Pelvic congestion syndrome is common in women, who are generally less than 45 years old and in their child bearing years. PCS occurs when varicose veins form in the female pelvis. The classic symptoms related to Pelvic Congestion Syndrome include pelvic pain associated with standing and sitting, which worsens throughout the day. The chronic pain felt is usually dull and aching. Patients often feel less pain in the morning, with relief from pain when lying flat and when legs are elevated. As with varicose veins elsewhere in the body, veins in the pelvic region can begin to malfunction over time, resulting in a backward flow of blood that causes veins to become weak and distended.
It is estimated that this condition affects more than one third of all women. Many of these women are told the problem is "all in their head" but recent advancements now show the pain may be due to hard to detect varicose veins in the pelvis. Gynecologists do not often diagnose women with Pelvic Congestion Syndrome 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.
Living with chronic pelvic pain is difficult and affects not only the woman directly, but also her interactions with her family, friends, and her general outlook on life. Because the cause of the pelvic pain is not diagnosed, no therapy is provided even though there is therapy available. However, many women that have Pelvic Congestion Syndrome never experience any of the symptoms.
Treating these veins can help relieve the pain and pressure associated with pelvic congestion so women can lead more comfortable lives. Chronic pelvic pain is a common complaint, especially among premenopausal women which can be relieved through embolization.
Embolization is a minimally invasive procedure performed by our interventional radiologists using imaging for guidance. During the outpatient procedure, our 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.
Following treatment, you may treat mild pain with over-the-counter pain medicine and can return home soon after treatment. Patients should expect a low level of pain and to spend a couple of days off their feet.
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