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Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS)

From the GYN Diagnosis Articles List

What is pelvic congestion syndrome?What is pelvic congestion syndrome?

Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) is a condition involving varicose veins in the pelvic region. This condition can cause chronic pelvic pain but may go undiagnosed if the physician does not know to look for it.

All veins have valves in them to prevent blood from flowing backward when it is traveling to the heart. When these valves fail, blood can become congested in the vein causing it to swell and bulge. In the pelvic region, varicose veins can surround the uterus and ovaries. In some cases, they may also involve the vulva and other areas of the pelvis, buttocks, and thighs.

Risk factors for PCS include having varicose veins in your leg, a retroverted uterus, polycystic ovaries, hormonal issues, and two or more pregnancies. Women with PCS may also have hemorrhoids. Depending on the location and extent of the varicose veins, symptoms of PCS may include urinary frequency, rectal and vaginal tenderness, vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, and abdominal discomfort. Pain from PCS can affect the lower back and abdomen and may worsen throughout the day. Symptoms can increase following several activities such as sitting, standing, exercising, physical activity, intercourse, and your period. Symptoms can lessen after a good night’s sleep.

Diagnosing PCS may involve ruling out other conditions followed by imaging tests to look for pelvic varicose veins. Because pressure in the veins decrease when lying down, it can make diagnosing them more difficult. At times, a laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, or other surgical procedure may be necessary to identify any problematic veins.

An interventional radiologist may be helpful with treatment options. This type of doctor can perform embolization, a minimally invasive surgery that seals off the affected vein(s). Other treatments may include birth control pills to stabilize hormone levels; medications to prevent ovulation; surgically removing the vein; or hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy to remove the affected organs. A hysterectomy for pelvic congestion should be a last resort treatment as it may not completely resolve the issue if there are other varicose veins in the pelvic region.

If you are experiencing pelvic pain and symptoms which could be pelvic congestion syndrome, keeping a detailed symptom diary could help you and your doctor identify the problem. If you feel you could have PCS but it has not been identified or acknowledged, a second opinion from a knowledgeable interventional radiologist could be helpful.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

01-21-2015 - 01:00 PM


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