Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) comes under chronic diseases. In this condition, varicose veins develop within the pelvic region. Due to poor vein function, these veins get swollen, twisted, and even lengthened in some cases.
PCS induces constant dull pain in the abdomen region, and it can get to excruciating levels in some women. This condition is common in women after childbirth.
According to the experts, around 30% of people with chronic pelvic conditions can also develop pelvic congestion syndrome.
Symptoms of PCS
People with PCS often experience a combination of symptoms at once. These include:
- Excessive menstrual bleeding
- Chronic backache
- Painful menstrual cycles
- Abnormal fluid discharge from the vagina
- Varicose veins in the hips, legs, and vulva
- Irritable bowel
- Excessive need for urination
- Hip pain
Most people with PCS experience persistent dull abdomen pain. However, the pain can increase during certain events, including:
- Standing for a long time
- Nighttime after a hectic day
- Late stages of pregnancy
- During or after intercourse
- The week before the start of the menstrual cycle
Causes of PCS
The most common cause of PCS is:
Currently, pregnancy is the most common reason for provoking pelvic congestion syndrome. During pregnancy, a woman goes through structural changes in her pelvic region. These changes can impact the blood vessels, increasing the chances of forming varicose veins.
Your body also produces extra fluid to support the baby, leading to excessive weight. Often, your veins fail to cope with the fluid weight and become so engorged that valves get damaged, resulting in the formation of varicose veins.
Moreover, the rise in estrogen levels also weakens blood vessel walls, which can provoke pelvic congestion syndrome.
Diagnosis of PCS
PCS is not an easy condition to diagnose. Your primary care physician may have to conduct several procedures to rule out any other symptoms before deciding whether it is PCS. The standard diagnostic tests for PCS include:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
Your primary care physician will most likely perform an ultrasound first because it is an easy way to detect varicosity veins and blood flow.
Further testing includes:
- Urine tests
- Blood tests for STDs, anemia, and pregnancy
- X-ray of pelvic veins
- Doppler ultrasound along with pelvic ultrasound
Risk Factor for PCS
Pregnancy is the leading risk for women developing PCS. However, there are some other risk factors as well that can increase your chances of PCS:
- Multiple pregnancies
- Retroverted uterus
- Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome (PCOS)
- Fluctuation in Hormones
- Thick or bulky legs
These factors can increase your risk and even worsen your case at times.
The following treatment options have proven effective for individuals with pelvic congestion syndrome:
It is a good first-line treatment, but it is not always effective. Recurring symptoms and pain should not be ignored, and you should find a doctor if this treatment does not work for you.
2- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
These drugs provide a short-term solution to PCS symptoms, and they can provide ease to patients while further testing is done to find the underlying cause. However, these drugs must never be taken as a long-term treatment.
3- Medically Suppressing Ovary Operations
It is a potential alternative to other PCS treatments, but it is not widely used. Some studies suggested that estrogen may have vasodilatory effects, implying that medically suppressing the ovary operation would result in symptom resolution. However, more research is still needed to validate these stances.
4- Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (MPA)
It is a steroidal progestin used for birth control, hormone replacement therapy, chemical castration, and treating endometriosis. It has been shown to improve PCS symptoms in 40% of patients, and its combination with psychotherapy is 60% effective in patients.
5- Psychological Therapy
Women with PCS have benefited from psychological therapies as they suffer from anxiety and depression in this condition. They can suffer from psychological stress for many reasons while dealing with this condition. Mostly, postpartum moms have this condition. They are already on an emotional rollercoaster in this phase, and PCS makes things worse. Therefore, it is crucial that women get psychological therapy along with medication to treat their symptoms effectively.
Pelvic congestion syndrome is not life-threatening, but it can affect the quality of your lifestyle. Its symptoms can lead to fatigue, depression, and loss of interest. Moreover, it varies in severity, and it may take you some time to recover fully. The treatments are suggested to minimize your symptoms and help you manage your condition well. It is always better to consult with a professional for better guidance. Book an appointment with the best Gynecologist in Islamabad through Marham for more information.