Tuesday, February 5, 2019

What is Pelvic Venous Congestion Syndrome?

Veins have one-way valves that help keep blood flowing toward the heart. If the valves are weak or damaged, blood can flow in the wrong direction in the veins in the legs and feet, often causing them to swell. When this happens near the pelvis, it is called pelvic venous congestion syndrome. Simply put, varicose can also develop internally, in the pelvis, uterus and ovaries. 

Those internal varicose veins can cause symptoms similar to those in the legs. Patients will often have visible varicose veins on their upper legs or labia, but not always. The main symptom is pelvic pain that lasts for six months or more. 

Patients with PVCS report a prolonged deep and dull ache, often associated with movement, posture, and activities that increase abdominal pressure. Like varicose veins in the leg, the achiness that increases with prolonged standing can often be relieved by lying flat or elevating the legs.

Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) occurs below the belly button in the pelvis. The pain may be unilateral or bilateral – meaning on one side of the pelvis or both – and is often more pronounced on one side than the other. The pain is chronic and appears to have no obvious source. Symptoms may also include rectal discomfort or increased urinary frequency, bloating or gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms.

According to some studies, more than 26% of women suffer from CPP, but data about its prevalence is incomplete. When taking into account the number of factors that could also cause chronic pelvic pain, one can see how misdiagnosis by medical professionals might occur. 

Conditions range from problems in the gastrointestinal tract to gynecologic diseases and urologic abnormalities. While some of these conditions are easily diagnosed, other causes of chronic pelvic pain are extremely difficult to recognize and have often been underdiagnosed or overlooked– even though studies show that PVCS occurs in up to 30 percent of patients who have chronic pelvic pain. 

Pelvic venous congestion syndrome, or PVCS, although easy to describe can be challenging to diagnose. In fact, PVCS is often misdiagnosed or never diagnosed at all. 

To learn more about PVCS and how it is diagnosed and treated, read the latest issue of Vein Health News. If you think your pelvic pain may be related to your venous health, feel free to contact us at the Vein Healthcare Center.

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