Pelvic congestion syndrome affects women in their childbearing years. It is uncommon for girls to get pelvic congestion syndrome before puberty, as the pelvic organs and blood supply have not increased due to the effect of female hormones. Similarly, it is uncommon to get pelvic congestion syndrome after the menopause, as when the female sex hormones reduce sufficiently, the blood supply to the pelvis also reduces. However it is possible to get pelvic congestion syndrome postmenopausally if the veins have been very dilated.
What are the symptoms of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?
The symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome are mainly those caused by the pressure of the venous blood in the dilated pelvic varicose veins pressing on the pelvic organs. As such they can include:
Although there are rarely any outward signs of pelvic congestion syndrome, occasionally the following can be seen, particularly after pregnancy:
Unfortunately many of the symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome are variable and also can occur with other conditions. Usually patients come to Whiteley Clinics once they have already seen their family doctors and gynaecologists and have been told that there is nothing wrong with them.
Research performed at Whiteley Clinics and published in peer-reviewed journals has suggested that the best way to diagnose varicose veins of the pelvis is a specialised venous duplex ultrasound test called the transvaginal duplex ultrasound. Judy Holdstock and Charmaine Harrison, the two most senior vascular technologists at Whiteley Clinics, have developed the Holdstock-Harrison protocol to diagnose pelvic vein reflux and pelvic varicose veins.
The research suggests that this is more accurate than MRI, CT, venography or any other test that is used currently.
One of the major advantages of transvaginal duplex ultrasound is that the ovaries, uterus and cervix can also be examined at the same time using a test that has no x-rays and has no needles at all and is a truly walk in walk out investigation.