Here's How You Can Determine If You Have Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

Jul 06, 2023
Here's How You Can Determine If You Have Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
If pelvic pain has become an unwelcome inhibitor in your life, you may be dealing with pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS). Consider these signs and symptoms, as well as ways we can help.

If you’re dealing with chronic pelvic pain, you’re far from alone. The frustrating symptoms account for 10-15% of referrals to pain clinics and gynecologists in the United States each year. And many others attempt to grin and bear their symptoms without treatment, chalking them up to “normal” menstrual or digestive pain.

Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) is a potential cause of pelvic pain that can easily go undiagnosed if you or your providers aren’t familiar with it. Figuring out if PCS is at play is important for getting you on the road to effective treatment and lasting relief.

At his Midtown Manhattan practice, double board-certified radiologist Dr. Yosef Golowa specializes in nonsurgical treatments for pelvic congestion syndrome as safer and less painful alternatives to traditional surgery.

Let’s explore pelvic congestion syndrome, including how to determine if it’s fueling your symptoms.

Pelvic congestion symptoms

Pelvic congestion syndrome symptoms happen when varicose veins form around your ovaries, leading to poor vein function, backed-up blood, and engorgement.

While chronic pelvic pain is the primary symptom, PCS affects people differently.

Your pelvic pain may worsen during these times:

  • As the day goes on
  • After sitting or standing for hours on end
  • Around your period
  • After certain activities, such as horseback riding and biking

Other possible symptoms include varicose veins in your pelvis, butt, thighs, vulva, or vagina, frequent constipation or diarrhea, and urinary incontinence. You might also notice irritation when you urinate.

Oftentimes, PCS symptoms don’t crop up until pregnancy and then continue afterward.

How to determine if you have PCS

Getting pelvic congestion syndrome properly diagnosed can be difficult, given that similar-looking veins are asymptomatic for many people. Given that, and the fact that pelvic pain may stem from a range of causes, it’s important to see a qualified expert.

PCS diagnosis often involves:

  • Discussion of your medical history and symptoms
  • A pelvic exam, to check for tenderness in your cervix, ovaries, and uterus 
  • An imaging test, such as an ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan

You might also have a laparoscopy procedure that can reveal dilated veins and rule out other pelvic pain conditions.

Pelvic congestion syndrome treatment

If you’re diagnosed with PCS, Dr. Golowa can recommend an ideal treatment option, such as hormone therapy or gonadal vein embolization (GVE). GVE is a nonsurgical procedure that reduces pressure in abnormal veins in your pelvis.

If your symptoms continue after initial treatment, Dr. Golowa can evaluate other blood vessels in your pelvis to check for blockages. 

To learn more about pelvic congestion syndrome or get started with the care you need, call our office or book an appointment with Dr. Golowa through our website today.