Facts About Pelvic Venous Congestion
What is pelvic venous congestion syndrome (PVCs)? Pelvic Venous congestion is the enlargement of blood vessels in the pelvis due to faulty vein valves in the lower abdomen. See, veins have valves to guide blood flow towards the heart. However, these valves become faulty in some cases due to damage or other problems causing blood to flow backward. When this happens in the lower abdomen, blood builds up in the area, causing the veins to enlarge and change shape.
Therefore, PVCs are varicose veins in your pelvis. This engorgement or congestion of blood vessels in the lower abdomen can cause chronic, unbearable pain. It affects at least 1 in three women at some point during their lifetime. Chronic PVCs last more than six months. It is not associated with period pain at all. PVCs are common among women who’ve given birth more than once.
Chronic PVCs last longer than half a year. PVCs are commonly experienced for the first time during or following pregnancy. It is characterized by a heavy aching feeling that may get worse as pregnancy progresses. In most cases, you feel the pain on the left side only. But at other times, you may feel the pain on both the left and right sides. PVCs pain is usually worse during the evenings.
Certain factors also aggravate PVCs pain; these include:
Causes of Pelvic Venous Congestion Syndrome
- Enlarged veins are indeed the major cause of pelvic congestion and pain. However, some women have enlarged veins without the symptoms. Therefore, scientists are still trying to understand the causes of the syndrome. In most cases, factors such as pregnancies and polycystic ovaries enlarge blood vessels and cause symptoms.
- Still, in other cases, hormones may play a role in developing pelvic venous congestion syndrome (PVCs). For example, estrogen is well-known to cause dilation of veins. This may be why the condition affects women between ages 20 and 45 mostly; because, after menopause, estrogen levels decrease.
- Weight, too, and pelvic structural changes during pregnancy may contribute to the development of the syndrome. For example, weight exerts excess pressure within the lower abdomen veins, weakening their walls and enlarging.
Who is at risk of pelvic venous congestion? Women are predisposed to PVCs because of the estrogen hormone. Stats show that women between ages 20 and 45 are most likely to be affected. Factors that commonly cause the condition include:
- More than one pregnancy
- Retroverted or tipped uterus
- Polycystic ovaries
- Fuller leg veins
- Increase in estrogen levels