Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS)
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) is essentially varicose veins in the pelvis. It is the cause of chronic pelvic pain in approximately 13 - 14% of women. Research has shown that 1 in every 7 women get PSC.
Varicose veins and are caused by valves in the veins malfunctioning and allowing blood to flow backwards. There are three major veins involved in the circulation of the pelvis – the external iliac vein, internal iliac vein and ovarian vein. Veins become less elastic, bulky and enlarged. When this happens to the pelvic veins, visible varicose veins emerge in the pelvic region and the pressure often causes severe pain and discomfort.
The varicose veins in the pelvis surround the ovary and can also push on the bladder and rectum. Pain is the most common symptom. It usually appears on one side, but can affect both sides. This pain can increase while standing, lifting, when you are tired, during pregnancy and during or after sexual intercourse. Veins are also affected by the menstrual cycle or hormones and therefore pain may increase during menstruation.
Pelvic pain or aching around the pelvis and lower abdomen.
Dragging sensation or pain in the pelvis.
Feeling of fullness in the legs.
Worsening of stress incontinence.
Depending on the patient‘s symptoms, treatment can be medical therapy, surgical treatment or embolization. When PCS is diagnosed, embolization is usually the indicated treatment. It is a minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment used to stop the abnormal blood flow causing the painful symptoms. Embolization has shown a high rate of success in symptom improvement (85% — 95%) and is a safe and efficient treatment.