Chronic pelvic pain occurs below the belly button in the pelvis. A number of conditions can cause chronic pelvic pain, including enlarged varicose veins in the ovaries and pelvis. Veins have one-way valves that help keep blood flowing toward your heart. If the valves are weak or damaged, blood can pool in the veins, causing them to swell. When this happens near the pelvis, it is called pelvic congestion syndrome.
Pelvic congestion syndrome usually affects women who have previously been pregnant, because the ovarian and pelvic veins had widened to accommodate the increased blood flow from the uterus during pregnancy. After the pregnancy, some of these veins remain enlarged and fail to return to their previous size, causing them to weaken and allowing blood to pool.
Interventional radiologists deliver minimally invasive treatments with less risk, less pain and less recovery time than traditional surgery to treatment pelvic congestion syndrome. Chronic pelvic pain due to ovarian vein and pelvic varices (varicose veins) is treated using nonsurgical, minimally invasive, trans-catheter techniques.
- Ovarian vein/variceal embolization. Embolization of varicose veins of the ovaries and pelvis is a minimally invasive, same-day treatment, in which an interventional radiologist gains access through a large vein in the groin, called the femoral vein, by using a small catheter. The catheter is moved through the vein to the enlarged pelvic veins, allowing the introduction of embolic agents, which are medications that cause the vein to seal off and relieve the painful pressure.