written by

Peter Stratil, MD, MBA

Dr. Peter Stratil is a vascular and interventional radiologist in Denver, CO

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April 3, 2019

Chronic pelvic pain accounts for up to 40% of all gynecologic office visits

Have you experienced pain in the area below your bellybutton and between your hips that has lasted six months or longer?

This chronic pelvic pain is so common in women, especially women who have previously given birth, that it accounts for 40% of all visits to the gynecologist.

When accompanied by additional symptoms, such as pain that worsens during periods, pain during or after intercourse, and pain that worsens throughout the day, chronic pelvic pain may indicate a more serious condition. In fact, in roughly 30% of doctor’s visits for chronic pelvic pain, the cause is attributed to pelvic venous congestion syndrome (PVCS).

PVCS occurs when the veins in the pelvis lack valves, or the vein valves are faulty (varicose veins). In these instances, the blood flows backwards through the gonadal veins into the pelvis. This improper blood flow causes these veins to dilate and can even lead to new vein formation in the pelvis. In addition to the above symptoms, patients may begin to see painful varicose veins in the vulva region or upper thigh.

While we typically think of varicose veins as a cosmetic issue effecting the legs and lower extremities, these twisted, enlarged veins can occur in any superficial (close to the surface) vein, including those in the pelvis.

In order to diagnose PVCS, other causes of pelvic pain must first be ruled out.This can be completed by a gynecologist or women’s health provider. Once those alternate causes have been eliminated, the next step is often a pelvic ultrasound, followed by a pelvic MRI and/or CT scan. These non-invasive screenings can be used to identify large veins in the pelvis and enlarged gonadal veins.

Abnormal pelvic veins are an under-diagnosed cause of chronic pelvic pain. RIA Endovascular offers screening and treatment options, including Gonadal Vein Embolization (GVE). GVE is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure used to treat chronic pelvic pain associated with abnormal veins.

GVE is performed in an outpatient hospital setting without general anesthesia or scarring and is usually covered by insurance.

Have you been diagnosed with Pelvic Venous Congestion Syndrome? If so, schedule a consultation with one of our physicians to see if Gonadal Vein Embolization is a good treatment option for you. Call 720-493-3406 to schedule now.