A handful of medical issues impact men and women the same, but some come with the often incorrect notion that gender plays a significant role in whether or not one will develop a specific condition. Varicose veins fall squarely into this category, with the majority of the population believing that only women experience vein disorders. The reality is that both men and women can develop varicose veins, although women may have a higher risk of doing so as they age.
According to a vein specialist at a leading varicose veins clinic in the UK, vein disorders can happen to anyone, regardless of age or gender. When vein walls become weak or broken, blood pools in the legs as it is not able to flow as easily back to the heart. As this takes place, varicose veins appear as bulging, twisted threads just below the surface of the skin. Varicose veins can be far more than a cosmetic issue for men and women alike, leading to pain and heaviness in the legs, itching, and swelling when not appropriately treated. Here’s what men need to know about the causes of varicose veins, their treatment options, and prevention of vein issues.
Leading Causes of Varicose Veins
There is no singular cause of varicose veins in men or women, but in all cases, the valves of the veins do not work correctly. The muscles are unable to move blood back toward the heart, causing pressure on the veins that leads to vein wall breakdown. It is common to believe only women deal with varicose veins over time, because pregnancy can lead to increased pressure on the veins. However, men also experience varicose veins due to added pressure, most often linked to carrying excess weight. Among both men and women, obesity is a common reason varicose veins develop.In addition to being overweight, other issues may result in vein issues. Standing for extended periods of time may lead to vein wall weakening, as can chronic constipation, or a sedentary lifestyle. Varicose veins are also more common among older adults, as well as those who have weak muscles. However, most vein specialists agree that developing varicose veins is most likely to occur among individuals who have a genetic predisposition to vein disorders.
Treatment Options for Men
When varicose veins rear their ugly head, it is natural to consider them simply a cosmetic problem. However, when left untreated, vein disorders can lead to a slew of issues. Ongoing pain is the most common, but a burning sensation, skin discoloration, or swelling can all take place. To ensure varicose veins do not cause unnecessary stress or discomfort, understanding the available treatment options is a must. For both men and women, varicose vein treatments come in many different forms. For less severe vein issues, at-home remedies may be the first line of defence against worsening veins. These remedies may include leg elevation added into a daily routine, physical activity, or compression stockings. When varicose veins are more substantial, surgery may be the right choice for treatment. Varicose veins are mostly treated through surgical intervention with the help of endovenous laser therapy, or EVLT. The procedure is an out-patient treatment that is minimally invasive and takes less than an hour to complete. Broken veins are eliminated with the help of a medical laser, forcing blood to flow toward healthy veins instead.
Preventing Varicose Veins
For men who want to get ahead of varicose vein problems as they age, there are only a few recommendations on which to focus some attention. First, maintaining a healthy weight is paramount to keeping varicose veins at bay. This eliminates the added pressure placed on the legs, and allows for more routine physical activity to keep the extra weight off over the years. Additionally, vein specialists recommend low-impact workouts, from swimming and biking to jogging on soft surfaces versus the pavement. These small changes to an exercise regimen can make a substantial difference when it comes to maintaining healthy veins. Finally, focusing on daily food intake can also lead to less issues with varicose veins in the future. Eating a diet high in fiber, healthy fats, and plenty of vitamins and minerals keeps the body strong and circulation of blood healthy. There is no single preventative step men can take to avoid varicose veins altogether, but these small lifestyle choices can have a positive impact on vein health.