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Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

What is pelvic congestion syndrome?

Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) may also be referred to as pelvic venous congestion syndrome (PVCS), ovarian vein reflux, or ovarian vein and pelvic varices. The chronic pain of PCS may be caused by varicose veins in the thigh, or vaginal or buttock regions.

As with varicose veins, veins in the pelvic area may become less elastic or the valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards become weakened. This allows blood to pool and the vein to enlarge.

Unlike many varicose veins that are easily seen on the skin’s surface, the veins involved with PCS may be more difficult to detect. It’s important to seek treatment from specially trained vascular and interventional radiology specialists who can accurately diagnose PCS and recommend the most appropriate treatment.

Signs and symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome

When a vein’s valves are compromised or the vein is enlarged due to a loss of elasticity, patients may experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Pain or aches in the lower abdomen or pelvic area
  • A sensation of fullness in the legs
  • Pain that worsens when lifting or standing
  • Pain that worsens as the day goes on, then lessens after a night’s sleep
  • Urinary symptoms, such as worsened stress incontinence

Some pregnant women develop the condition, which can continue after pregnancy. Symptoms may also coincide with a woman’s menstrual cycle as hormone levels fluctuate.

The embolization procedure

Catheter-directed embolization is a nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedure that helps eliminate blood flow within the vein. Tiny coils are used to stop the abnormal blood flow and relieve pain and pressure. The treatment is performed through a vein in the groin or neck, and requires only a band-aid as dressing. Patients may immediately return to their normal daily routines.

Benefits of embolization include:

  • No surgical incision or stitches are needed
  • The procedure is highly effective for a majority of patients
  • The risk of infection is very small
  • No post-procedural downtime
  • Embolization is done on an outpatient basis

Contact our vascular specialists for a free assessment.

Our physicians are interventional radiologists with expertise in minimally invasive vascular procedures to treat PCS, varicose veins, and more. If you are experiencing symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome or would like to learn more about our vein treatments, please contact our Jacksonville vein clinic to schedule a consultation.

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