What you need to know about… pelvic congestion syndrome

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It’s one of the most misunderstood medical problems. In fact, you’ve probably never even heard of it, yet one in three women with chronic pelvic pain suffers from this debilitating condition

What is it?

PCS is a condition caused by varicose veins hidden in the lower abdomen and pelvis.

Just like varicose veins, if the valves in the pelvic veins fail, then the blood that should be pumped out of the pelvis and back to the heart stays inside the dilated varicose veins.

This stops the normal blood circulation to the pelvic organs and causes the large varicose veins to push on the bladder, bowel, vagina and pelvic floor.

What are the symptoms?

  • An irritable bladder, sometimes leading to stress incontinence.

  • An irritable bowel — recurrent abdominal pain and diarrhoea alternating with periods of constipation.

  • Deep discomfort during or after sexual intercourse.

  • A dull, aching or ‘dragging’ pain in the pelvis or lower back, particularly when standing and around the time of your period.

Left untreated, PCS can result in long-term chronic pain. If you suspect you have it, try to get a diagnosis from a venous surgeon as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many symptoms of PCS are unpredictably varied, making diagnosis difficult.

What’s the treatment?

A procedure called pelvic vein embolisation, where catheters are placed directly into the veins that need treatment.

_From Professor Whitel_ey, the UK’s leading vein surgeon at thewhiteleyclinic.com

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