Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) is a chronic condition caused by engorged veins in the pelvis. PCS occurs when varicose veins develop around your ovaries – similar to the varicose veins that occur in the legs. Varicose veins are veins where the valves that keep blood flowing properly have weakened, allowing the blood to backflow and pool. This pooling stretches the vein walls, resulting in thick, ropy veins that can cause pain and other symptoms. Besides being a source of pain and discomfort, varicose veins are a sign of other insufficiencies in your venous system, so it is important to seek treatment.
Many women in the United States suffer from chronic, sometimes debilitating pelvic pain. In fact, nearly ten to fifteen percent of referrals to gynecologists are because a woman is seeking answers to her long-term pelvic pain. For some women, PCS may be the root of their discomfort, however, some cases go undiagnosed because doctors aren’t familiar with the condition or don’t think to look for it.
Varicose veins in the pelvis affect up to fifteen percent of women who are of childbearing age, but many are unaware of the condition because they have no symptoms. PCS often develops during and after pregnancy, due to the increased pressure on the pelvis. Many women may not experience symptoms at all until they become pregnant, and then continue to suffer from pain following their pregnancy.
Pain is the most common and noticeable symptom of pelvic congestion syndrome, and it tends to worsen as the day goes on (after you’ve been sitting or standing for long periods of time). It may be most noticeable in your lower back, and can be a dull ache, or a sharp, throbbing sensation. The pain is most often relieved by lying down. Other symptoms of PCS include:
The cause of pelvic congestion syndrome is not known, although doctors theorize that hormonal changes, as well as changes in the structure of the pelvis during pregnancy may be factors. Most women who suffer from PCS are between the ages of 20 to 45, and have been pregnant at least once. Weight gain is a factor in varicose veins in the legs, so it may also contribute to developing congestion in pelvic veins as well. Estrogen, though a naturally occurring hormone, is thought to weaken vein walls, adding to the chances of a woman developing PCS.
If you are experiencing chronic pelvic pain, and a pelvic examination does not show any abnormalities, your doctor may want to test for pelvic congestion syndrome. Ultrasound is the most common diagnostic scan, though your doctor may want to confirm the diagnosis using a CT scan, MRI, or venography (an x-ray taken after dye is injected into the veins).
Treating varicose veins in the pelvis may involve one or more of the following procedures:
Most patients find that treatment of varicose veins in the pelvis results in the elimination of or a significant decrease in pelvic pain and other PCS symptoms.
If you have been diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome, call IVC today at 503-612-0498 to schedule an appointment with one of our team of experienced and professional interventional radiologists.
This is for Dr. Pfister. I just wanted to thank him for all the time he spent with us the other week. In all the years I’ve had my vascular problems I’ve never had a doctor really sit down and explain to me the intricacies of what might be going on. I have a lot to think about…but just wanted to say thanks for being so nice and answering our many questions!L.H.
A fantastic group of wonderful people. The procedure was very smooth. When they were putting the port in I felt like I was getting a great massage!! Thank you all!S.C.
Charley was instrumental in getting me scheduled in quickly to get my PICC line removed. She actually worked until late in the day to get the information from my referring doctor’s office. It is nice to know great people like Charley still exist in this world!K.S.
I had my blood clot filter removed on 2/21/18. I was very apprehensive, yet EVERYONE in Dr. Pfister’s office and surgical team helped to make me comfortable. I am extremely claustrophobic so laying down or having something covering my face creates anxiety. Mary Anne listened to my concerns and made sure I was made comfortable and did not feel anxious. The surgical team was amazing, they explained everything thoroughly. Dr. Pfister came in after the procedure to review what he did and discuss any follow up that might be required. I so appreciate the time and attention he gives me as his patient. This was a positive experience.G.H.
110% Thank You! Best unit so far in my cancer treatment. Thanks Dr. LoveAnonymous
If you ever need an Interventional Radiologist for a child I realize it is serious business. I’ve seen Dr. Love go and save a child’s kidney without missing a beat. I could recommend no one better for myself, or for people I love. I think he is a little cool at the bedside, but that’s OK Dr. Love, stay frosty! If you can’t see Dr. Love, one of the other professionals at IVC will be able to help you. Ashley, the dynamite scheduler and one of the other surgeons at IVC will care for you. I’ve had multiple surgeries with this practice over the past several years. Never a hiccup!S. R. – Portland, OR
Great experience, doctor was thorough in explaining what was going to happen. The nurses were very attentive and made sure I was comfortable and my needs were met. I would recommend this office for any related procedure.Anonymous
Everything went very smoothly. Joe enjoyed the music. Very friendly staff! Good Experience!J. & E.
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Dr. Pfister, thanks so much for your excellent care, removing my chemo port earlier this week. With all your experience and your fine touch, I’m confident the scar will be nearly invisible. Your team, from beginning to end, did a super job with me. Please extend my gratitude to Jennifer, Mary Anne, Todd and Charley. I’ve got a whole lot of living left to do. I appreciate all of you helping me do it!M. F.
Dr. Pfister, thank you for all of the attention you gave to me. I learned lots from our discussion – hearing you speak of ultimate healing was enough to encourage me to do all I can to strengthen those muscles.S. O.
The entire office is one of the most professional, helpful and informative medical offices I have dealt with (and I have dealt with many). Kudos to Jennifer, Henry, and Charley!K. C.
Great people. Great place. Good surgery.G. G.
Patty, Mary Anne and the whole staff was amazing! Best experience I’ve had since being diagnosed with cancer. From start to finish, was great. Thanks.M
My brother came into Legacy Meridian Park, had a stroke. Dr. Bauer came in immediately, in his work jeans and shirt. He worked with Neurologist Dr. Burbank, developed a plan and took my brother into a procedure where they removed the clot from his head! Very down to earth doctor, explained procedure to family, worked with sense of urgency.J. P.
I want to comment regarding Dr. Bauer of how he was thorough explaining my CT Biopsy and showing me how on the computer he would get the tissue needed. In all the years of several surgeries I have never felt better going in to have a procedure done. His bedside manner was incredible. I wish all doctors were like Dr. Bauer. Thank you for preparing and relaxing me prior to the biopsy.R.S. Molalla OR
Everyone did a superb job taking care of me and doing the procedure. Thank You AllK.S.
Dr. Bauer genuinely cares about his patients and strives to make sure they understand every aspect of their treatment.A. L.
Dr. Bauer, our family wants you to know how thankful we are to you for saving G.P.’s life and bringing him back to us in normal health. Thank you over and over you are the best!Family of G. P.