As many as 45 percent of all men will experience varicose veins at some point in their lives. The number one cause of varicose veins in both men and women is family history. If your mom or grandmother had varicose veins, you are more likely to have them. Lifestyle factors play a significant role as well. If your job requires you to stand for long periods, such as medical professionals, factory workers, sales or restaurant occupations, you are more likely to get varicose veins. If you travel and spend long hours flying or driving, or if you sit at a desk for several hours at a time, you are at risk as well. Varicose veins can even be the result of previous leg trauma. Varicose veins can affect men of all ages but the risk increases with age because of the loss of tissue tone and muscle mass, as well as a weakening of the venous walls.
If restless legs keep you awake at night, this could be a sign that you have varicose veins. If you don’t enjoy taking a walk with your wife or playing with the kids or grand kids like you used to because of leg pain, that could be another sign. Generally men have the same symptoms as women: pain, leg heaviness, tiredness, muscle cramps and swelling. But, as men, we are less likely to seek medical treatment. It is important that you seek consultation if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Like any chronic medical condition, varicose veins will progress without treatment. Because varicose veins are often painful, it is important to treat them in order to maintain an active lifestyle. Treatments such as medical grade compression stockings and changes in work habits can improve your symptoms but will not address the underlying cause. Severe varicose veins can lead to serious complications such as skin breakdown and even blood clots.
The treatments available for men as exactly the same as for women and just as effective. Men can undergo ultrasound guided endovenous laser treatment , or EVLT. This cutting-edge laser procedure involves inserting a small laser fiber through the skin into the varicosed vein. Laser energy is delivered inside the vein, which causes the vein to collapse and seal shut. Once that vein is closed, the blood reroutes to other healthy veins. Some men may need sclerotherapy following EVLT.
The good news is that most patients are able to return to work almost immediately following treatment and eventually can resume those activities you have been avoiding.