Can Men Get Varicose Veins?

Varicose Veins in Men

Varicose veins don’t only target women, men can get them too. But women will typically get a doctor’s evaluation much sooner than guys, who wait until their symptoms are severe or pain is interfering with their daily lifestyle. Some men will even ignore leg pain and swelling, thinking the symptoms are a result of a pulled muscle after exercising and will eventually go away on their own.

Listen up guys and take care of your health! Varicose vein problems don’t go away without proper treatment and it’s best to consult a vein specialist sooner than later. Here’s some valuable information for men on the causes and symptoms of varicose veins.

Weightlifting, Exercise and Veins

When we picture large, protruding veins on guys we usually think of bodybuilders. That must mean big veins are good, right? Those bulging, twisted veins are simply a result of working out and eating healthy, aren’t they? Not always. Some of the veins that weightlifters and other athletes develop could actually be varicose.

Vascularity vs. Varicose

Vascularity: In bodybuilding, vascularity is the condition of having prominent, highly visible superficial veins. During competitions, vascularity is regarded as an accomplishment because it demonstrates that the bodybuilder has trained sufficiently enough to reduce the subcutaneous fat in his body, allowing for maximum muscle definition.

Varicose: Bodybuilders and other athletes, active adults, and people genetically prone to protruding veins are more prone to developing varicose veins for several reasons. Malfunctioning veins may be a result of hormone imbalances (often caused by anabolic drugs), along with strenuous training, diet and exercise.

Anabolic Drugs and Varicose Veins in Men

Commonly used in weightlifting, anabolic drugs like steroids can alter the hormone levels in men. Over time, as male bodybuilders age they naturally lose muscle mass. To counteract this muscle loss, some men may take steroids, which can cause their estrogen levels to rise to such high levels that their risk of developing varicose veins increases.

What Causes Varicose Veins in Men?

In addition to weightlifting and taking anabolic steroids there are many other factors that can cause varicose veins in men. For example, if you have a family history of venous disease, you take medications that can affect your circulation or you have a job that requires you to be on your feet or sitting for extended periods.

Symptoms of Varicose Veins in Men

Varicose veins are not merely cosmetic, they can affect your health as well. Even if you are not experiencing any pain or discomfort, if you have bulging veins on your legs they could be varicose veins. Vein disease is progressive, which means early detection and treatment can help preserve existing valve function and avoid more serious procedures down the road.

Similar to the symptoms women experience, varicose veins may cause:

  • Pain and tenderness, burning sensations and itchy skin near the veins
  • Leg cramps, leg fatigue and restless legs at night
  • Aches and feelings of heaviness in the legs
  • Swelling, and even skin ulcers

How do I know if I need varicose vein surgery?

To find out if you need vein surgery, the best thing to do is to seek a medical evaluation from a varicose vein specialist. They have the knowledge, experience and equipment to perform a thorough examination.

What happens during a vein evaluation?

In addition to a physical examination and discussion of your medical history, a vein doctor will perform an ultrasound exam. An ultrasound can track the blood flow in your veins, look for blood clots and create an overall picture to help your doctor diagnose your condition.

What happens if I don’t get treatment?

Without treatment, varicose veins will progress. As they get worse, severe varicose veins can lead to serious complications like painful thrombophlebitis, which is a type of blood clot in the leg. This can be prevented, so it makes sense to go to the doctor and have an exam.

How can I Improve my Leg Health?

Some changes that you can make today to improve your overall leg health include losing excess weight, avoiding prolonged sitting or standing, wearing compression socks, elevating your legs several times per day, and receiving professional vein treatments.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, bodybuilder or couch potato, if you have physical signs of varicose veins or symptoms of numbness, heaviness, pain or swelling in your legs, contact Columbus Vein Center for a consultation. Don’t put off your health another day.