If you're a man with varicose veins, you're not alone. Vein problems like spider veins and varicose veins affect millions of men across the United States. The good news is that varicose vein treatment has advanced dramatically over the past 20 years, and there are now multiple quick painless procedures that allow varicose vein removal.
At the risk of stereotyping an entire gender, most men don’t spend much time talking about health problems. Men tend to downplay symptoms, and it's not uncommon for men to delay going to a doctor.
When men do seek medical attention they're often reluctant to ask about "minor" problems like varicose vein, spider veins, and leg swelling. Some men consider it "unmanly" to report varicose vein pain.
Men’s clothing can easily hide unsightly veins. Long shorts can hide veins on the thighs, and pants can easily cover the knees, calf, and ankle areas.
Varicose veins are generally thought to occur when the pressure inside a vein exceeds the wall-strength of the vein.
Increased pressure inside a vein is commonly caused by an underlying condition called venous reflux, where the valve leaflets within an outflow vein have become dysfunctional. Venous reflux can occur in any of the medium or large veins in the legs, but most commonly affect the Great Saphenous Vein (which runs from the inner ankle to the groin) and Small Saphenous Vein (which runs from the outer ankle to behind the knee). Venous reflux, which is sometimes referred to as venous insufficiency, results in a build-up of back-pressure inside the vein. This increased pressure, in turn, gets transmitted to the vein branches and sub-branches in the lower leg. Increased pressure in veins is one of the factors that can cause varicose veins.
Another cause of varicose veins is genetic predisposition. Many men who have varicose veins report that one parent (sometimes both) has had issues with varicose veins. People who have a family history of varicose veins are more likely to get varicose veins. Certainly, there's a fairly strong genetic/hereditary component with this condition.
Although females are slightly commonly affected with varicose veins there still millions of men who develop the condition (the estimated ratio is 60:40 female: male).
Other risk factors for venous reflux include increasing age, jobs, or careers that involve prolonged standing, and being overweight.
Short answer: Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Varicose veins are a curious entity since some people will have significant pain and discomfort, whereas some people will have minimal symptoms.
If pain, tenderness, or discomfort is present, this is thought to be due to stretching of the vein wall, sometimes exacerbated by flare-ups of inflammation (sometimes referred to as "phlebitis"). If you get phlebitis in a superficial vein this is normally not a serious or concerning condition, but there may be pain and tenderness in the skin overlying the area. People with varicose veins who get phlebitis often describe a feeling of a hard, warm, knot immediately underneath the skin surface.
The great news about vein problems is there’s a wide range of low-risk, procedural (and non-procedural) treatments that can help. Quite often the results are dramatic, eliminating pesky symptoms and improving in the appearance of the legs.
Non-procedural options include elevating the legs, using compression hose, and regular exercise. Although compression hose aren't a cure, compression hose can reduce leg swelling and help provide symptom relief.
Advancements in medical technology have allowed vein procedures to become “walk-in, walk-out”. Vein procedures are now routinely performed in the doctor’s office, and no longer require a trip to the hospital or a surgery center. Recovery from vein procedures is surprisingly quick, and many people return to work the next day.
At Vascular Solutions, about 40% of patients are men. We offer a variety of treatments for vein conditions. Visit our before and after gallery to see before & after varicose veins pictures. Dr. Ford and his team are the best vein specialists in Charlotte, NC, and treat the full spectrum of vein problems.
If you’re a man suffering from heavy, achy legs, or if you have visible or painful varicose veins you'd like removed, contact us today.