Simply put, the Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is the medical condition caused due to varicose veins in the lower part of the abdomen.
Varicose veins are enlarged or tortuous veins that occur due to faulty valve causing blood to flow backward into the veins that usually occur in the legs because they are under pressure while long periods of standing, but these may also occur in the abdomen in certain conditions.
There are certain risk factors that could contribute to the occurrence of this syndrome.
A woman is at higher risk of developing pelvic congestion if she has had two or more pregnancies or if she has a retroverted (tipped) uterus or other anatomical abnormalities.
Engorged leg veins can also be a risk factor; as can certain hormonal dysfunctions, having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or being overweight.
The condition is most commonly seen among women of reproductive age; between the ages 25 and 45.
Symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome
Some of the symptoms of this condition can be similar to other female problems such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or uterine prolapse. So it is important to have the symptoms evaluated to see what the condition is, that is causing them to occur.
Many women may experience no significant symptoms of pelvic congestive syndrome however the most commonly noted symptom of this condition is abdominal pain; which is most often experienced in the form of a chronic dull ache. Some women also have backache as a result of the condition.
The pain can be more acute at some times such as at the end of the day and so on. Long periods of standing can exacerbate the pain, as can sexual intercourse. The pain can also change as per the time of month, and is typically most severe just before a woman is due to get her period.
Since a pregnancy is one of the risk factors of the condition, and is known to put a lot of pressure on the abdomen and the pelvis, this can also worsen the pain.
Though the pain may not be severe for a lot of women, many others may find that it is severe enough to impact daily activities and even interpersonal relationships.
Visible signs of pelvic congestion syndrome
Swelling in the vagina or the vulva may be noted due to the engorgement of the lower abdominal veins. There may also be visible varicose veins in the vulva, the legs and the buttocks. There could also be unusual vaginal discharge.
Tiredness, lethargy, depression
Since a hormonal imbalance often coexists with the condition, women find that they feel tired and lethargic and lacking in energy; they may find that they feel depressed and anxious as a result.
Some women with the condition may find that they have abnormal menstrual bleeding or painful periods. Abdominal bloating or tenderness to the touch in the abdominal area may also be seen.
A definitive diagnosis of pelvic congestion syndrome can be made using diagnostic tools such as ultrasound, a venogram, a CT scan or an MRI. Sometimes laparoscopy may be required to make the diagnosis.