Can Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) Be The Cause of Chronic Pelvic Pain?

Dec 17, 2022
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If you struggle with chronic pelvic pain and have not been able to find relief, you might have pelvic congestion syndrome. If you have not heard of it, read on to learn more about this common condition.

Can enlarged pelvic veins be the cause of your unexplained pelvic pain? The symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) can be mistaken for other medical conditions, making it easy for PCS to go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. 

For patients with pelvic pain, expertise is needed to reach the proper diagnosis. PCS is a less commonly known condition that causes chronic, sometimes debilitating pelvic pain. In this post our experts discuss what you should know if you have pelvic pain. 

What is pelvic congestion syndrome?

To understand what pelvic congestion syndrome is, it helps to understand the venous system. Veins carry deoxygenated blood back to your heart. In patients with pelvic congestion, the blood from the pelvis does not empty properly resulting in high pressure in your veins, causing them to widen and and pressurised. This can occur when the  valves that keep blood flowing in one direction weaken, allowing blood to accumulate.

These problems can create varicose veins. Most people associate varicose veins with legs and feet, and it’s true that these veins are often most commonly visible in the legs. You may, however, develop varicose veins deep in your pelvic region. When this happens you may experience pelvic pain/ discomfort.  

What are the symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome?

The pain of PCS is similar to that of other conditions such as ovarian cysts, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and bladder inflammation (cystitis). These conditions, like PCS, cause a dull, throbbing, or sharp pain in the pelvic area. 

If you have PCS, you may experience pain throughout your lower abdomen or more localized pain. Specific symptoms may vary from person-to-person. Your pain may:

  • Develop after childbirth
  • Be worse at the end of the day
  • Decrease when you lie down
  • Be triggered by physical activity

Other symptoms of PCS include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Achy legs
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Bloating

Many women with PCS experience anxiety and stress related to living with chronic pelvic pain.  

How is pelvic congestion diagnosed and treated?

Diagnosing pelvic congestion syndrome often requires extensive investigation to rule out problems with the reproductive system as the cause of your pelvic pain. Diagnostic workups include a thorough medical history any may include:

  • Physical exam
  • Relevant blood tests
  • Imaging tests such as MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound
  • Urine tests
  • A Doppler ultrasound to check the flow in your pelvic blood vessels
  • Specialized X-rays of your pelvic veins (venography)

If diagnosis of Pelvic Congestion is confirmed, treatments to close off varicose veins are effective. Once closed, the body reroutes blood to healthy veins. 

If you’re suffering with unexplained pelvic pain, there is hope. To get started, contact our office at (212) 991-9991