Dr. Honesto “Sto” Poblete, RWJ Vein & Vascular Surgery

Concerned about your health? Experts from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton are ready to answer readers’ questions. Send your questions to askthedoc@rwjbh.org

I’m on my feet all day at work, and I’ve noticed some of the veins in my leg starting to swell. But can men get spider veins?

It’s true that varicose veins, or venous disease, are much more common in women, especially because some of the causes like pregnancy, menopause and hormone therapy are unique to women. But yes, it is possible for men to develop varicose veins as well.

In fact, a number of the causes of varicose veins are the same for both men and women, like standing for a long period of time, traveling frequently and spending long hours either driving or flying, and leg trauma, perhaps from a sports injury.

Swelling veins like yours are the telltale sign of venous disease, but you’re likely also experiencing other symptoms such as leg pain, muscle cramps and even restless leg syndrome.

Despite ads you may have seen urging women to get rid of their spider veins in time for beach season, treatments for venous disease, such as laser procedures and sclerotherapy, are just as effective for men as they are for women. You can return to work almost immediately following treatment and gradually resume activities you may have been avoiding due to your symptoms.

It’s also possible to slow the progression of venous disease by doing the following:
Exercise. Regular exercise can help you improve your circulation and maintain proper blood flow from your legs back to your heart.

Get off your feet. Blood naturally collects in your legs when you’re not moving, so sitting for long periods of time can lead to venous disease. Try to take walks throughout the day, or even take just a few minutes to move your legs around if you’re at a desk all day.

Watch your diet. Avoid foods that are high in sodium.

—Dr. Honesto “Sto” Poblete, RWJ Vein & Vascular Surgery

This content is intended to encourage a healthy lifestyle. For medical advice and treatment, see a physician. Concerned about your health? Send your questions to askthedoc@rwjbh.org