Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Chronic pelvic pain is extremely common, affecting up to one-third of all women during their lifetimes. One of the most common causes of chronic pelvic pain are difficult-to-detect varicose veins in the pelvis – a condition known as pelvic congestion syndrome.
What Is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?
Pelvic congestion syndrome is a vascular disorder caused by varicose veins – large, twisted veins – that arise from ovarian veins in the pelvis. These bulging, swollen veins can occur in the uterus, ovaries, and even the vulva, groin, and buttocks.
Signs & Symptoms
The most common symptom of pelvic congestion syndrome is chronic pelvic pain. Additional signs and symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome include:
- Pelvic pain that worsens around the time of your menstrual period
- Heavy, dragging sensation in the pelvis or low back
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- Pelvic pain that worsens when standing
- Urinary incontinence
- A swollen vulva
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
Women who have experienced multiple childbirths have an increased risk of developing pelvic congestion syndrome. It is most likely to occur in women between the ages of 20 and 50.
How Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Is Diagnosed
Many women may have enlarged veins in their pelvic region, especially those who have previously given birth. It is considered pelvic congestion syndrome only if the veins are causing symptoms that include pelvic pain for the past 6 months or longer.
Diagnosing pelvic congestion syndrome is difficult because pelvic exams are conducted while a woman is lying down – and these veins tend to collapse when the body is horizontal.
Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI, may be performed to rule out other potential reasons for a patient’s symptoms. That’s because chronic pelvic pain can be caused by many different conditions in women, including uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Your Treatment Options
Pelvic congestion syndrome can sometimes be treated with hormonal medications. If this fails to reduce blood flow and congestion in the pelvic area, a nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedure called gonadal vein embolization can effectively shrink the veins to relieve your chronic pelvic pain and other symptoms.
Embolization involves intentionally blocking blood flow in specific veins – via a catheter threaded to the spot from a vein in the arm or neck. This relieves pressure in the dilated veins.
This outpatient procedure allows you to avoid major surgery and won’t harm healthy tissue surrounding the varicose veins in the pelvic region. Embolization takes less than an hour and patients go home a few hours after arrival with only a Band-Aid at the puncture site.
Embolization is considered the treatment of choice for women with pelvic congestion syndrome.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Treatment in South Florida
Have you been experiencing chronic pelvic pain that isn’t explained by the usual suspects? You may have a vascular disease call pelvic congestion syndrome, which consists of swollen and twisted varicose veins that occur in the veins of the ovary and nearby areas. Although this condition can be difficult to diagnose, there is a safe and effective treatment available.
The interventional radiologists at Florida Endovascular and Interventional have the training and experience to successfully treat chronic pelvic pain caused by pelvic congestion syndrome. Call us at (786) 534-2555 or request an appointment now. We have four convenient South Florida locations from which to serve you.