Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is a condition that’s caused by varicose veins in the pelvis around the ovaries and uterus. Women suffering from the condition suffer from severe, chronic pain that is intensified during menstruation and intercourse and is often mistakenly diagnosed as menstrual cramps. The most common cause of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is pregnancy when higher-than-normal levels of estrogen in the body cause veins to widen, resulting in an excess of blood being trapped in veins.
While early symptoms may be controlled with pain medicine, the easiest and most efficient way to get rid of the pain caused by Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is to undergo treatment. With treatment, the excess blood in pelvic veins can be eradicated, alleviating all symptoms associated with the disease. A doctor will perform an ultrasound to diagnose the condition and identify the troublesome veins, and then perform one of the following treatment options.
Ovarian Vein Embolization
Ovarian Vein Embolization is a minimally-invasive process where a doctor uses x-ray imaging to guide a catheter through problematic veins in order to close those veins so that blood can no longer pass through and build up. The treatment is generally effective with a success rate of 85-95%, and most women are relieved from the pain and symptoms of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome and recover fully from the surgery within a week of having the treatment performed.
Because blood is still able to pass through healthy veins that remain in the pelvic region after an embolization procedure is performed, there generally little risk of the procedure resulting in infertility.
If embolization is not an option or if your doctor does not properly diagnose your condition, he/she may recommend hormone treatment to alleviate symptoms. Hormone treatment, such as birth control, can reduce or stop menstruation, alleviating intensified symptoms that occur during a woman’s monthly menstruation cycle. However, this option does not cure the condition—only alleviates the symptoms—and is not effective if you decide to stop taking birth control to try to get pregnant.
A hysterectomy is the removal of ovaries. While it is being performed, damaged veins can also be removed or tied off to eliminate symptoms of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome. A hysterectomy should only be performed in the most severe cases where no other options are available because it is highly invasive, and additional pregnancies will be impossible after the surgery is performed. If your doctor recommends a hysterectomy, make sure to seek a second opinion from an interventional radiologist who may be able to better diagnose the condition and offer different treatment options.
Cost of Treatment
Treatment for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is generally covered by health insurance because the condition has such a detrimental effect on the sufferer’s quality of life. To find out how much treatment may cost you out of pocket, you can use our varicose vein treatment cost calculator to get a quote on treatment—considering what your insurance will pay—before visiting the doctor.