Pelvic Venous Congestion (PVCS)

Most people know varicose veins mostly affect the feet and legs. But varicose veins can also occur in the pelvis causing chronic pelvic pain in women; this condition is known as Pelvic Venous Congestion Syndrome (PVCs) or ovarian vein reflux. Herein is a look at the condition, the risk factors, causes, symptoms, and treatment options. Read on to find out more.

What is pelvic venous congestion syndrome (PVCs)?

Pelvic Venous congestion is the enlargement of blood vessels in the pelvis due to faulty vein valves in the lower abdomen. See, veins have valves to guide blood flow towards the heart. However, these valves become faulty in some cases due to damage or other problems causing blood to flow backward. When this happens in the lower abdomen, blood builds up in the area, causing the veins to enlarge and change shape.

Therefore, PVCs are varicose veins in your pelvis. This engorgement or congestion of blood vessels in the lower abdomen can cause chronic, unbearable pain. It affects at least 1 in three women at some point during their lifetime. Chronic PVCs last more than six months. It is not associated with period pain at all. PVCs are common among women who’ve given birth more than once.

Symptoms to Look Out For

Chronic PVCs last longer than half a year. PVCs are commonly experienced for the first time during or following pregnancy. It is characterized by a heavy aching feeling that may get worse as pregnancy progresses. In most cases, you feel the pain on the left side only. But at other times, you may feel the pain on both the left and right sides. PVCs pain is usually worse during the evenings.

Certain factors also aggravate PVCs pain; these include:

  • When you change posture
  • Sex
  • Standing for extended periods
  • Walking
  • Menstrual period

Apart from pelvis pain, other PVCs symptoms include:

  • Pain during or after intercourse
  • Sudden urge to urinate
  • Lower back pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (diarrhea and constant abdominal pain accompanied with constipation)
  • Deep dyspareunia – pain during intercourse
  • Feeling one’s legs fuller
  • Engorged and distorted veins around the vagina, vulva, inner thigh, buttocks, and sometimes down the legs

What Causes Uterine Fibroids?

While the science is not completely settled on what exactly causes or is behind the formation of uterine fibroids in human beings, there are certain factors that researchers believe play significant roles in triggering their growth or development.


In 50 percent of cases, patients will be found to have some genetic abnormality. In many instances, some erroneous translocation will be discovered on some chromosomes.


While we may not be completely certain as to what lies at the root cause of uterine fibroids, it has been clearly demonstrated that hormones play a large role in determining their growth or progression. While a woman is pregnant, they will see rapid growth due to the presence of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Should the patient use anti-hormone medication, the opposite will happen – the fibroids will shrink. Furthermore, fibroids will stop growing or begin shrinking once a patient reaches menopause, which is the point at which these hormones also cease being produced in the female body.

Testing and Diagnosis of Uterine Fibroids

In many cases, especially those whereby uterine fibroids do not present any noticeable symptoms for the patient, this condition will be discovered in a regular pelvic exam. This is a routine checkup carried out by gynecologists. While this checkup might determine the presence of a mass or lump on the uterus, further testing will have to be carried out to make a definite diagnosis.

These testing methods include:

Note: Upon learning that fibroids are a type of tumor, the foremost concern for many patients is whether the tumor is cancerous or might predispose them in some way to developing cancer. Fibroids are rarely cancerous, with the chances of such fibroids (leiomyosarcomas) arising at less than one in a thousand.  Additionally, the presence of fibroids in no way increases a patient’s chances of developing any type of cancer.

Who is at Risk of Developing Uterine Fibroids?

There are certain natural circumstances, habits, and lifestyle choices that have been shown to come with an increased chance of developing uterine fibroids, as follow:

Research indicates that women of African American ethnicity are at a significantly higher risk of developing uterine fibroids than Caucasian women for comparison.

A woman’s advancing age places her at increased risk of developing uterine fibroids. The condition will mostly be found in women in their mid-late forties or early fifties, where the majority enter or pass through their menopausal years.
Simply stated, this means that those with a history of uterine fibroids in their family will be more likely to develop the condition.
It is believed that the consumption of red meat (beef, ham, etc.) in copious amounts will increase the risks of uterine fibroid development. The consumption of green vegetables, on the other hand, is thought to reduce these odds.
Being overweight is considered to be another variable increasing women’s risk of developing this condition, with overweight patients being two to three times more likely to be affected than the average population.

