Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. Women experiencing symptoms from their uterine fibroids experience excessive pain and may also have heavy menstrual bleeding that lasts longer than average. Fibroids can range in size from small (the size of an apple seed) to quite large (the size of a grapefruit). In rare cases, fibroids can grow so large they can cause complications with the bladder and rectum.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS)—also known as Pelvic Venous Insufficiency—can be an unrecognized cause of chronic pelvic pain, not related only to menstrual cycle, and present for greater than six months. In 75% of women, no definite cause for their pelvic pain is found. 
  • What causes PCS?

    PCS, like varicose veins, is caused by valves in blood vessels that don’t work properly. This causes dilatation of the ovarian veins and other veins draining the pelvis. 

    Some women (6-15%) naturally have no valves or have incompetent valves. During pregnancy, ovarian blood flow increases up to 60 times, resulting in valve damage. Incompetence allows backwards flow of blood causing varicose veins in the pelvis. The varices put pressure on the structures of the pelvis leading to the symptoms.

  • Who gets PCS?

    • Usually women between ages 20 and 40
    • More common in women with multiple pregnancies.
    • 90% of women with unexplained chronic pelvic pain have dilated pelvic veins and venous congestion.
  • What are the symptoms?

    • Chronic (longstanding) abdominal or pelvic pain, sometimes back pain.
    • Usually worse after prolonged standing, after sexual intercourse, during menstruation, fatigue, and after exercising. Symptoms are often improved by lying down.
    • May be associated with varicose veins in the thigh, legs, buttocks or vaginal area.
    • Other symptoms include bladder irritation or urgency, pelvic or abdominal fullness or pressure.
  • Uterine Fibroid Embolization

    Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE “YOU-fee”) is a highly effective way of treating uterine fibroids

    With angiographic methods similar to those used in heart catheterization, Interventional Radiology physicians places a catheter in each of the two uterine arteries and injects tiny microspheres to block the arterial branches that supply blood to the fibroids.

    Deprived of blood, the fibroid tissue dies, the masses shrink, and in almost all cases symptoms are improved or resolved completely. UFE, performed under IV sedation at our center, is much less invasive than open surgery to remove uterine fibroids. In fact, patients may go home a few short hours after their UFE procedure, so that they can rest and relax in familiar surroundings.

  • Venous Embolization for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

    Venous Embolization for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is a non-surgical, minimally-invasive technique—preferably done after menses and before ovulation—where a small incision is made in the skin on the neck or in the groin. A catheter is advanced directed into the abnormal vein or veins where X-ray contrast (X-Ray dye) is used to show the anatomy of the abnormal vein. The vein is then blocked using metal coils, plugs, or a special glue, all of which are delivered through this tiny catheter.

    Venous Embolizations:

    • Are performed in our office setting: no overnight hospital stay is necessary.
    • Use IV sedation for comfort. No general anesthesia required.
    • oHave a short recovery time with most patients back to normal within one (1) week. (Pain is variable 24-48 hours after the procedure, subsiding over 2-3 days.)