6 FAQ About Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

Pelvic congestion syndrome is a painful condition of the pelvis. Although men can develop pelvic congestion syndrome, over 90 percent of patients are women. This health issue can cause symptoms that seriously affect the quality of life and interfere with enjoying everyday activities. Pelvic congestion syndrome requires prompt treatment because untreated it can potentially lead to disability.

If you were recently diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome, below are 6 commonly asked questions that can help you better understand this health condition.

1. What is pelvic congestion syndrome?

Pelvic congestion syndrome is a vein condition that occurs in the pelvic region. This condition develops because of poor blood circulation in your pelvis. Women who have several children are more prone to this condition. About one in three women in the United States develop pelvic congestion syndrome at some point. If untreated, this condition can potentially lead to serious health complications and even disability.

2. What are the symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome?

Pelvic congestion syndrome can cause a variety of symptoms. The symptoms decrease the quality of life and interfere with daily activities. Some of the common symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome include:

  • Pelvic pressure and pain that lasts more than 6 months
  • Pelvic pain during sex
  • Vagina and labia swelling
  • Frequent urination
  • Inability to hold the urine
  • Unusual discomfort during menstruation
  • Abnormal bowel movements (diarrhea, constipation)
  • Bulging veins in your vaginal area

3. What are the risk factors for pelvic congestion syndrome?

Several factors can increase your risk of getting pelvic congestion syndrome:

  • Age under 45
  • Several pregnancies
  • Retroverted uterus
  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Leg veins problems
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Obesity
  • Family history of vein issues

4. What causes pelvic congestion syndrome?

The cause of pelvic congestion syndrome isn't always clear. In most cases, hormonal imbalance and physical abnormalities are responsible for vein problems in your pelvic region. The most popular theory is that during pregnancy the combination of hormonal, physical, and weight changes cause increased pressure on the veins in your ovaries. They weaken and become more prone to dilatation.

The high levels of certain hormones may also contribute to veins problems. For example, increased estrogen may weaken the veins making them more likely to have pelvic congestion syndrome.

5. How is pelvic congestion syndrome diagnosed?

Not every patient with pelvic pain will be diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome. Before the diagnosis, the doctor needs to conduct a physical examination and check your symptoms, family history, age, and number of pregnancies. If the doctor suspects you have pelvic congestion syndrome, additional tests can be required. They include ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and pelvic venography.

The ultrasound of the pelvic region provides the doctor with direct visualization of the veins in your ovaries. This helps the doctor identify alerted veins in your pelvis. But in some cases, ultrasounds fail to provide all the necessary information. In this case, the doctor can use computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging to get additional imagining. These tests help check for dilated veins and other abnormalities in the pelvic region.

If even CT and MR cannot provide enough information, the doctor can suggest pelvic venography. This is a minimally invasive procedure that should be done in the hospital. During this procedure, the vein specialist inserts a catheter into your venous system through the groin or neck. With help of an X-ray, the doctor guides the catheter to the veins of your pelvic region and injects a special solution that helps see if you have pelvic congestion.

6. What are the treatment options for pelvic congestion syndrome?

Several treatment options are available for pelvic congestion syndrome. If the congestion isn't severe, your doctor can recommend hormonal medications. They can potentially reduce the congestion of veins in your pelvic region.

If medications are ineffective, the doctor can suggest a minimally invasive procedure called embolization. In this procedure, the vein specialist inserts a catheter into the vein and guides it to the problematic area using an X-ray. Through the catheter, the doctor injects a special solution (embolic) to block veins in the affected area and laminate the discomfort from pelvic congestion syndrome. 

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Thursday, 28 September 2023