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Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC

Vascular Surgery, Wound Care, and Podiatry located throughout Maryland and Newark, DE

Varicose veins don't just affect your legs; they can also develop in your ovarian veins and cause pelvic congestion syndrome. If you have swollen veins in your abdomen, the board-certified specialists at Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, can help. They use advanced ovarian vein embolization (OVE) techniques to remove the affected veins and relieve your pain at their locations in Bel Air, Baltimore, Towson, Westminster, Elkton, Frederick, Ellicott City, Hampstead, Abingdon, Lutherville, Severna Park, MD, Wilmington, and Newark, DE. For an expert diagnosis of unexplained pelvic pain, call your nearest office or schedule a consultation online today.

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Q & A

What is pelvic congestion syndrome?

Pelvic congestion syndrome can cause chronic or recurring pelvic pain. The condition occurs when the veins within your pelvis develop a fault that causes them to fill up with blood.

Pelvic veins have one-way valves that stop blood from flowing the wrong way, but if they're too weak to form a proper seal, some blood may seep through and collect. This is the same issue that causes varicose veins in your legs.

Pelvic congestion syndrome might not be apparent during a routine pelvic exam because it takes the pressure off your pelvic veins when you lie down.

Your primary care provider or OB/GYN might not see the bulging veins unless they observe you when you're standing. Some patients live with chronic pelvic pain for years before receiving a correct diagnosis of pelvic congestion syndrome.

The most accurate diagnostic tools for confirming the condition are transvaginal ultrasound, pelvic venography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

Why might I have pelvic congestion syndrome?

Pelvic congestion syndrome is prevalent in women between the ages of 20 and 50, although the condition doesn't always cause obvious symptoms. You're more likely to get pelvic congestion syndrome if you have certain risk factors, including:

Hormone imbalances

High levels of the female sex hormone estrogen could cause your pelvic veins to dilate, increasing your risk of pelvic congestion syndrome. Perimenopause and being obese may cause an estrogen imbalance, as can polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

If you have PCOS, you may develop cysts (fluid-filled sacs) on your ovaries. These ovarian cysts can cause imbalances in the levels of estrogen and trigger pelvic congestion syndrome.

Multiple pregnancies

Pelvic congestion syndrome is more likely to develop if you’ve had two or more pregnancies.

Varicose veins

If you have varicose veins in your legs, your risk of developing them in your pelvis is higher.

What is the treatment for pelvic congestion syndrome?

The team at Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, treats pelvic congestion syndrome using minimally invasive ovarian vein embolization (OVE).

During the OVE procedure, your provider inserts a thin tube (catheter) that fits into a tiny incision in your groin. For larger veins, they use Dacron filaments-bearing coils to clot the blood and seal off the vein. Smaller veins are treatable using a foam sclerosant.

Following OVE, blood can't travel along the treated veins, so it takes an alternative route. Your circulation improves, the pain goes away, and eventually, your body absorbs the affected veins.   

If you have symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome, you might need to see a vascular surgeon for a correct diagnosis. Call the experienced team at Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.