When people think of varicose veins, they tend to believe they only occur in women. While it is more common, it is not necessarily true. Roughly 11 million men in the United States between 40 and 80 years of age are affected by varicose veins.
A study has shown that varicose veins can affect up to 45% of all men at one point during their lives, and although it may seem like a cosmetic issue, it is important that varicose veins are seen by a doctor as they can often signify a serious underlying health condition.
Varicose veins typically manifest as rope-like enlarged veins bulging above the surface of the skin that are blue, green, or purple in color.
As with women, varicose veins in men are primarily hereditary but can develop when a person repeatedly experiences long periods of either standing or walking (usually associated with the job they do every day). Varicose veins occur when valves in the vein weaken and blood pools begin to form in the veins, causing the valves in the veins to further weaken. This then allows blood to flow back and forth, known as reflux, which is what causes the varicose vein. This condition is known as venous insufficiency.
As you grow older, veins naturally begin to lose their elasticity, causing them to stretch. Varicose veins can be hereditary, so if anyone in your family had them, you’re at greater risk of getting them as well. Other factors such as obesity increase your risk. When you’re overweight it places more pressure than necessary on your veins, which then begins to weaken the valves in your veins.
Complications of Varicose Veins
As mentioned above, varicose veins are not just a cosmetic issue. Significant disability may result from venous insufficiency and this can eventually lead to a bigger problem if not treated accordingly. One of these complications can be deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a condition in which a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in the body.
Usually, when this begins to happen, pain and swelling occur. However, some patients can also have DVT and be asymptomatic. These blood clots have the potential to lead to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
Venous leg ulcers cause the skin in your leg to break down. It usually starts as a discolored area of skin. Air and bacteria can enter the damaged tissue, causing a painful sore, known as an ulcer.
While leg uclers usually heal within two weeks, if your ulcer lasts longer, seek out a vein specialist to treat it.
Varicose Veins in Men: Treatment
Regardless of what is causing your varicose veins, men have recourse to several treatments to alleviate the symptoms and get rid of unsightly veins. Initial treatment might consist of simple remedies including exercise, changes to your diet, elevating your legs, and wearing compression stockings. Other treatments can be provided by a reliable vein clinic such as Virginia Vein Care.
Endovenous Laser Ablation
Endovenous Laser Ablation, or EVLA, makes use of a laser emitting light energy which causes the diseased leg vein to collapse. A small hose in the leg is made and a tiny catheter is inserted into the vein. The doctor will use a very thin fiber-optic laser probe to heat the vein, collapsing its walls. This is a relatively painless treatment, especially when compared to older varicose vein techniques such as vein stripping.
In order to begin to treat and avoid further varicose vein development, a visit to your physician along with a few lifestyle modifications are necessary.
Begin to increase your physical activity along with frequent breaks from long periods of either standing or walking. This will also help you lose weight, if necessary, which will decrease your risk of developing more damaged veins. Elevating your legs and wearing compression stockings can also help decrease your risk.
To learn more about the different treatments and options available for your varicose veins, schedule your consultation with one of our board-certified physicians and surgeons today! If you would like to get started safely online you can submit your symptoms and photos to us using our Online Vein Screening. All submissions will receive a call back from one of our doctors, at no charge.
Learn about the founder of Virginis Vein Care, Dr Lawrence Markovitz, a board-certified heart surgeon and vein specialist.