When the veins in the pelvis don’t work properly, patients can develop symptoms that include painful menses (periods), pelvic pressure and heaviness, bladder pressure with long periods of standing, and pelvic pain after intercourse. All of these symptoms are caused by “varicose veins” in the pelvic area. Women with pelvic vein disease may also have pubic or labial varicose veins; men may have varicoceles.
Diagnosing Pelvic Vein Disease
These veins can be seen with ultrasound, but to understand the extent of the disease, a venogram and intravascular ultrasound is used. This procedure requires one needle stick in the upper thigh and takes 30-40 minutes. Patients can return to normal activity the next day.
Treating Pelvic Vein Disease
Depending on which veins are the cause of the symptoms, treatment options include:
- Using a balloon to stretch narrowed veins
- Inserting stents to hold open collapsed veins
- Using coils or plugs to seal leaking veins
As with almost all vein procedures, these options take an hour or less and patients leave the hospital just a few hours after treatment.