Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) is a fairly common cause of pelvic pain and other uncomfortable symptoms, affecting about 15% of American women between the ages of 18 and 50. But despite how common it is, many women have never even heard of the condition.
As a top-ranked vascular surgeon in Warner Robins, Georgia, Dr. Allison Burkett is skilled in both diagnosing and treating pelvic congestion syndrome, helping patients at Middle Georgia Vascular Surgery Center & Vein Solutions finally find much-needed relief for their symptoms. Here’s what she wants you to know about PCS and its symptoms.
Researchers aren’t completely sure why PCS happens, but they do know it’s related to the health and function of the veins in your pelvic region. Like varicose veins in other parts of your body, the veins in your pelvis become weak or begin to malfunction if you have PCS.
In pelvic congestion syndrome, the veins in and near your pelvis tend to enlarge, which could be a consequence of pregnancy, hormonal changes, or other causes. Interestingly, some women who have enlarged pelvic veins don’t go on to develop PCS.
PCS is considered a chronic condition because it can last for a long time. Some women suffer from PCS for months or years.
While chronic or recurring pelvic pain or aching is certainly a common symptom of PCS, it’s not the only one. Learning to recognize the other symptoms of PCS is essential for helping women seek medical treatment that can help them feel better.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
It’s important to know that the symptoms can vary from one woman to another, and the severity can vary, as well.
Any woman can develop PCS, but there are some risk factors that make the condition more likely. They include:
Remember — these are things that increase your risk of having PCS. You can still have PCS even if you don’t have any of these risk factors.
Treating PCS begins with an accurate diagnosis. In most cases, that means Dr. Burkett uses special imaging techniques to evaluate your veins and the venous blood flow in your pelvic area.
If Dr. Burkett finds that you do have PCS, she recommends treatments aimed at improving blood flow and reducing painful symptoms. Many women benefit from minimally invasive options that target the specific veins in your pelvis, improving vein function and blood flow.
Pelvic pain can take a big toll on your quality of life, and any type of pelvic pain needs to be evaluated. PCS is just one possible cause of pelvic pain. Having an evaluation as soon as possible ensures you receive treatment, so you can feel better and prevent any underlying issue from getting worse.