If the lowest part of your pelvis aches frequently, it might be a symptom of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome. Commonly referred to as PCS, the condition causes chronic pain in the pelvis in many women.
This blood accumulation causes twisting and bloating in the veins, just like blue bulging veins that appear on your legs. These bloated veins developed in PCS are typically varicose veins that form deep within the body.
More than 15 percent of females develop varicose veins in the pelvis during their childbearing age. As per Merck Manual, not all women with bulging veins experience PCS symptoms. However, many women suffering from PCS symptoms don’t consider their condition treatable.
The expert vascular surgeon like Dr. Elizabeth Pensler emphasizes taking medical assistance for this chronic medical condition. She offers minimally invasive treatments such as ovarian vein embolization to seal the varicose veins in the pelvis.
If you’re a woman and considering going through treatment for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, learning about the condition will benefit you.
What is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
As mentioned above, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is a condition that causes chronic pain in the pelvis. It is the veins in your pelvic area that lead to problems. These veins are especially present in the lower parts of the abdomen or belly. Note that veins are the vessels that transport blood to the heart.
In many women, the blood vessels in the belly stop carrying blood., which can accumulate or build up blood in the veins. The condition causes veins to change shape or enlarge in size, like in varicose veins. The patient may suffer from pain and various other symptoms of PCS.
Most women who are in their childbearing age suffer from this painful condition. Particularly, women who went through multiple pregnancies develop symptoms associated with Pelvic Congestion Syndrome.
How does Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Develop?
Typically, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome affects blood vessels and veins in the body. Veins are a vital part of your circulatory system, carrying blood back to your heart. There is gravity in the blood circulation system that enables your oxygen-rich blood to move downwards to the lower torso. But the same gravity makes carrying blood back to the heart difficult.
There are tiny valves in the veins that move (open and close) every time your heartbeats. It helps the small segments of your veins to trap blood to reduce its tendency to flow backward. Often, these valves fail to perform their function due to hormonal imbalances. Therefore, they allow blood to not only flow backward but also build up in veins around the ovaries.
This blood accumulation causes these veins to become “congested” or “bloated.” The congested veins start pressing against the surrounding nerves, and that causes a painful condition.
What are the Symptoms of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
One of the primary symptoms of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is chronic pain in the pelvis that may last more than six months.
While most women feel pain during the start of their pregnancy, some experience it later. The painful condition deteriorates as the pregnancy progresses. The pain may vary from aching to heavy feeling. Many women feel a sharp pain in only one side of the belly.
The factors that may contribute to worsening the pain such as:
- Change of your posture
- Before and after intercourse
- Standing in one position for a long time
Some women show the following symptoms
- Heavy cramps before, during, after periods
- A constant feeling to urinate
- Distorted or enlarged veins on the external genitals (vulva), buttocks, or thighs
Causes of Pelvic Pain
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome has mimicking symptoms of other medical issues that make diagnosing the condition difficult. We say this because women may experience pelvic pain to different causes. You may feel pain in the pelvis if you have problems with your reproductive organs. These can include the uterus and ovaries. A poorly functioning bladder or urinary system can also lead to pain in the pelvis.
Some other causes of pelvic pain are;
- Problems in the gastrointestinal system (large intestine)
- Pain in muscles or bones
- Mental health issues such as depression may lead to chronic pelvic pain
That is to say; your doctor has to consider plenty of possible causes to diagnose conditions like Pelvic congestion symptoms.
How Does Your Doctor Diagnoses Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
To diagnose the symptoms of Pelvic congestion syndrome, experienced surgeons like Dr.Pensler ask about your medical history. She assesses the symptoms by doing some physical exams that include a thorough pelvic evaluation.
She also performs certain tests or medical exams;
- Venography -A process of taking X-rays of the veins in the pelvis
- Multiple Urine tests to see if your urinary system is working properly
- Pelvic ultrasounds to check irregular growth in the pelvis
- Blood tests to assess pregnancy, anemia, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and other conditions
- Doppler ultrasound to assess the blood flow in the blood vessels surrounding pelvic
- MRI or CT scan for more detailed images
- Diagnostic laparoscopy to confirm the main cause of pelvic pain
After your doctor confirms the diagnosis of pelvic congestion, he/she may suggest the following possible solutions
- Hormonal medication
- Embolization, an invasive catheter process to “plug” or seal the varicose vein
- If you have had multiple pregnancies, you might be at the highest risk of developing PSC.
- The symptoms associated with PCS may worsen if you stand, walk or have sex for long periods.
- You might need to undergo multiple tests and medical examinations to rule out other pelvic pain causes.
- Your doctor may suggest hormonal treatments to reduce the symptoms
- Embolization is the most effective procedures to block the affected or damaged veins
All in all, if you develop PCS symptoms, it is essential to consult a vascular specialist as soon as possible. The condition is not only painful but also affects their quality of life in many ways.
Dr. Elizabeth’s skincare and medical spa facility offer comprehensive PCS treatments to help you get rid of your pelvic pain. Call us to find the best treatment option for your condition.
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