Many women suffer from abdominal and pelvic pain for years, with little knowledge about the source of the pain and few effective treatments.
Fortunately, we know more about the causes of pelvic pain than ever before, including the existence of a condition called pelvic congestion syndrome, also known as ovarian vein reflux.
This condition occurs when the veins in the pelvis lose elasticity and the vein valve (which prevents blood from flowing backward) malfunctions. This causes blood to pool in the pelvic veins.
Pelvic congestion syndrome can cause mild to severe pelvic pain that interferes with daily activities. What’s more, many studies show that PCS is the cause of up to 30% of cases of chronic pelvic pain in women.
Learn more about pelvic congestion syndrome.
The symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome may mimic those of other conditions, but the condition also presents many unique symptoms.
A “Dragging” Sensation in the Pelvis
One of the most common symptoms of PCS is a sensation that the pelvis and reproductive organs are being pulled downward. This is often described as a sensation of dragging or tugging inside the pelvis.
The exact cause of the dragging sensation isn’t confirmed, but it may be attributed to the forces of gravity pulling on the distended pelvic veins.
Pain That Worsens During Standing, Walking or Lifting
Most women with PCS find that their pelvic pain intensifies when they sit or stand for a long period of time or lift something heavy.
Additionally, PCS pain often improves or subsides when a woman lies down.
Pain During Intercourse
A large number of women with PCS experience pain during and immediately following sexual intercourse. Pain during intercourse is a symptom of a number of women’s health conditions, so women who experience this symptom with PCS can be misdiagnosed.
Varicose Veins In Pelvis and Surrounding Areas
As the pelvic blood vessels become structurally damaged with PCS, many women notice varicosities (bulging veins) in the vulva, buttocks, hips and upper thighs.
The veins can be unsightly and are often tender, especially after long periods of sitting, standing or walking.
Risk Factors for Developing Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Current research suggests that pregnancy is the biggest risk factor for developing PCS. Most women with Pelvic Congestion Syndrome have had multiple pregnancies.
Increased blood flow to the uterus during pregnancy, coupled with the increase in estrogen (which causes the veins to widen) are thought to contribute to pelvic vein varicosities.
Are you suffering from the debilitating symptoms of PCS? Georgia Vascular Institute is a leading vein treatment center in Stockbridge, Georgia.
We are proud to offer telemedicine services during the COVID-19 pandemic.