Pelvic Venous Congestion Syndrome | Chronic Pain | MedStar Health

A type of varicose veins that can cause chronic pelvic pain in women

Pelvic venous congestion syndrome occurs when the pelvic veins that supply blood to a woman’s uterus or ovaries become dilated, or widened. This allows blood to flow backward, pool in the veins and cause chronic pelvic pain. The condition is a type of  varicose veins in the pelvis.

Symptoms are often worse when sitting or standing because the veins are under more pressure. You may experience:

  • Chronic pelvic pain lasting more than six months

  • Dull ache in the pelvis

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Stress incontinence

What are the causes and risk factors for pelvic venous congestion syndrome?

Pelvic venous congestion syndrome primarily affects young women who have had more than two children. It can be caused by:

  • Abnormal development of the vein valves

  • Obstruction in the veins, plaque buildup or clots

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

  • Pregnancy

  • Veins not returning to normal size after pregnancy


Diagnosing pelvic venous congestion syndrome can be difficult because when you lie down for an examination, the pressure on the veins is typically relieved. Our specialists may recommend one or more diagnostic and imaging procedures.

Computerized tomography (CT) scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.


A fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses a continuous X-ray beam passed through the body to create real-time, moving images of your internal structures.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.


Our vascular teams work together and with other specialties to develop and implement individualized plans to treat women with pelvic venous congestion syndrome.

Venous disease treatments

Venous disease treatment may include medications, minimally invasive, and surgical procedures to improve blood flow and circulation.

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