Your painful and heavy periods could be a sign varicose veins down there, docs warns
WOMEN who suffer from painful and heavy periods could be at risk of varicose veins in their pelvic area, doctors have warned.
Many people are familiar with enlarged, swollen and dark purple veins on their legs, but experts have now warned that similar veins can also be present in the lower abdomen.
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) is created when increased blood pressure blows out the valves in the veins.
This affects blood flow, which then starts to pool in the affected vein – which leads to PCS.
One expert has warned that the symptoms of the condition aren’t always easy to spot.
Dr Sriram Narayana, vascular and endovascular surgeon at Gleneagles Hospital’s The Harley Street Heart and Vascular Centre said it’s a painful condition and that symptoms can be mistaken for a range of issues.
Speaking to CNA Lifestyle he said people often think they are experiencing gynaecological and gastrointestinal issues such as constipation or diarrhoea.
He said increased pelvic pain as well as heavy or prolonged periods are symptoms of PCS as well as pain after sex.
What is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS)
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome cases chronic pelvic pain.
It is caused by enlarged veins in your pelvic region.
Those most at risk of PCS include women who are of a child bearing age and those who have had more than one pregnancy.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of PCS can often be mistaken for other conditions and include:
- back pain
- painful periods
- varicose veins
- abnormal discharge
He highlighted that such symptoms can also be seen in patients with ovarian cysts or fibroids – as well as those suffering from endometriosis.
Dr Narayanan said it can take several years for this to be diagnosed.
He said an important clue is visible varicose veins in the upper thigh area.
“Those with varicose veins high up in the thighs, groin and vulvar region, and at the back of the thighs have a higher chance of having PCS.
“In most cases, varicose veins of the leg tend to improve in the months after delivery as may the veins in the pelvis. However, in many others, the dilated veins persist both in the legs and in the pelvis,”
He said the risk is also higher is you have given birth as pelvic veins stretch during pregnancy.
He added: “Some studies indicate that around half of women with PCS have cystic changes on their ovaries.”
He added that the pain caused by PCS is often worse at the end of the day or after long periods of being stood up.
“It may be unilateral or bilateral; it can be acute and severe, or chronic and dull.”
Dr Narayanan also added that research has found that 30 to 40 per cent of patients with the condition are asymptomatic – meaning they don’t display any symptoms of PCS.
In many cases the condition is discovered when patients have scans for other health issues.
He added that women have been conditioned to believe that painful periods are just part of being a woman and said this leads many women to not report their symptoms.
Patients with PCS will likely have pelvic pain for at least six months as it’s a chronic condition, he added.
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