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What Are Pelvic Varicose Veins?

Patients with pelvic varicose veins, or pelvic congestion syndrome, may be asymptomatic. They may also experience troubling symptoms, primarily pain in the region. Women suffer more frequently from pelvic varicose veins, but men are also susceptible to the problem. Pelvic varicose veins may be invisible, particularly when the patient is lying down.

Causes Of Pelvic Varicose Veins

Pelvic varicose veins form when vein walls weaken, known as venous insufficiency, and when valves within the vein deteriorate and allow blood to flow backward, known as venous reflux.


Risk factors for pelvic varicose veins include:

  • Family history of the disorder

  • Repeated pregnancies

  • Obesity

  • Sedentary lifestyle

What is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?

Research has shown that as many as a third of all women suffer pelvic pain during their lifetime. When pelvic congestion syndrome is the cause of this pain, the patient may experience it as dull and aching, but may occasionally present as more acute. Such pain tends to be worse at the end of the day and long periods of standing may exacerbate it. Pain may be worse just before a menstrual period or during or after sexual intercourse.


Women with this disorder may also experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Enlarged uterus

  • Thicker endometrium

  • Ovarian changes

  • Stress incontinence

  • Back pain

  • Vaginal discharge

  • Severe menstrual pain or dysmenorrhea

  • Abdominal bloating

  • Mood swings

  • Fatigue

Diagnosis Of Pelvic Varicose Veins

There are other causes of pelvic pain than varicose veins in the region. These causes, such as ovarian cancer, must be ruled out before a definitive diagnosis of pelvic congestion syndrome can be made. Since varicose veins in the pelvic region are not always visible even on sophisticated imaging devices, a Doppler ultrasound may be used. The most effective diagnostic test for pelvic varicose veins is usually a CT venogram using contrast dye. The dye is used so that the affected veins can be better visualized on X-ray.

Pelvic Varicose Veins Treatment

If venography makes it clear that varicose veins exist in the pelvic region, we remove them a process called embolization.

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