Pelvic congestion syndrome is a cause of chronic, often cyclic, pelvic pain in both women and men and is similar to varicose veins in the legs. In both cases, the valves in the veins that help return blood to the heart against gravity become weakened and don’t close properly. This allows blood to flow backwards and pool in the vein, causing pressure and bulging veins. In the pelvis, varicose veins can cause pain and, in women, affect the uterus, ovaries, and vulva.
Many women with pelvic congestion syndrome often spend years trying to find a source of their pain. The diagnosis is often missed because pelvic exams are usually done while you lie down, which takes the pressure off the pelvic and ovarian veins and stops them from bulging as they may when you are standing.
While the condition is relatively uncommon in men, pelvic pain is the common symptom, and we can make the pelvic congestion syndrome diagnosis.
If you have pelvic pain that gets worse throughout the day, especially when you spend a lot of time standing, you may want your gynecologist or medical provider to talk to Dr. Quickert about the possibility of pelvic congestion syndrome. He will work with your provider to help make an accurate diagnosis of your pain.
Symptoms of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
The chronic pain that is associated with pelvic congestion syndrome is usually dull and achy. For women, it may often increase:
- During or following intercourse or exercise
- Before or during menstrual periods
- When you are tired or have been standing for long periods of time (usually worse at the end of the day)
- During pregnancy
Other symptoms in women may include:
- Irritable bladder
- Abnormal menstrual bleeding
- Vaginal discharge
- Varicose veins on the vulva, buttocks, or thigh area (symptoms may decrease with bathing or swimming)
Pelvic congestion syndrome symptoms in men may include varicose veins in the legs and hemorrhoids.
Treatment for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Once a diagnosis has been made, Dr. Quickert treats pelvic congestion syndrome in a minimally invasive manner, similar to the way in which he treats varicose veins in the legs. Using X-ray guidance, he inserts a thin catheter into the vein and guides it to the affected area. He then inserts tiny coils to close the vein. After treatment, you may return to normal activities immediately.
If you have undiagnosed pelvic pain you think may be pelvic congestion syndrome, contact us today to schedule an appointment.