Could varicose veins be the cause of your unexplained pelvic pain? The symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) mimic and overlap with other conditions, making it easy for PCS to go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
If you’re dealing with pelvic pain, you need expert evaluation to reach the proper diagnosis. Rely on the expertise of board-certified cardiologist Dr. Kishore K. Arcot to get to the root of your pelvic pain. Dr. Arcot and the team at Memphis Vein Center employ the latest diagnostic techniques and advances in vein treatment to diagnose and treat a full range of heart and vein conditions.
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 PCS, it helps to take a look at the circulatory system. Arteries transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from your heart to the tissues throughout your body. Veins carry deoxygenated blood back to your heart.
Under normal circumstances this process goes smoothly. Sometimes, however, pressure can build in your veins, causing them to widen and become coiled or twisted. 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, and when this happens you may experience pelvic pain that ranges from mild to severe.
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
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
If you’ve had a thorough workup for your pelvic pain without a cause identified, and if pelvic congestion is suspected, Dr. Arcot may recommend:
- A Doppler ultrasound to check the flow in your pelvic blood vessels
- Specialized X-rays of your pelvic veins (venography)
Once a diagnosis of PCS is confirmed, Dr. Arcot will develop an individualized pelvic congestion syndrome treatment plan tailored to the severity of your symptoms. Treatment to close off varicose veins is effective. Once closed, the body reroutes blood to healthy veins.
There are different approaches to closing off veins, and the procedure Dr. Arcot recommends will depend on factors such as your medical history and the size of your varicose veins. Rest assured that available, minimally invasive vein treatments, such as coiling can help eliminate the varicose veins in your pelvis to ease your pain.
If you’re struggling with unexplained pelvic pain, there is hope. To get started, contact our team at Memphis Vein Center to book a consultation with Dr. Arcot.