October 2017

Varicose Veins: An Underrated Problem of Men's Health

Varicose veins is a disease which doesn't discriminate. While billboards and advertisements for vein treatments commonly show a pair of female legs, the statistics argues the problem is as common in men as in women, and maybe even more. Already back in 2003, the Edinburgh Vein Study of adults aged 18 to 64, found a higher prevalence of varicose veins in males (39.7 per cent) compared to females (32.2 per cent).


Men at Risk

As the disease is often triggered by events such as pregnancy or menopause, most men think they're not at risk. It's true that there's no particular risk factor for varicose veins in men, however men tend to have more severe problems than women. There are two main reasons behind that. Firstly, they are more often than women involved in heavy labor jobs which “help” a lot to develop varicose veins. Secondly, they simply wait longer before they go to see a doctor. Doctors say a man doesn't care while the problem is still on its aesthetic level, and tend to seek help only once they start having leg pains or trouble sleeping because of leg cramps.



Varicose Veins and Male “Menopause”

Another type of varicose veins in men is called varicocele (or varicoceles) when the affected enlarged veins are those in the scrotum. Varicoceles is a common cause of male infertility. The presence of varicoceles causes significantly lower testosterone levels. With impaired testosterone (which is “the main” male hormone), men may experience what is called andropause, an analogue to menopause in women. A man may have a lowered sex drive, the inability to have erections, lower muscle strength and energy level, and even depression.

Varicoceles occur in around 15% of all men, and can be successfully treated by a surgery (which is obviously not the one performed on varicose veins in legs). For most males, testosterone levels return to normal within a few months.


Ancient Man Refused Vein Treatment

The most famous Greek physician ever, Hippocrates worked on developing a varicose veins treatment in both women and men long before our era. The one that entered into practice, involved making small punctures in the leg veins to bleed them out, following by cauterization (burning) of them. As the “surgery” was usually performed without any form of anesthetic, one can easily imagine the level of pain it evoked in a patient.

As many other things, the treatment was later “inherited” from Greeks by Roman doctors. Gaius Marius, a well-known Roman general and statesman, was one of those who underwent the surgery. A tough man who won many wars, he claimed once the surgery was over: “I see the cure is not worth the pain!”, and then promptly refused surgery on his other leg.



Prevention vs. Treatment

Fortunately, the modern varicose veins treatments for men are different from the wild practices of ancient Greeks and Romans. However, the interesting thing is that they are still, same as in the ancient world, based on vein closure or vein removal. No wonder Hippocrates is called “the father of modern medicine”.

Actually, the varicose veins treatments available for men are exactly the same as for women and just as effective. The preventive measures for both sexes include watching your weight, keeping legs elevated while at rest, wearing sunscreen, taking a contrast leg shower, and others.  However, nowadays many vein doctors around the world agree that these are all good tips for healthy living, but unfortunately there's no evidence that any of these behaviors prevent one from developing varicose veins as vein disease is primarily inherited.

These days, it's easier than ever to improve vascular health. Vein treatments are less invasive, less painful, less expensive and more successful that they have ever been before. In addition, the most recent ones, such as for example fully painless VenaSeal Closure System, is performed on an outpatient basis, so a man can go back to his daily duties right after the treatment.

While the main man's fear all over the world is at all times prostatitis, actually varicose veins, if left untreated, can cause problems which affect men's health on the same serious level.


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