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What is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome? (PCS)


Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is a condition related to varicose veins in the pelvis and causes chronic pelvic pain.

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) is a condition that is caused by what are basically ‘pelvic varicose veins’. Due to differences in anatomy of the pelvis, it usually affects females more than males. As with varicose veins in the legs, if the valves fail in the pelvic veins, blood that should be pumped out of the pelvis and back to the heart stays inside dilated varicose veins within the pelvis. This both stops the normal blood circulation to the pelvic organs and also causes these large varicose veins to push on the pelvic organs – the bladder, bowel, vagina and also the pelvic floor.

The symptoms of PCS predominantly come from the weight of the blood pushing on these structures.

It is not known exactly what proportion of females suffer from pelvic congestion syndrome. However, in the past, many gynaecological texts have estimated that up to a third of patients in gynaecology outpatients do not have anything wrong with them with relation to the gynaecological conditions that are readily investigated. However pelvic congestion syndrome is rarely checked for by gynaecologists and a surprising number of gynaecologists report ‘large varicose veins in the pelvis’ at investigation such as laparoscopy, even though they then say that the test was normal.

Diagram of the Female Pelvis

It is becoming evident that because gynaecologists have not been brought up to diagnose this condition, a great many women who are suffering from the symptoms of PCS are not having the appropriate investigations (transvaginal duplex ultrasound scan) but are instead being put through expensive and needless tests such as MRI, CT and even laparoscopy under general anaesthetic and then being told that there is nothing wrong with them!

As leading research centres such as The Whiteley Clinic improve the understanding of venous conditions, particularly pelvic venous problems, more and more patients should get properly diagnosed and treated rather than palmed off as ‘being normal’ by doctors who do not specialise in pelvic venous conditions.

Background of the term ‘pelvic venous congestion’

As with most names in medicine, the term “pelvic venous congestion” is really just a description of the problem:

  • ‘Pelvic’ – means that it relates to a condition of the pelvis
  • ‘Congestion’ – meaning too much blood in the veins and hence the venous circulation is “congested”
  • ‘Syndrome’ – means a collection of different symptoms and signs

The Whiteley Clinic and referrals

The Whiteley Clinic is a specialist unit and is a private medical facility. We encourage you to get a referral from your general practitioner although if you do not wish to do so, we will still see you without one.

However, if you wish to use private medical insurance to pay for your consultations or tests, your insurer will probably insist on a referral from a medical practitioner. Please check if this is the case.

The Impact of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

We worked with PB Consulting and Boston Scientific to investigate the impact of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) in the UK.

As part of this report, almost 100 women were surveyed. On average the respondents had 16 GP appointments before diagnosis and some patients had as many as 13 diagnostic tests during the 4 years it took for them to be correctly diagnosed.

A Freedom of Information request was sent to all 154 NHS Hospital Trusts in the UK and shockingly only 5 trusts said that they offered a specific test for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome.

If you would like to read the full report, click the link below.

The Impact of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Report »

Past Patient’s Perspective

Lindsey – at The Whiteley Clinic

Lindsey Lockett has been symptom free since her pelvic vein embolisation at The Whiteley Clinic in London in 2019

For more information from a past patient’s perspective on Pelvic Vein Embolisation and Pelvic Congestion Syndrome please contact Lindsey Lockett.

Lindsey, who resides in America, was diagnosed with PCS in 2018 and underwent her treatment at The Whiteley Clinic in London in mid-2019. Lindsey has documented numerous blog posts on the condition as well as her treatment.


The Impact of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome Report (https://thewhiteleyclinic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/The-Impact-of-Pelvic-Congestion-Syndrome-Report.pdf)