Men, listen up! Don’t underestimate varicose veins. There is more than meets the eye.
While it is true that treatment is primarily sought by women, up to 50 percent of men in the United States may develop varicose veins in their lifetime.
And varicose veins are not just a cosmetic concern—they can lead to discoloration, bleeding, skin ulcers, and a “heavy leg” sensation that may hinder daily activity. These are signs of poor blood circulation through the body, especially in your lower extremities, which can be a major cause for concern.
What Causes Varicose Veins in Men?
The problem involves veins in the lower extremities that suffer from high pressure from within. Naturally, blood pools in these veins due to gravity, resulting in high pressure within the veins. Whereas the deeper veins are supported by the muscles within our legs, the superficial veins that cause varicose veins will stretch. Over time, these vein walls can become weakened from the constant pressure and start to develop reflux or venous insufficiency. This is when symptoms such as leg cramps, heaviness, and swelling should no longer be ignored. Venous insufficiency is more common in individuals who sit or stand for prolonged periods, increasing age, obesity, and most importantly patients with a family history. Developing varicose veins is linked to our DNA and this affects men and women alike.
Is There A Difference Between Men and Women Who Have Varicose Veins?
Venous insufficiency is a chronic and progressive disease process. Women tend to present earlier in the disease because they are often more in tune with their bodies. While the appearance of spider veins may not bother some men, it’s important to be aware that these are early signs of vein disease and preventing more serious complications requires awareness. If you are experiencing symptoms of leg heaviness, cramps, or skin color changes, a vein consultation is recommended. The diagnosis can be made at a single office visit with a careful history and physical exam.
How To Prevent Varicose Veins?
The easiest way to prevent varicose veins and symptoms is to keep yourself and your circulation moving. This can be as simple as taking a short walk, tapping your feet while sitting, or pumping your calf muscles. These simple actions prevent the natural tendency of blood to pool in your legs that builds pressure within the veins. Other helpful tips include:
- Exercise daily for both your heart health and your venous health
- Compression stockings are in fashion now and can be purchased at low costs. The initial recommendation is for 20-30 mmHg of compression at least knee high
- Avoid uncomfortable footwear especially during longer periods on your feet
- Elevate your legs especially when sitting for long stretches of time
- Change your sitting or standing position regularly
How to Treat Varicose Veins?
Fortunately, treatment for varicose veins has become incredibly simple and safe due to major advances in the field. Surgery is no longer required. Instead, the options are now minimally-invasive and do not require any downtime. In fact, many patients return to work the very same day after a quick treatment session. Most importantly, the procedures are covered by all major medical insurance and Medicare.
At the Princeton Vascular Center, Dr Brotman-O’Neill is a double board-certified vascular specialist who received her formal venous training during residency training for vascular surgery. She currently serves as the President-elect of the Vascular Society and is an invited speaker and Assistant Professor at the Rowan School of Medicine. She is a leading expert in the field of varicose veins and offers all the latest technology for the care of her patients.
Call 609-257-2095 or click here to request a varicose vein consultation