Often when young men think of varicose veins, they think of their Mum or Grandma. And with pregnancy, the contraceptive pill and menopause high among the possible causes, it’s easy to see why there is a misconception that varicose veins only affect women. However, vein disease is not gender-specific and many men will also suffer from varicose veins. Researches say between 20-30 per cent of men will suffer from varicose veins in their lifetime.
The study also highlighted that for men, lower awareness of the disease, height, weight and family history were all associated with an increased risk of varicose veins. Additionally, there is often a misconception that varicose veins are a cosmetic issue and aren’t a medical concern.
Why do varicose veins occur?
Your arteries carry blood away from your heart, and veins return it back for oxygenation. We have deep veins that are surrounded by muscles which help to propel the blood forward. Then we have more superficial veins that are situated in the skin’s fatty layer. These types of veins are not influenced by muscles but they are part of a complex venous network. Both types of veins have flaps of tissue called “vein valves.”
As the blood travels along the veins to the heart, the vein valves ensure it flows in one direction only. Think of it as a swinging door that pushes the blood inside but doesn’t allow it to flow in reverse. If the effects of gravity or muscle contractions cause the blood to pool or try to back up, the vein valve closes automatically, preventing the blood from flowing backward.
When blood is not able to flow back up to the heart, it begins to reflux or pool, forming twisted, enlarged vessels you know as varicose veins.
Tip: Bulging veins do not always equal muscle mass. Some people mistakenly consider bulging veins on a man to mean that he is muscular and fit, but what he may, in fact, be suffering from is a venous disease or varicose veins.
What causes varicose veins in men?
Varicose veins have many possible causes, including:
- Age, varicose veins are more likely to develop as we get older.
- Jobs which require long periods of sitting, standing or long-haul travel
- Trauma to the leg area
Learn more: Varicose veins causes.
What can men do to prevent varicose veins?
There are a variety of causes for varicose veins so it is difficult to find one prevention method. The best solution is to try and keep your body as healthy as possible through a balanced diet and regular exercise
For those who are vulnerable to the disease or have more than one of the risk factors listed above. The below may help to prevent the severity of varicose veins as well as relieve symptoms:
- Yoga: as well as strengthening muscles, there are many yoga poses which involve elevating your legs – by elevating your legs you are aiding your body in draining the blood back to your heart, this assists in improving vein health and also alleviates pain. Be advised that there are some prolonged abdominal yoga poses which may not be recommended.
- Walking: a low-impact exercise which allows you to stretch and strengthen calf muscles, walking is highly recommended both for the prevention and treatment of vein disease.
- Running: another way of stretching and strengthening calf muscles, running can be very beneficial for vein health. However, running can also put a strain on your joints and make varicose vein symptoms worse.
- Cycling: stationary bikes provide a low-impact cardio option, nonetheless in some cases, intensive cycling or extended periods of time crouched over handlebars can increase abdominal pressure and reduce the blood flow to your legs, which can exacerbate varicose vein symptoms.
- Mountain Climbers: a simple exercise to do from home, Mountain Climbers build strength and endurance while improving blood flow between your heart and legs.
- Ankle rotations: these are a really easy exercise to do while sitting down, so are great for office workers and people who spend a lot of time travelling. Flexing your calf muscles and rotating your ankles helps to maintain healthy blood flow. Also, while sitting or standing, rocking your feet on the ground from heel to toe activates the calf pumping mechanism and improves circulation.
- Elevating legs: when you elevate your legs, ideally above heart level, it helps keep the blood from pooling in your lower legs and improves blood flow to the rest of your body.
- Compression socks: wearing compression garments will stimulate blood circulation to help prevent varicose veins and tired, achy legs.
Do varicose veins need to be treated?
There are a few reasons why varicose veins should be treated. Aside from the visual improvement, damaged veins can sometimes lead to more serious health issues such as blood clots and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
The old way of dealing with the condition was to have complicated surgery to strip the veins, but now, thanks to new methods and technologies, it is much simpler and quicker.
The treatments we use for varicose veins are all non-surgical, minimally invasive, walk-in-walk-out procedures. The term “minimally invasive” means that the techniques only require a needle stick or tiny incisions to complete, thus reducing the trauma to the body. In addition, all of our procedures:
- Are extremely effective
- Are performed in our clinic (no hospitalisation)
- Require no little time or time away from work
- Require no general anaesthetic
- Have a higher success rate than previously achieved
To read more: Types of varicose vein treatment.
Seek expert advice
The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive treatment program to treat varicose veins, with non-surgical laser treatment techniques. The benefits of laser treatment to patients are;
- Walk-in walk-out treatment
- 98% success rate
- Extremely effective
- Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
- No general anaesthetic
- Medicare rebates apply
- No downtime or time away from work
To book a consultation and discuss our treatment program, call 1300 535 017. Or, make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.