Chronic pelvic pain is a very common problem in the United States. It accounts for 10% to 15% of referrals to gynecologists and pain clinics. Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) is a condition that causes chronic pelvic pain for more than six months. PCS is caused by a problem with the veins in the pelvic area, in the lower part of the stomach (abdomen). PCS does not affect your life expectancy, but it has the potential to significantly affect your quality of life. At 1Fibroid, we help our patients with pelvic congestion syndrome and through this article, we explain the causes and treatments available at our offices.
What Are The Causes And Risk Factors Of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?
Veins are the blood vessels that transport blood back to the heart. In some women, the veins in the lower abdomen do not function properly, leading to the accumulation of blood in the veins. This causes the veins in the pelvis to swell and change shape, resembling varicose veins.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) is a condition where varicose veins form around the ovaries, similar to varicose veins that appear in the legs. Symptoms of PCS can include deep dyspareunia, irritable bladder or bowel, and vaginal or vulvar varicose veins. Not everyone experiences symptoms, but if they do, it can lead to a decrease in physical activity, loss of function, and depression – all of which can detrimentally affect one’s quality of life.
PCS is most commonly seen in women of childbearing age, with an elevated risk for those who have had multiple pregnancies. Hormonal changes, weight gain, and anatomical changes in the structure of the pelvis associated with childbirth can weaken vein walls, leading to permanent dilation and bringing on PCS. Generally, PCS affects women aged between 25 and 40 before menopause, and if other members of your family have the condition, your risk may be higher.
Hormones may also play a role in pelvic congestion syndrome. Estrogen widens the veins. This may be why this condition is less common after menopause. Estrogen levels are lower after menopause. Other hormones can also cause the veins to dilate and cause symptoms.
What Are The Treatment Options Available For Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?
Not everyone with pelvic pain is diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome. Before a diagnosis of pelvic congestion syndrome or other vascular disease is made, a patient’s detailed medical history is evaluated, including pregnancy, age, family history, ultrasound, IVUS examination, and venography. Once you are diagnosed with PCS, our 1Fibroid center can adjust your treatment plan based on your symptoms. Possible treatment options include non-invasive options, other nonsurgical methods, and surgery. Some of the treatment options include:
- Hormone Therapy: Gonadotropin and Progestogen drugs release hormones that block ovarian function and relieve chronic pain. Another viable treatment option for PCS is procedures to close damaged veins.
- Ovarian Vein Embolization can be used to relieve abnormal varicose veins and pressure on the pelvic and ovarian regions. There are very few risks during this procedure and the success rate is high.
- Surgery: If these methods do not work, damaged veins and other parts may also be surgically removed.
Diagnosing and treating pelvic congestion syndrome is complex, but 1Fibroid in New York can give you the care you need. 1Fibroid is committed to caring for women and offering non-invasive options such as medication, hormone therapy and UFE procedures with offices in Manhattan and Queens. If you are ready to live a life free of pelvic congestion syndrome, give us a call today at 212-991-9991.