Chronic pelvic pain is pain or discomfort in the lowest part of the abdomen and pelvis for more than 6 months duration. The pain may range from a sharp jab to a dull ache. In 30% of patients, the pain is caused by an underlying vascular condition called pelvic congestion syndrome. Our vascular specialists, right here in South Charlotte, are recognized experts in the treatment of this condition and can provide effective and permanent treatment in the office to relieve your pain and help you restore a normal and healthy lifestyle.
What causes chronic pelvic pain?
While a variety of gynecologic, gastrointestinal, and urologic conditions can cause acute pelvic pain chronic pelvic pain, chronic pelvic pain is mostly caused by:
- Gynecologic conditions like endometriosis and fibroids
- Pelvic vascular conditions like pelvic venous reflux disease
- Gastrointestinal disorders like inflammatory or irritable bowel syndromes
What is pelvic congestion syndrome?
Pelvic vascular congestion is a vascular condition caused by problems with the veins in the pelvic area. Similar to what happens in leg varicose veins, the veins in the pelvis become unable to return the blood efficiently to the heart, causing blood to pool in the pelvis and leading to pelvic venous congestion. When the various veins in the pelvis fill to capacity, the continued and abnormal pressure in the veins will be diverted to the lower pelvis and subsequently to the legs themselves, causing them in turn to become weakened and dilated.
What causes pelvic venous congestion?
Pelvic venous congestion occurs as result of one of more of the following:
- Hormones: play a role in pelvic congestion. Estrogen makes veins wider (dilates).
- Pelvic vein compression: the veins draining the legs may be compressed along their path though the pelvis by other structures. The vein compression will interfere with the ability of the blood to flow normally, causing blood to flow backwards and be diverted to other pelvic veins which then become engorged causing pelvic pain and even symptoms in the legs.
- Pelvic vein valve reflux: veins rely on healthy one-way valves within their walls to maintain forward flow towards the heart. These valves are prone to leak under pressure or become broken with time. In particular, the valves in the ovarian and iliac veins are particularly prone to become weakened under pressure leading to the pooling of blood into the pelvis causing the pelvic congestion.
How do I know if I have pelvic congestion?
You may have a higher risk for pelvic congestion syndrome if you have given birth to more than one child and have two or more of the followings:
- Chronic pelvic pain of greater than 6 months duration in association with leg symptoms in premenstrual females.
- Presence of varicosities in unusual areas including posterior gluteal, inner thighs, vulvar varices particularly if new varicosities develop during your pregnancy and subside afterwards.
- Pelvic pain during intercourse from the pelvic veins becoming more engorged.
- Presence of varicose veins in the testes in males (see: Varicoceles)
- Recurrent varicose veins after saphenous ablation or stripping with evidence of pelvic varices on ultrasound
- Persistent chronic leg pain and swelling in the absence of leg problems
- Chronic leg swelling with symptoms of Irritable bowels, or hemorrhoids
What are some symptoms of pelvic congestion?
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Worsened pain and heavier flow during the menstrual cycle
- Worsened pelvic pain and feeling of pressure during sex
- Leg pain and heaviness after standing for a long time
- Sudden feeling to urinate urgently with pelvic pressure
- Hemorrhoids or irritable bowels with leg pain
Our vascular surgeons, right here in South Charlotte are leading experts in treating this condition and are ready to help you relieve your symptoms with an office-based procedure with minimal downtime and quick recovery.
Read more about the treatment options for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome.
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