Approximately 1/3 of women will experience chronic pelvic pain at some point in their life. Some cases of chronic pelvic pain are caused by pelvic congestion syndrome. Pelvic congestion syndrome seems to be caused by varicose veins that form in the pelvis.
Around 15 percent of women will develop ovarian and pelvic varicose veins in response to pregnancy for unknown reasons. Like varicose veins in the legs, blood pools in the pelvic varicose veins, causing them to distend and become painful, particularly after standing for a period. Painful varicose veins can affect the ovaries, the uterus, and the vulva.
For women who are experiencing pain in the pelvis associated with Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, ovarian vein embolization may be a solution. At Miami Vein Center your symptoms will be thoroughly evaluated and diagnosed to rule out other causes of pelvic pain and determine if ovarian vein embolization is the best course of treatment for you.
Serving the greater Miami area in Southern Florida, Miami Vein Center is led by board certified vascular surgeon Dr. Jose Almeida.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
What is Ovarian Vein Embolization?
Although varicose veins are primarily found in the legs, they can also occur around the uterus and ovaries. This is referred to as Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, and it can lead to multiple uncomfortable symptoms including:
- Dull pain in the lower abdomen and back following intercourse, during menstruation, while standing at the end of the day and during pregnancy
- Abnormal bleeding during menstruation
- Vaginal discharge
- The presence of varicose veins on the vulva, buttocks or thigh
- Irritable bladder
Diagnosis of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Diagnosis of pelvic congestion syndrome is often difficult. A typical victim is a woman between the ages of 20 and 45 who has had two or more pregnancies. Often, but not always, varicose veins have also developed in the legs during pregnancy. The characteristic pelvic pain that worsens during standing and is relieved by rest is a useful diagnostic clue.
Because a woman has to lie down during a pelvic exam, which causes the distended veins to collapse, the varicose veins themselves are practically impossible to detect by physical examination. Imaging with transvaginal ultrasound while the woman stands can be useful. MRI and pelvic venography are the most accurate methods to detect pelvic varicose veins.
Treatment of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Standard treatment for pelvic varicose veins is ovarian vein embolization includes a tiny incision, a thin catheter tube inserted into the damaged vein, x-ray and contrast dye. Dr. Almeida can visualize the vein and inject it with a synthetic medication that causes it to close up. In ovarian vein embolization, the vein is sealed shut by damaging it with tiny coils or a chemical agent. Once sealed, blood cannot pool in the vein, and the symptoms go away.
To perform ovarian vein embolization on veins deep in the pelvis, Dr. Almeida inserts the tiny catheter into the femoral vein (located in the groin) and threads it through the circulatory system until it reaches the damaged veins. The doctor will use X-ray imaging to observe what is happening inside the pelvis. Often, ovarian vein embolization will be performed during the diagnostic venography procedure if varicose veins are detected during the diagnostic examination.
After the affected vein is disabled, blood flow will be redistributed to healthy veins. Although the treated vein will no longer function, it will stay in place in the body in order to minimize bruising and reduce healing time.
What to After Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Treatment
Ovarian vein embolization is performed at our accredited facility in Miami. The patient is given a sedative, and a local anesthetic is applied to the skin of the inner thigh. A tiny incision is made into the skin to allow the catheter to be inserted. The procedure takes one to two hours. After one to four hours of recovery, most patients are sent home. Occasionally, an overnight stay may be required.
Recovery from Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Treatment
Patients can usually return to their regular activities the day after the procedure. There may be some pain or discomfort for two or three days after the procedure, which can be treated with oral medications. Ovarian vein embolization is effective in relieving the pain of pelvic congestion syndrome in around 80 percent of women. In those few who do not experience complete pain relief, most simply need another procedure to treat additional varicose pelvic veins.
Schedule Your Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Consultation
At Miami Vein Center, our entire practice is dedicated to vein treatment. Led by vascular surgeon Dr. Jose Almeida can treat pelvic vein congestion with ovarian vein embolization as an in-office procedure or in a hospital procedure, depending on patient preference.