis, and managing the symptoms associated with stasis dermatitis. Depending on the underlying condition, surgery may be required, (to remove varicose veins) medication may be prescribed, (to manage heart disease) or other steps may be taken. Physicians may also prescribe diuretics to help remove excess fluid from the body, including the sites of the stasis dermatitis.

In order to help resolve the swelling that causes stasis dermatitis, steps may be taken to improve circulation to the area. This may involve keeping the legs elevated, doing mild activity or wearing elastic stockings. Finally, the actual stasis dermatitis--the skin condition--must be treated. This usually involves applying a topical antibiotic cream or a dressing, and making sure that the infected area is kept clean and monitored for signs of infection.

Prognosis

Generally, stasis dermatitis is thought to be a chronic condition. Unless the underlying cause of the swelling is cured, the stasis dermatitis will be managed with treatment but never fully resolved.

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