Pelvic congestion syndrome (also known as pelvic vein incompetence) is a medical condition in women caused by varicose veins in the lower abdomen. Pelvic congestion syndrome is a chronic medical condition that causes pelvic pain in women.
Diagnosis can be made using ultrasound or laparoscopy testing. The condition can also be diagnosed with a venogram, CT scan, or an MRI. Ultrasound is the diagnostic tool most commonly used.
Pelvic congestion is becoming increasingly recognised as a cause of chronic pelvic pain. It is associated with pelvic varicosities which are often present in women with unexplained pelvic pain.
Women with pelvic congestion complain of a dull ache aggravated by standing and other physical activity. Associated symptoms include vaginal discharge, backache and urinary frequency. Menstrual cycle defects are common (54%) and congestive dysmenorrhoea is present in 66%. Women with pelvic congestion syndrome have a larger uterus and a thicker endometrium. 56% show cystic changes to the ovaries, with many reporting symptoms such as abdominal bloating, back pain, vaginal discharge, mood swings and fatigue. Women with this condition experience a constant pain that may be dull and aching, but can sometimes be more acute. The pain is worse at the end of the day and after long periods of standing, and sufferers get relief when they lie down. The pain is worse during or after sexual intercourse, and can be worse just before the onset of menstruation.
Ovarian vein embolization is a minimally invasive treatment used to block blood flow to the veins causing pelvic congestion. The procedure stops blood flow to the varicose veins using a noninvasive technique called embolization. The procedure typically requires an overnight stay in hospital, and is done using local anesthetic. Patients report high satisfaction with the procedure as measured by the amount of pain reduction experienced.
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