Treatment Options for Uterine Fibroids

The varied nature of uterine fibroid cases and how they affect different patients in different ways means that dealing with the condition has numerous different approaches. Consultations between patients, whether presenting with symptoms or not, and their physicians should be able to see them agree on a course of action that will satisfy the patient’s best interests. Aside from medication, the typical treatment for fibroids is traditional surgical procedures. At La Jolla Vein & Vascular, we offer a minimally invasive treatment option that can be reviewed below:

Traditional Surgical Procedures

These are considered invasive surgeries that involve extensive physical intervention. They include:

  • An abdominal myomectomy is an option mostly employed in cases where very large, very deeply embedded, or multiple fibroids are encountered. An open abdominal procedure is often the second-to-last option for patients who see hysterectomies as a last resort.
  • Hysterectomy: This major surgical intervention involves the entire removal of the patient’s uterus and is the only guarantee against the recurrent development of uterine fibroids afterward. While most women will have the option of retaining their ovaries, some will have to undergo hormone replacement therapy if they are not to enter menopause.

Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedure (Uterine Fibroids Embolization by La Jolla Vein & Vascular)

At La Jolla Vein & Vascular, we specialize in Uterine Fibroids Embolization. This minimally invasive surgical procedure involves destroying fibroid masses without necessarily removing them entirely. The techniques are most commonly applied in clinical settings due to their effectiveness, proven track record, and minimal patient impact.

  • Uterine artery embolization: (Also known as Uterine fibroid embolization). Embolic agents (small particles) will be introduced into arteries to block blood flow through them, thus starving fibroids of the nutrients needed for their survival and growth.

In surgical procedures that do not entirely remove the uterus, there will be a remaining risk of new uterine fibroid development in the future.

Why Uterine Artery Embolization (UFE) Instead of a Hysterectomy

Benefits of UFE Over Hysterectomy

Uterine artery embolization (UFE ) is a minimally invasive procedure that effectively treats uterine fibroids and is considered an alternative to uterine fibroid surgery removal. Uterine artery embolization (UFE) is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, which means that most women go home the same day for recovery.

UFE has several benefits over hysterectomy. Besides involving only a small nick in the groin or wrist for catheter insertion, the uterus is preserved. There is no scar with UFE. For a UFE, conscious sedation is used, unlike a hysterectomy, where the woman receives general anesthesia. The recovery time for UFE is generally within 2 weeks, which is significantly faster than the usual 6-week recovery time after hysterectomy.

Women who have a hysterectomy that removed both the uterus and ovaries usually get estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) alone. But women who have only the ovaries removed need both estrogen and progestin because estrogen alone can increase the risk of cancer in the uterus.

The recovery time for UFE is generally within 2 weeks, which is significantly faster than the usual 6-week recovery time after hysterectomy.

The idea of having your entire uterus removed is psychologically daunting for women as some women may still want the option to carry a child, do not want to undergo a general surgery, and/or feel like removing the uterus takes away part of their identity as a female.

Treatments for Uterine Fibroids

Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

With modern medication and care, conditions like fibroid tumors have become more treatable and easier to manage. Uterine fibroid embolization, for instance, is a fairly straightforward procedure used in…


I have been having leg treatments for several months now La Jolla Vein Care. Every time I go to an appointment; the staff is so friendly and takes such good care of me; always informative; not in a rush and always friendly (especially Alejandra & Anna to name a few). Of course Dr. Lucas is amazing. The treatments have changed my life. Overall this has been an incredible experience. 

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When I arrived for the first time, I could barely walk. My legs were red and swollen. After my treatments, I can now walk again. I’m so thankful to the doctor and his staff. They are caring, supporting and knowledgeable about my issues. Five Stars all the way!!!! 

Pamela M.

Dr De Young is personable and thorough in his explanations. Exceptional. 

James R.

