What is pelvic congestion syndrome?
Classic pelvic congestion syndrome has been thought to affect women but not men. This is due to the difference in anatomy between the ovarian veins in women and the testicular veins in men which will be discussed below.
However there has been recent interest in an increasing number of men who are shown to have pelvic vein reflux giving a variety of symptoms including haemorrhoids, varicose veins around the perineum and buttocks and in some erectile dysfunction. This is poorly understood at the moment and is an active area of research.
As with most medical terms, pelvic congestion syndrome can be understood by taking each of the terms in turn:
Pelvic = the pelvis in this situation means the area within the pelvic bones, underneath the abdomen. In the female this means the area containing the bladder, vagina, cervix, uterus, ovaries and rectum.
Congestion = this means venous congestion or the swelling of veins due to excessive venous blood which is not flowing out of the pelvis as it should.
Syndrome = in medicine a syndrome is a collection of symptoms or signs that signify a certain problem.
Therefore pelvic congestion syndrome is simply a collection of symptoms or signs due to the swelling of veins in the pelvis which are caused by venous blood not moving out of the pelvis normally.