Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Pelvic congestion syndrome is a medical condition that afflicts some women. The symptoms include a dull, aching pain and conspicuous discomfort in the lower pelvis, vulva, lower back and abdomen. The discomfort can worsen during the premenstrual and menstrual cycles. Discomfort during intercourse can also occur. Long periods of standing can exacerbate the pain. Occasionally, visibly enlarged veins in the vulva (vulvar veins) and upper inner thigh (varicose veins) can be present. Pelvic congestion syndrome is most common in women who have been pregnant.
Pelvic congestion syndrome is caused by venous insufficiency of veins located in the pelvis such as the ovarian veins and internal iliac veins and its branches. Venous insufficiency is the backward flow of venous blood, causing blood to pool in the veins.
The diagnosis is made with a CT scan, MRI or venogram. Definitive treatment is performed by an interventional radiologist. Under X-ray guidance, a catheter is placed in the abnormal veins and the veins are closed down. The body does not need these abnormal veins, and once they are closed down, the symptoms improve.