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Pelvic congestion syndrome is a painful and distressing condition that occurs in women of childbearing years. If you are diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome in Houston, a vein specialist can offer treatments that provide relief. Here are the answers to some common questions patients have about pelvic congestion syndrome.

What exactly is pelvic congestion syndrome?

Pelvic congestion syndrome occurs when varicose veins appear in the pelvis, causing discomfort. It is most common in women between the ages of 20 and 45 and may occur in up to 15% of women of childbearing age. Diagnosis is made using an ultrasound or venogram, during which dye is injected into the veins of the pelvis under x-ray guidance. Sometimes the distended veins can be noted on a laparoscopy, where an incision is made through the abdomen to insert a small camera that allows doctors to see inside of the pelvis. The cause of pelvic congestion syndrome, which is sometimes referred to as ovarian vein reflux, is unknown, but estrogen may play a role.

What are the symptoms?

Chronic pelvic pain is the most common symptom of pelvic congestion syndrome. The pain is usually described as a dull aching or heaviness; it can be constant or it may come and go. Many women have worsened symptoms with their menstrual cycle. Backaches, a swollen vulva, and pain during intercourse are also possible. Many women with pelvic congestion syndrome experience a vaginal discharge and abnormal or painful menstrual bleeding. Women with pelvic congestion syndrome may have other varicose veins as well. For some women, the symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome are so severe that they interfere with their everyday lives and cause significant distress.

How is pelvic congestion syndrome treated?

Over-the-counter pain medication can help to control the discomfort caused by pelvic congestion syndrome, but for long-term treatment, see a vein specialist. Treatments to prevent blood flow into the affected veins, so that it doesn’t pool there, can help. Minimally invasive procedures can be performed under x-ray guidance to block the blood flow to the veins in the pelvis can be performed. Your specialist will determine which treatment is right for you based on a number of different factors, including the severity of your symptoms.

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