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Many women experience pelvic pain at one time or another in their lives. Pelvic pain can be caused by many different factors such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, ovarian cysts, or uterine fibroids. Some pelvic pain can be difficult to diagnose, and it can be frustrating if ultrasounds or other diagnostic tests do not lead to a conclusive cause for the pain. If you are frustrated by chronic pelvic pain, you may have pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS).

Pelvic congestion syndrome is a disorder where the veins in the pelvis which drain blood from the uterus and ovaries become enlarged and stop working efficiently. This causes the blood to pool in these veins which can cause pain and heaviness in the lower abdomen.

Here are some signs that you may be dealing with Pelvic Congestion Syndrome.

  1. Your pain began during or shortly after pregnancy
    Pregnancy hormones cause your veins to dilate which can worsen the symptoms of pelvic congestion. Also, the weight of the fetus on the veins in the pelvis can cause them to work less efficiently. This can cause more pain during pregnancy and even after delivery.
  2. You have varicose veins in the groin, buttocks, or vaginal/vulvar area.
    These veins can develop at any time but often are first noticed during pregnancy. They typically resolve after delivery but can be a sign that the veins higher up in your pelvis are diseased.
  3. Your pelvic pain worsens after intercourse or after prolonged periods of standing or sitting.
    Other causes of pelvic pain such as ovarian cysts and endometriosis can worsen during or just before your menstrual cycle but if the pain worsens after you stand for long periods or after intercourse, the pain could be from Pelvic congestion.
  4. You experience frequent urination or sudden urge to urinate.
    Dilated veins in the pelvis can irritate the bladder causing a sudden urge to urinate or more frequent urination.
  5. You also have varicose veins in your legs or a family history of varicose veins.
    Varicose veins are the result of a genetic predisposition to the veins become large and stretched out. If you have a family history of varicose veins or have bulging veins in your legs, you may be at higher risk for the veins in your pelvis also becoming diseased. However, it is important to note that you can have PCS without outward signs of varicose veins.