Approximately one-third of all women will experience chronic pelvic pain during their life. Chronic pelvic pain can a variety of reasons but are often associated ovarian and pelvic varicose veins. Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is similar to varicose veins in the legs. In the pelvis, varicose veins can cause pain and affect the uterus, ovaries and vulva. Although not all experience symptoms, up to 15% of women, generally between the ages of 20 and 50, have varicose veins in the pelvis.
The diagnosis is often missed because women lie down for a pelvic exam, relieving pressure from the ovarian veins, so that the veins no longer bulge with blood as they do while a woman is standing. If you have pelvic pain that worsens throughout the day when standing, you may want to seek a second opinion with an interventional radiologist, who can work with your gynecologist. You can ask for a referral from your doctor or call the interventional radiology department at Riverside Medical Center.
Risk Factors for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
- Two or more pregnancies & hormonal increases
- Fullness of leg veins
- Polycystic ovaries
- Hormonal dysfunction
Symptoms of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
A chronic dull and aching pain is usually associated with Pelvic Congestion Syndrome. The pain is normally felt in the lower back and abdomen.
The pain often increases during the following:
- Following intercourse
- Menstrual periods
- When tired or standing (worse at end of day)
- Irritable bladder
- Abnormal menstrual bleeding
- Vaginal discharge
- Varicose veins on vulva, buttocks or thigh
Treatment Options for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Pelvic Varicose Veins are normally treated by embolization. Embolization is a minimally invasive procedure performed by interventional radiologists using imaging for guidance. During the outpatient procedure, the interventional radiologist inserts a thin catheter, about the size of a strand of spaghetti, into the femoral vein in the groin and guides it to the affected vein using X-ray guidance. To seal the faulty, enlarged vein and relieve painful pressure, an interventional radiologist inserts tiny coils often with a sclerosing agent (the same type of material used to treat varicose veins) to close the vein. After treatment, patients can return to normal activities immediately.
For more information on Pelvic Congestion Syndrome call Riverside Medical Center's Interventional Radiology department at (815) 802-7577.