Pelvic congestion syndrome, or PCS, is a disorder caused by “leaky” valves in the ovarian and internal iliac veins in the pelvis, similar to varicose veins in the legs. In a normally functioning vein, valves act as one-way doors to direct blood flow back to the heart. However, in patients with PCS, the valves fail to close completely, allowing blood to flow backward. Over time, this causes the veins to stretch and thin as well as to bulge outward, creating feelings of pressure and pain. These pelvic varicose veins can affect the uterus, ovaries, and vulva. 

Symptoms are most often described as “dull” and “aching” type of pain in the lower back or pelvis which is typically the worst in the evening or after standing for long periods of time. Additional symptoms include painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia), painful periods, bladder irritability, abnormal menstrual bleeding, vaginal discharge, and visible varicose veins on the vulva, buttocks, or thigh.

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