You might think men are off the hook for this topic because we’re used to thinking that varicose veins only happen to women. But the truth is that around 45% of men get varicose veins at some point in their life. In addition, 40% of men over 70 develop them.
If you didn’t know that, perhaps that’s also because men sometimes tend to ignore medical matters – or at least talk about them less!
So in this article, we’ll talk openly about the risk of varicose veins in men, some causes, and some thoughts about treatment for men’s varicose veins.
Men Get Varicose Veins, Too! Some Facts
Fact 1: Yes, men are only half as likely to get varicose veins than women. But don’t forget that 45% figure we mentioned! It’s not far off half of all men. Be vein-aware!
Fact 2: Women’s estrogen and progesterone levels put them at greater risk because these hormones can weaken vein walls, especially at certain times in a woman’s life. But men have these hormones too, albeit in different quantities. You’re not immune!
Fact 3: Venous insufficiency in men often occurs in deeper veins in the leg, which are not so visible. But they can present more seriously when they do show up. Studies show that 75% of hospital admissions for varicose veins are men. Take care!
So – if you’re a man, and even if you prefer not to think or talk much about vein problems, you should at least bear all the rest of this article in mind!
How Do Men Get Varicose Veins?
Some of the risk factors and causes of varicose veins are not gender based:
- Extra weight/obesity
- Getting older
- Sedentary lifestyles
- Standing/sitting for long periods of time
- Family history of varicose veins
- Smoking and alcohol consumption
- Athletic pursuits that stress your legs through impact or increased weight.
Issues like these can cause varicose veins in men and women alike due to:
- Weakened vein walls allowing blood to pool backwards instead of flowing towards your heart
- Lifestyle factors that encourage poor circulation.
However, you might also wonder if there are specific risks for men.
Generalizing about anything is never best, but often men do smoke more, drink more, and stand around for longer periods without moving. Add to this a reluctance to go to a doctor… you get the picture!
However, another issue that may play a part when men get varicose veins is testosterone levels.
Can Low Testosterone Cause Varicose Veins in Men?
If you’re a man, you’ll know that, as you age, your testosterone levels decrease, which affects a wide range of body functions.
Researchers found a possible causal relationship between high estradiol and low T levels, and varicose veins in men. And a few years later, another study discovered that a high estradiol/testosterone ratio could be a risk factor.
Research on this topic is still rare, however, and these studies might be too small to be clinically significant. But it’s worth mentioning that your low T could potentially increase the risk of you getting varicose veins. Check it out if you’re worried.
Where Do Varicose Veins in Men Show Up?
We’ve mentioned that some varicose veins that you men develop may occur deeper inside your leg and only show up after a more serious problem – like a blood clot/phlebitis – draws your attention to them.
But visibly enlarged veins can put in an appearance in the usual places:
In addition, as a man, you may develop a varicose vein in your scrotum. Probably something you don’t mention in public – like women won’t mention a vulvar varicose vein! But we did say we’d talk openly here, so it’s worth reading up on, especially if you’re a younger man.
OK, Men Get Varicose Veins: But Can They Avoid Them?
Absolutely! Even if you can’t change your family history, you can still keep varicose veins at bay by having a healthy lifestyle. For example:
- Keep a healthy weight for you.
- Stay active by exercising regularly to boost the circulation and blood flow in your veins.
- If you find yourself standing or sitting for too long, take a break by walking around every 30 minutes, or prop your feet higher than your heart for 15 minutes every now and then.
- Shift your weight from time to time while standing – or flex your leg muscles to keep blood flowing.
- Wear compression socks to prevent incipient varicose veins from deteriorating.
- Reduce or completely quit smoking, and also consider how much alcohol is good for you (it affects your veins in different ways).
Varicose Veins in Men: Treat or Leave Untreated?
We’ll deal with the second bit first – because we’re a vein center and want the best for you men, even when you might prefer not to consult or talk much about a vein problem!
So … leave untreated? NO!
The brief version is: If you leave your vein discomfort “to deal with another day” – in other words, untreated! – you’re taking a big risk. The vein will likely get worse and could cause serious issues further down the line, such as deep vein thrombosis or a leg ulcer.
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, therefore, it makes much more sense to get in touch with your healthcare practitioner as soon as possible:
- Aching and heavy legs
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Burning or throbbing sensation in your legs
- Veins more swollen and itchy than usual
- Changed color of skin around your veins
So, Men – Get Treatment For Your Varicose Veins!
Many painless and minimally invasive treatments exist for varicose veins:
- Endovenous Laser Ablation of the Saphenous Vein (ELAS) permanently eliminates varicose veins. A thin laser is inserted into the vein and the heat it generates causes the vein to close and the blood to then circulate through healthy veins.
- VenaSeal Closure System is a procedure where your provider injects medical adhesive to close varicose veins. This, likewise, redirects the blood to nearby healthy veins.
- Ambulatory Phlebectomy removes veins through small incisions in the skin. This procedure is often combined with ELAS.
- Ultrasound Guided Medical Sclerotherapy treats varicose veins by injecting a sclerosant solution into the veins. This dissolves them, and your body gradually absorbs the residue.
Yes, Men Get Varicose Veins, Too – But We Can Help!
Vein issues don’t discriminate between men and women! And varicose veins don’t disappear on their own – even those in places you prefer not to mention! So take charge of your health today and contact us at Denver Vein to discuss your concerns or possible treatment.
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