What is pelvic congestion syndrome?
Your veins carry blood back to the heart. When the veins in the lower abdomen stop working as they should, you may experience a build-up of blood that causes varicose vein-like changes in your pelvic region. The veins become enlarged and change shape, resulting in pain – a condition known as pelvic congestion syndrome.
What are the symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome?
If you’ve had pelvic pain that’s persisted for at least six months, you may have pelvic congestion syndrome. Often, you’ll notice the pain during or after a pregnancy.
You’ll also feel:
- Pelvic pain that’s heavy and aching or sharp, usually on the left side
- More pain when you change posture
- Pain during or after sex
- Standing or walking for long periods of time
- Pain during your period
- Sudden urges to urinate
You may notice enlarged, distorted veins on the buttocks, vulva, or thighs.
How is pelvic congestion syndrome diagnosed?
Pelvic congestion syndrome can be hard to diagnose, but UCLA- and Johns Hopkins-trained radiologist Dr. Golshan is skilled in identifying the condition. He’ll evaluate your symptoms and health history.
He’ll also run several different diagnostic tests that may include:
- Blood tests
- Pelvic ultrasound
- Venogram (x-ray guided imaging of the pelvic veins using contrast material)
How is pelvic congestion syndrome treated?
Dr. Golshan offers procedures to shut off damaged veins so you experience reduced or eliminated symptoms. It’s a minimally invasive treatment that prevents the faulty veins from enlarging with blood.
During the procedure, Dr. Golshan uses X-ray imaging and contrast material to visualize the blood vessels. If the venogram demonstrates abnormal pelvic veins they are closed off with the insertion of a coil into the abnormal vein. This is a minimally invasive procedure done in the office that takes less then an hour with the patient going home shortly there after. There is no use of general anesthesia and the patient may resume regular activities the following day. We recommend no strenuous physical activity for a few days following the procedure.
Most patients are able to resume normal activities after one week.