What is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is chronic pelvic pain due to varicose veins in the pelvis. If you have chronic pelvic pain, you are not alone. Millions of women worldwide may develop chronic pelvic pain at some time in their life, and the occurrence may be as high as 39.1%. Like varicose veins in the legs, the valves in pelvic varicose veins don’t function properly, causing dilation of the vein and turbulent blood flow, which releases inflammatory factors and triggers pain from adjacent nerves.

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome can be difficult to diagnose. In fact, women may suffer from pelvic congestion for years before being diagnosed.

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Risk Factors

Who is at risk to develop PCS?

Although much is not known or understood about what predisposes someone to developing pelvic congestion, there are common denominators often seen in patients with PCS.

Risk factors for developing PCS include:

  • Varicose veins in the legs
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • A family history of varicose veins
  • Presence of a retroverted uterus
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Hormonal increases/dysfunction
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What are the symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome?

One of the most common signs of pelvic congestion syndrome is chronic pelvic pain. If you’ve had chronic pelvic pain consistently for more than 6 months, then you could be suffering from PCS.

You may also experience other symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome:

  • Dull, aching pain in the lower abdomen and lower back
  • Pain is typically worse after intercourse, during menstruation, during pregnancy, and after standing at the end of a long day
  • Varicose veins on the vulva, buttocks, or thighs
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding
  • Irritable bladder
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How is pelvic congestion syndrome diagnosed?

Pelvic congestion syndrome is typically diagnosed by exclusion, meaning other pelvic conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or other issues are ruled out first before considering pelvic congestion. However, PCS can be difficult to diagnose. Some women may unknowingly suffer from pelvic congestion for years before diagnosis.

Sometimes women may be told they have pelvic congestion syndrome after an ultrasound, MRI, or CAT scan showing abnormal veins. In other cases, pelvic congestion is identified when the varicose veins are seen during other surgeries.

If you have been told that you have pelvic congestion syndrome, the diagnosis should be confirmed with a test known as a venogram. At Alate Vein Center, our interventional radiologists perform the venogram diagnostic test by injecting dye into the veins and utilizing X-ray imaging to look for backward flow of the dye into the pelvic varicose veins. PCS, if present, can be treated at the same time as the venogram diagnostic test is administered.

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How is pelvic congestion syndrome treated?

At Alate Vein Center, we can treat your pelvic congestion syndrome by embolizing the problem veins, which stops the blood flow. With the use of small catheters, we are able to deliver embolic material or coils to the problem veins. This stops the backward flow in the veins of the pelvis. Our patients recover quickly and go home the same day.

Why Choose Embolization Therapy?

  • Successful in 98% to 100% of all pelvic congestion cases
  • Symptom improvements shown in 70% to 85% of women
  • Relief is quick, occurring within two to four weeks after treatment
  • Safer and less invasive than surgery

Is embolization therapy painful?

Although it is minimally invasive, pain after embolization therapy varies. Some patients experience no pain while others experience significant pain that may last a few days. You will most likely return to normal activity in only 3 to 5 days.

What happens to my veins after treatment?

When the source of the varicose veins is closed, the veins will decompress. The treated vein will scar down, and healthy veins will take over. With millions of veins in your body, your overall circulation will not be affected by embolization therapy.

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Can pelvic congestion syndrome come back?

Usually, pelvic congestion syndrome can come back, or recur. However, knowing the symptoms and signs to look for will allow you to receive further treatment earlier.

If you have been suffering from pelvic pain or have been diagnosed with pelvic congestion, schedule an appointment with Alate Vein Center for a free consultation today. Our minimally invasive treatments will relieve your pain and help you love life again!