Written by: Brita McCullough, MD
Pelvic congestion syndrome is a medical condition in women caused by varicose veins in the lower abdomen. The varicose veins may develop from prior pregnancies or for unknown reasons. The presence of estrogen in the body can cause vasodilation which can result in the accumulation of blood in the veins of the lower abdomen. Estrogen can weaken the vein walls, leading to the varicosities. Up to 15 percent of all women have varicose veins in the abdominal area, but not all have symptoms. The condition causes chronic pain, usually described as a dull ache that may be worsened with standing and/or as the day goes on. Early treatment options include pain medication, alternative therapies such as acupuncture or suppression of ovarian function. Surgery can be done using noninvasive techniques to embolize the varicose veins. Up to 80 percent of women obtain relief using this method. See next month’s follow-up blog regarding interventional radiologist’s procedure available at Agnesian HealthCare for this condition.