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      What Causes Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?

      What Causes Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?

      Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) is a relatively common cause of chronic pelvic pain in women of child-bearing age, yet it often goes undiagnosed. That’s partly because until recently, pelvic congestion syndrome wasn’t well-understood.

      Today, doctors know pelvic congestion syndrome typically is caused by venous insufficiency in the pelvic area. Still, getting the right diagnosis — and the right treatment — can be problematic unless you have a doctor with significant experience in treating PCS.

      At Middle Georgia Vascular Surgery Center & Vein Solutions, Dr. Allison Burkett uses the most advanced techniques to diagnose and treat pelvic congestion syndrome in patients at our practice in Warner Robins, Georgia. If you have pelvic pain, here’s what you should know about PCS.

      Understanding pelvic congestion syndrome

      Pelvic congestion syndrome is a chronic condition that can last for months or years. Researchers think it happens when the blood vessels in the pelvic region become weak or start to malfunction.

      These vein problems cause what’s known as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), which is the inability of the veins to circulate blood properly. CVI is a major cause of varicose veins in the legs.

      Researchers aren’t sure why vein problems happen in the pelvic area, but they believe it’s linked with fluctuations in estrogen that cause veins to dilate and weaken.


      The symptoms of PCS can be severe, taking a toll on your quality of life. The most common symptoms include:

      • Pain or dull aching in your pelvic area
      • Pain in your lower back or flank
      • Pain that worsens when you stand for long periods
      • Pain that worsens with your period
      • Pain during sex
      • Irritable bladder
      • Varicose veins in your upper thighs
      • Bulging veins around the vagina

      Although the painful symptoms associated with PCS may worsen during your periods, the condition itself is not related to menstruation.

      Risk factors

      While any woman can have pelvic congestion syndrome, it’s more common during the child-bearing years. It’s also more common among women with these risk factors:

      • Fluctuations in your hormone levels
      • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
      • Leg varicose veins
      • Ovarian cysts
      • Multiple prior pregnancies
      • History of abdominal surgeries
      • Scarring in the abdomen

      Some women develop PCS without having any of these risk factors. That’s why it’s so important to have chronic pelvic pain evaluated, regardless of your health history.

      Pelvic congestion syndrome treatment

      The weakened veins that cause pelvic congestion syndrome symptoms aren’t easily visible during a routine pelvic exam or annual physical. That’s a big reason why the condition is often undiagnosed or underdiagnosed.

      If you have chronic pelvic pain, seeing a vascular specialist like Dr. Burkett is important for confirming or ruling out vascular disease as early as possible. She uses an array of imaging and examination techniques to diagnose PCS and determine the optimal treatment option.

      Depending on your needs, Dr. Burkett can recommend a vein treatment aimed at opening up blocked veins or closing them off entirely, allowing circulation to be rerouted through neighboring veins.

      PCS treatment can quickly relieve painful symptoms and restore your quality of life. To learn more about PCS treatment, call us or book an appointment online with Dr. Burkett today.

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