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Pelvic Congestion Syndrome can have a debilitating effect on young mothers returning to work causing a large amount of pain and suffering which may result in women having to take more time off work. But what is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome and how can you minimize the condition’s impact?
The condition is often a result of overworked valves in the ovarian vein, caused by increased blood flow during and after pregnancy. These malfunctioning valves allow blood to flow backwards through the veins which can cause blood to pool in the veins, developing into Pelvic Congestion Syndrome.
It is most common in young women who have already had two or more children but 50% of women who develop Pelvic Congestion Syndrome also suffer from polycystic ovaries.
Many women report the onset of severe pain around the pelvis and lower abdomen as the most serious symptom associated with Pelvic Congestion Syndrome. This is usually concentrated on one side of the body but it can also occur on both sides simultaneously. Unfortunately, it is common for women to suffer from this pain for up to six months after giving birth and when they have returned to work. Congestion Syndrome can also lead to a worsening of other conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome which can cause discomfort and issues when women return to work.
The most apparent symptom is usually the development of varicose veins around the pelvic area, including the vulva, vagina, inner thigh, buttocks and down the leg. Sufferers may have had a history of varicose veins during the term of their pregnancy.
Although symptoms are often worse during pregnancy, pain and varicose veins can become more severe during menstruation or after sexual intercourse. Symptoms are often more acute when standing or lifting and lying down can usually help to relieve some of the pain. The symptoms of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome vary greatly between individuals and in some cases only appear after the pregnancy.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is most commonly detected using ultrasound and complaints regarding varicose veins in the legs are often a result of issues originating in the pelvic area, explains an expert at vein surgery specialists Radiance Vein Clinic. Working mothers can often see these symptoms emerge after pregnancy and when they are planning on returning to work.
Pelvic venography can also be used to assess and decide on an appropriate treatment method and involves a dye being injected into a vein which can be viewed through x-ray.
There are medical drug treatments available that successfully reduce the size of veins and the degree of pain caused by the condition. Invasive procedures that require general anesthetic prevent the blood flowing in the opposite direction by tying the veins. This treatment requires a hospital stay so is not ideal for new mothers or women who have recently returned to work.
The most common treatment is pelvic vein embolization which involves an injection to seal the veins which are causing the issues. The veins are blocked by liquid glue or clotting agents which prevent the reverse flow of blood through the vein. The biggest advantage of this treatment is that the procedure lasts less than 90 minutes and does not usually require an overnight hospital stay, so is the most popular option for mothers who have just returned to work and are reluctant about taking additional time off.
This treatment is the most effective method to block veins, thus relieving pain and improving the appearance of varicose veins, no doubt boosting confidence of women who have just re-started work. In fact, almost nine out of ten women see an improvement within two weeks of treatment.
Of course, there are also some factors that women should consider. There can be a slight risk of infection or an allergic reaction to the dye which is used during the diagnosis.
Unfortunately, there is a slight chance of some of these symptoms reappearing but in the vast majority of cases just one treatment is necessary. All women will understandably be concerned about any effects of radiation exposure on their ovaries during the x-ray, however, there is no evidence to suggest that this has any impact on fertility or periods.
Some working mothers will no doubt be keen to head back into the workplace after an extended period of time. Many will have heard about the effects of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome and be concerned that some of these symptoms may develop after pregnancy, causing stress, pain and potentially hindering career progression once they are back working. The facts around the simple pelvic vein embolization procedure should reassure women that if Pelvic Congestion Syndrome does develop then it need not impact their careers.