Pelvic congestion is a medical condition that causes chronic pain in the pelvis (the lower part of the abdomen). It occurs due to problems with veins in the pelvic area that stop working properly and become enlarged, like varicose veins in the legs. This leads to pain and a dragging, heavy sensation in the lower abdomen. Pelvic congestion is most common in women of childbearing age, especially those who have given birth to more than one child. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for pelvic congestion pain.
Home Remedies for Pelvic Congestion Pain
It’s always best to seek a medical opinion for pelvic congestion pain. However, if your symptoms are mild, some of the following lifestyle changes may help relieve your pelvic pain.
Exercise: Regular exercise can help improve blood flow and minimize the pooling of blood in the pelvic area. Walking and swimming are good options. Cycling is not advisable as it can put pressure on the pelvic area.
Diet: Pelvic congestion pain can be made worse by constipation. To prevent it, a high-fiber diet is recommended with plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fluids. Limiting caffeine intake and carbonated sodas can also help.
Supplements: Some supplements like bioflavonoids and oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) are believed to have protective effects on blood vessels. Natural sources of these plant compounds include fruits, grape seeds, and berries.
Conservative Treatment for Pelvic Congestion Pain
If your pelvic congestion pain does not get better with diet and exercise, your doctor can prescribe some medications based on your most bothersome symptoms. Some of the pharmaceutical treatment options for pelvic congestion include:3
NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely available medicines that are used to relieve pain. They may help with pelvic congestion pain. However, this is a symptomatic treatment and does not treat the cause of the pain.
Hormones: Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), danazol, and goserelin are hormonal treatments that can reduce pelvic congestion pain. However, again, they do not treat the underlying cause of the pain and you need to take the medications indefinitely for pain relief.4,5,6
Definitive Treatment for Pelvic Congestion Pain
Ovarian vein embolization: This is the gold standard for the treatment of pelvic congestion syndrome. It is an outpatient, non-surgical procedure that is performed under moderate sedation. It involves inserting a catheter (thin tube) through a vein in the neck or groin under ultrasound guidance. The catheter is guided to the abnormal veins in the pelvis and they are sealed off. There are no stitches and no hospital stay. Patients typically go home the same day with a Band-Aid. Up to 85% of patients who undergo ovarian vein embolization report a significant reduction in pelvic pain.3
Hysterectomy: Surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries is sometimes offered as a treatment for pelvic congestion pain. However, it is not the ideal treatment as some enlarged veins may be left behind on the pelvic walls. Roughly one-third of patients report residual pain after hysterectomy.3 Moreover, ovarian vein embolization becomes difficult or impossible following a hysterectomy.
Laparoscopic or open surgery: Laparoscopic (minimally-invasive) or open surgery can be performed to tie-up the abnormal veins. However, this is a more invasive procedure compared to ovarian vein embolization. Also, repeat surgery may sometimes be necessary if some abnormal veins are left behind.
Pelvic congestion pain is a debilitating condition that can affect your quality of life. If you suffer from pelvic pain due to congestion, talk to your OB/GYN about your treatment options, including ovarian vein embolization.
Why California Vascular & Interventional?
At CVI, we provide devoted and specialized care for embolization. All clinical decisions are centered on the patient because CVI is owned and controlled by our physician, who is an embolization expert. The doctor has the freedom to spend as much time as needed for patient consultations and medical procedures. Clinical decisions are made based on what is best for you and your treatment, and not influenced by the interests of a profit-driven hedge fund company. The staff are highly trained and dedicated to the patient experience. This allows us to provide the best care and experience for our patients.
Women continue to be thrilled with the totality of their care experience facilitated by our patient-centered approach. Read more about our practice here.
Patient Centered. Dedicated. Comprehensive.
Contact us today to find out if you are candidate for embolization. You can obtain a consultation virtually via a video telehealth platform or meet our doctor in person at one of our office locations in Los Angeles or Southern California.
- Almeida Rezende B, Pereira AC, Cortes SF, Lemos VS. Vascular effects of flavonoids. Curr Med Chem. 2016;23(1):87-102. doi: 10.2174/0929867323666151111143616. PMID: 26555950. Available online. Accessed on October 11, 2020. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26555950/
- Odai T, Terauchi M, Kato K, Hirose A, Miyasaka N. Effects of Grape Seed Proanthocyanidin Extract on Vascular Endothelial Function in Participants with Prehypertension: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2019;11(12):2844. Published 2019 Nov 20. doi:10.3390/nu11122844. Available online. Accessed on October 11, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6950399/
- Ignacio EA, Dua R, Sarin S, et al. Pelvic congestion syndrome: diagnosis and treatment. Semin Intervent Radiol. 2008;25(4):361-368. doi:10.1055/s-0028-1102998. Available online. Accessed on October 11, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3036528/
- Reginald PW, Adams J, Franks S, Wadsworth J, Beard RW. Medroxyprogesterone acetate in the treatment of pelvic pain due to venous congestion. Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1989 Oct;96(10):1148-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1989.tb03189.x. PMID: 2531610. Available online. Accessed on October 11, 2020. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2531610/
- Selak V, Farquhar C, Prentice A, Singla A. Danazol for pelvic pain associated with endometriosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Oct 17;(4):CD000068. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000068.pub2. PMID: 17943735. Available online. Accessed on October 11, 2020. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17943735/
- Mehmet Emin Soysal, Seyide Soysal, Kubilay Vıcdan, Suzan Ozer, A randomized controlled trial of goserelin and medroxyprogesterone acetate in the treatment of pelvic congestion, Human Reproduction, Volume 16, Issue 5, May 2001, Pages 931–939. Available online. Accessed on October 11, 2020. https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/16/5/931/2913483