It’s tempting to think of varicose veins as being an issue primarily for women, but men have them too. Here Dr. Gardner answers all your questions about men’s choices for vein treatments.
Q: I KNOW WOMEN GET VARICOSE VEINS, ESPECIALLY AFTER HAVING CHILDREN, BUT I’M A MAN AND I HAVE THEM, TOO. I DON’T SEE MUCH IN THE MEDIA ABOUT WHAT MY OPTIONS ARE. CAN MEN GET TREATMENT OR ARE WE JUST STUCK WITH THEM?
A: I am glad you asked this because although we do treat more women with varicose veins, we see men with the same complaints as well. The desire to alleviate discomfort appears to be a universal one, and when it comes to visible, bulging, and painful varicose veins, no one wants to—or has to—suffer with them one more day than is absolutely necessary.
Although women are slightly more likely to suffer from varicose veins statistically, due to genetics, childbearing, hormones and other causes, men are afflicted with these problem veins as well, with more than 45% of men likely to experience problem veins at some point in their lives. And men also suffer from the physical side effects as well as the cosmetic ones—aching, itching, fatigue, ulcers, among others. Unfortunately, men are more likely to wait until the venous disease progresses to seek treatment than women.
Varicose veins are caused by problems with circulation due to the weakening of the valves in the superficial veins of the legs. The veins are unable to effectively move blood against gravity back toward the heart, allowing blood to pool in the veins. The pressure results in dilated, bulging, discolored veins that cause a host of symptoms such as those mentioned above.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of treatment options for both men and women that can help improve both the appearance and comfort of the legs. Treatment options range from non-invasive, including compression hose, exercise, and diet modification, to minimally-invasive, including laser or radiofrequency ablative procedures that remove problem veins entirely, without the old-fashioned “stripping” of the past. The best news is that whatever treatment protocol you and your vein specialist choose, you should be back to your old activities very quickly, with limited downtime.
If you’d like to learn more about your options for improved venous health, please call The Vein Institute at 423-528-0204 for a personal consultation.