New Hope for Pelvic Pain

Woman ‘Gets Her Life Back’ Thanks to Accurate Diagnosis, Vascular Procedure

Greenbelt, MD – Lanham, Maryland resident Charmaine Martinez had suffered with pain in her pelvis for more than two years and saw multiple physicians before getting two correct diagnoses: Pelvic Congestion Syndrome and May Thurner Syndrome. Fortunately, she found two experienced vascular specialists, Dr. Sanjiv Lakhanpal and Dr. Vinay Satwah, at the Center for Pelvic Pain of Vascular Origin, a division of the Center for Vascular Medicine (CVM), who could diagnose and treat the cause of her pain. Center for Vascular Medicine has been recognized as a NATIONAL LEADER in the treatment of deep venous conditions; including disorders in the pelvic region. Dr. Vinay Satwah was recognized as an International Expert in the field and was invited to speak at a vascular conference on this topic in 2014.

The 42-year-old Martinez, who has five children and two grandchildren, has lots of company. Up to 15% of women aged 20 to 50 have insufficient flow in the veins of their pelvis, and for as many as 60% of those women, that results in pain that can be debilitating. Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, which is similar to having varicose leg veins, but in the pelvic area, can be difficult to diagnose, as the problem often doesn’t show up during a pelvic exam because lying down relieves the congestion.

Martinez initially was treated for numerous varicose veins in her legs. A few years later, however, she began experiencing pain in her pelvic area. The pain got so intense that she had to quit her job as a phlebotomist and she had to move from the third floor to the first floor because she could not climb stairs.

After performing a thorough history and physical plus a highly specialized pelvic ultrasound, the doctors at CVM discovered an enlarged, compressed pelvic vein on her left side. They subsequently performed a venogram to pinpoint the location of the problem, in the left ovarian vein. Minimally invasive treatment (involving an injection of medicine) that closed off the problematic vein relieved the pain for months.

Doctors found that a second vein, the common iliac vein, was also severely compressed and would need surgical treatment. “It was excruciating,” Martinez recalls. “I was crying every day.”

Then, her insurance refused to pay for the venous procedure she needed to fix the second vein. In this procedure, doctors insert a tiny balloon into the affected vein to open it up, then insert a metallic stent to keep it open. Martinez recalls, “While treating my leg veins, Dr. Lakhanpal asked how I was. I broke down and sobbed. I told him I couldn’t get out of bed and had to walk hunched over. He was so caring and considerate. He said he would take care of me. He reduced his fee and scheduled me for a stent procedure in September of 2014.”

After a brief recovery period, Martinez describes how having these two procedures has changed her life. “It was like my whole entire life was back again. I couldn’t believe that I could clean in hard to reach places, bend over, and do all of the activities I normally did again. I’m so happy. It was a miracle.”

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