Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
PELVIC CONGESTION SYNDROME Q & A
What Is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?
In pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) veins of the pelvis enlarge due to valve malfunction. The blood, no longer able to flow back towards the heart, pools in the pelvic area. With excess buildup of blood, the vein dilates and becomes painful. The uterus, ovaries and vulva can be affected. The condition is similar to varicose veins in the leg, but PCS is varicose veins in the pelvic area and ovaries. PCS is usually diagnosed in women between 20 to 50 years old.
What Causes Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?
PCS is caused by faulty vein valves. When valves inside the veins function correctly, they help return blood to the heart against gravity. Faulty valves become weakened and do not close properly. Blood will then flow backwards and pool in the vein, causing pressure and enlarged, bulging veins. Varicose veins in the pelvis can cause pain and affect the uterus, ovaries, and vulva.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Patient Education
What Are Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Symptoms?
The chronic, pelvic pain associated with PCS is often mistaken for menstrual pain. Other symptoms include:
- Deep pelvic pain when sitting or standing
- Increased pain with each additional pregnancy
- Increased pain over the course of the day, but some relief after a period of rest
- Bulging veins on the vulva, buttocks and/or thighs
- Painful menstruation
- Pain during and/or after intercourse
- Lower abdominal and back pain
- Feeling of fullness in leg veins
- PMS like symptoms
If varicose veins around the ovaries also push against the bladder and rectum, the patient may experience:
- Irritable bladder
- Abnormal bleeding
- Vaginal discharge
It is common for pelvic congestion syndrome pain to begin during pregnancy and continue after giving birth. For many women, symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome become worse with each pregnancy.
What Does PCS Feel Like?
Not all women with PCS experience painful symptoms. Those patients that do describe the pain as a dull ache. However, it can also feel like a throbbing, dragging pain. Additionally, patients may have low back pain, leg pain, and abnormal bleeding along with chronic pain. Some women also experience symptoms like premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as mood swings, bloating, and headaches. Typically, pain worsens throughout the day, but there is some relief after a period of rest.
What Are the Risk Factors for PCS?
Conditions that increase a woman’s risk of developing pelvic congestion syndrome include:
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – Women with PCOS develop small cysts on the ovaries that cause hormonal imbalances and other symptoms.
- Two or more pregnancies – Multiple pregnancies increase the likelihood of PCS.
- Hormonal imbalances – Obesity and onset of menopause are possible reasons for increased estrogen levels. Excess estrogen can cause pelvic veins to dilate and cause varicose veins in the pelvis.
- Varicose veins – Varicose veins in both the legs and the pelvis often occur together.
How Is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Treated?
Gonadal vein embolization (GVE) is a minimally invasive procedure that closes off the problematic, bulging veins. This prevents the blood from pooling, thus allowing normal blood flow.
Specialized Patient Care
If you have been diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome, Dr. Jilbert Eradat can help. With expertise in treating fibroids utilizing gonadal vein embolization (GVE), Dr. Eradat gives each patient individualized attention. Major insurance plans and Medicare accepted..