What was once thought to be only a disease of women, plagues men just as often. That’s right, we are talking about varicose veins! It’s not just something that your mom, grandma, or wife have anymore. About fifty percent of all men will develop varicose veins in their lifetime. That is a rather large percentage when it is usually thought of as a woman’s disease.
What are Varicose Veins in Men and What are the Causes?
Men develop varicose veins in the same way that women develop varicose veins. It all begins with the valves in the veins no longer functioning, to open and close to keep blood moving towards the heart and/or the vein walls weaken under pressure. These combined lead to excess blood in the veins that become swollen and twisted. This process can occur from a variety of different factors, that may or may not occur simultaneously. Age, family history, being overweight or obese, or sitting or standing for periods of time, can all cause varicose veins. The only difference between men and women is hormonal differences during a woman’s regular cycle and pregnancy, which cause additional risk for women to develop varicose veins.
How Can They Be Treated?
Since men and women develop varicose veins in the same way, they can also be treated in the same way. There are numerous amount of treatment options that are available, starting with non-procedural or conservative treatments, like activity modification, elevation of legs, avoidance of heat, and compression hose, and can extend to procedures such as sclerotherapy, endovascular treatments, or vein stripping surgery. The treatment options vary for each individual by their past medical history, current medications, severity and location of the veins, and any prior vein procedures or treatments.
What are Some Complications of Varicose Veins in Men?
For the most part, varicose veins are the same in men and women, but there is another distinguishing factor. Men usually have advanced disease and complications from their varicose veins, especially at first presentation to the doctor. But why is this? Men aren’t necessarily more prone to complications than women, rather they do not manage their disease early in the disease process, which leads to complications. The majority of the time, women tend to be concerned about the unsightly look of their varicose veins and are seen by a physician, likely before they begin having symptoms of swelling and pain from their varicose veins. Men avoid seeking care until there are symptoms that prevent them from doing their regular duties.
The moral of men with varicose veins, is that they occur just as often as women and are just like varicose veins in women, but they tend to have advanced disease and complications from their varicose veins. Men should not ignore their varicose veins just because they are not painful, as there are treatments that can prevent advancing symptoms and complications.
Talk to a Vein Specialist
Speak with Dr. Julian Javier, a board certified interventional cardiologist and endovascular specialist in Naples, Florida. He will discuss your medical history, perform a thorough exam, and explain if you are experiencing varicose veins what specific treatments options are right for you and your varicose veins in men.