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pelvic congestion syndrome (female gonal vein varices)

Condition: Pelvic congestion syndrome

In this syndrome, veins in the pelvis and ovaries are enlarged from weakened valves that do not close properly. This allows blood to flow backwards and pool in the vein, creating pressure and causing it to bulge. It is similar to varicose veins in the legs.

Patients with pelvic pain should talk to their physician to rule out other conditions. An interventional radiologist at Good Shepherd Hospital can diagnose pelvic congestion syndrome through an imaging test.


Pain in the lower abdomen and back is commonly associated with pelvic congestion. The discomfort may worsen

  • following intercourse
  • during menstrual periods
  • when tired or when standing
  • during pregnancy

Other symptoms patients might experience include overactive bladder, abnormal menstrual bleeding, vaginal discharge, and varicose veins around the groin or buttocks.

Minimally invasive procedure: embolization

An interventional radiologist at Good Shepherd Hospital may perform embolization to relieve the pain. In this procedure, a thin catheter is inserted into the femoral vein and directed to the affected vein using x-ray guidance. The enlarged vein is then sealed shut. The process may be done as an outpatient procedure and patients can resume normal activity immediately.

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