Varicose veins are commonly assumed to be a problem affecting more women than men, and older women specifically. However, varicose veins can develop in a person of any age or gender. Men often suffer varicose veins, and therefore also need care and treatment for this condition.
Signs and Symptoms
Varicose veins can be immediately visible — commonly, these veins are bluish or purple, bulging out above the skin. Spider veins do not bulge, but are visible as areas of discoloration. In addition to the cosmetic issues of visible varicose veins, physical symptoms can impact daily life. Varicose veins bleed easily, they can cause pain and may cause sufferers to feel that their legs are “heavy”. When veins and legs swell or throb, a person’s physical mobility can be impaired.
Veins in the legs become expanded when a person is standing up, as blood pools. Healthy veins have an elasticity that allows them to return to normal width. However, varicose veins lose this elasticity, becoming weaker. Therefore, pooled blood stays in varicose veins longer, and the veins can become bulbous or bulging. Genetics can also play a part in determining an individual’s risk of varicose veins.
As with many health issues, regular exercise is a good method of prevention for varicose veins. Exercise and physical movement help to strengthen and maintain your veins, including the elastic vein walls. Specifically for varicose-vein prevention, exercise that uses and strengthens the calf muscles is beneficial. Walking, jogging, running, hiking, climbing and other activities use the calf muscles extensively. You can also stretch the calf muscles specifically multiple times each day. Try to avoid long periods of sitting or standing. If your job is sedentary, take regular walking breaks. Lying down for a few minutes each day — with your legs elevated — can be helpful in preventing varicose veins.
Often, despite the best efforts of the individual, varicose veins will develop. If you are at a point where varicose veins are already causing symptoms, modern treatments allow for effective and pain-free treatment of the veins. The older method of “stripping” the affected veins has been largely replaced by laser therapy. This treatment involves using lasers to either seal or remove the varicose veins. This laser treatment is typically done on an outpatient basis, and can be completed in under an hour. For smaller or minor varicose veins, a chemical injection can treat the varicose vein — this is known as sclerotherapy. For men with varicose vein symptoms and busy lives, treatment can be completed quickly and effectively.