Women who experience chronic pelvic pain are often frustrated by the lack of answers they receive. At Center for Vascular Medicine, we routinely see women who have undergone countless diagnostic tests only to be told that their results are “normal”. Unfortunately, vascular conditions are often overlooked as a source of pelvic pain in women due in part to a lack of awareness in the medical community.
For several years, Center for Vascular Medicine has been working to improve awareness amongst physicians, as well as, patients suffering with pelvic pain. The diagnostic tests we offer are quick, minimally invasive and relatively painless. For a majority of patients, they can be performed in a comfortable, outpatient setting at one of our five locations throughout Maryland and Virginia.
How Is Pelvic Pain Diagnosed?
One of the reasons that so many women suffer for years with pelvic pain (up to 1/3 of all women) is because it may be difficult to pinpoint the root of the problem. There are numerous non-vascular conditions that can cause pelvic pain including gastrointestinal, urinary, reproductive and musculoskeletal. After these common causes are ruled out, one should consider further vascular evaluation.
Choosing the right specialist is VERY important. The Center for Vascular Medicine is one of the nation’s leading centers for the diagnosis and treatment of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) and May-Thurner Syndrome.
Typically, patients will be referred to our center by their OB/GYN or primary care physician. Our doctors will conduct a thorough physical and review your medical history. Pelvic pain can be further evaluated in the outpatient setting using various ultrasound and x-ray techniques including:
- Pelvic ultrasound
- Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS)
What Happens Next?
The diagnostic testing may reveal one or more conditions that can be further treated in the outpatient setting at one of our treatment centers.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) is most commonly characterized by chronic pain in the pelvic region. Diagnostic testing generally reveals venous reflux and poor blood flow in the pelvic veins. Generally, embolization therapy is recommended to close the damaged vein and improve blood flow.
A compression of the iliac vein generally leads to a diagnosis of May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS). Patients with MTS may or may not have pelvic pain, but generally will have varicose veins and/or swelling in one leg (typically the left leg). After confirming diagnosis with Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS), venoplasty and stenting are the gold standard treatment(s) for this condition.