The staff members that I interacted with were all professional, conscientious and empathetic to my complaints and discomfort. I was taken into the ultrasound room a few minutes before my appointment time. I did not have a long wait before the ultrasonographer came and ran the machine. It was also a short wait before Dr. Steinburg came into the room with a warm, welcoming smile. We discussed my ultrasound and the things I was experiencing . I scheduled another appointment for next year and was offered a bottle of water upon leaving the office. All in all, I thought it was a very satisfactory appointment.

Renee P.

The staff kept you informed as to when you would be seen and the wait was not too long. Emily took care of my ultrasound and was very accommodating giving me an extra pillow and playing a video to watch. The office is very courteous and professional- Nadia answered our questions and offered us a bottle of water. I have been seeing Dr. Bunke, but now Dr. Lucas and will continue coming to La Jolla Vein Care! 

Rebecca D.

We were early and didn’t have to wait at all. The tech that did my husband’s ultrasound, Monica, was very accommodating with my husband’s Parkinson’s. Doctor Lucas whom we hadn’t seen before, came to us instead of making my husband walk down to another office. She spent a lot of time getting caught up on Steve’s background issues/conditions. I was impressed by this medical group before, so I was surprised that the staff was even better this time around; I honestly didn’t think there was room for improvement! 

Linda N.

From my greeting at the front desk to the ultrasound and visit with the doctor, I received excellent care. It’s clear they care about their patients and all the staff couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. I also appreciate how much time the doctor spent with me to explain the results and the next steps. I would definitely recommend this office to friends with vein issues. 

Anne S.

Beautiful facility! I walked in without an appointment and they took me right away! It was even the end of the day…I was so grateful…Every single person was soooo pleasant! Super impressed ❤️ 

Susan M.

I am pleased to recommend La Jolla Vein & Vascular. I am in the process of receiving treatment there. The entire medical staff are super friendly, welcoming and very helpful. Everyone is courteous, including the physicians. I’ve had one doctor follow my case. He’s the one who always treats me at appointments and closely follows my health. I am very comfortable going there. Would go again if needed and encourage anyone who’s thinking of making an appointment to do so asap. You’ll see what a wonderful experience it is. It’s the people who make it so special!

Monica M.

Everyone here is so nice! Usually front desk medical personnel are so rude. The front desk ladies Alejandra, Anna, and I think her name is Liz, went above and beyond to take care of me and my insurance issues. The techs are great too! Rachel and a male technician assisted me…both of them implemented different techniques to make me feel more at ease during an uncomfortable and painful process. These procedures were rough…and I am grateful everyone was so sweet to me. Thanks again. 

Melissa B.

La Jolla Vein care has the best staff ever. They are so nice, accommodating and professional!! Dr. Bunke is the best doctor that I ever seen. She is so friendly upfront and has the best bed side manner. I thank this office for letting me be their patient. 💜. Plus they are so careful with COVID which I really appreciate!!! 

Darlene H.

The staff at La Jolla Vein Care Center are outstanding. They are friendly and helpful. Dr. Lucas and my ultrasound tech were both very thorough, kind and answered all of my questions. The new office was beautiful. I feel very confident that I am in good hands and that any up coming treatments will be successful. Thank for for making me feel so comfortable.

Ginger T.

The office is exceptional, from front desk, to exam staff to the physicians. They have created a welcoming, relaxing environment, and take their time in examining and consulting with you to provide the best outcome. I highly recommend La Jolla Vein & Vascular for the assessment and treatment of your vein and vascular function.

Nancy F.

I had the best experience at La Jolla Vein Care. Dr.Bunke is an amazing doctor with the best bedside manners, she truly cares about her patients, she explained everything to me. My procedures where so easy I was impressed how painless and fast my appointments. Anna M was very helpful scheduling my treatments and checking on me to make sure all of my questions were answered. I am very pleased thank you !!! I truly recommend La Jolla Vein Care!

Henda S.

Highly recommend! Entire staff are warm& friendly, professional and accommodating. The doctor took the time to thoroughly explain everything and encouraged me to ask questions. I never felt rushed. Significantly better experience than the other 2 vein clinics I’ve been to on the east coast. I wish I could’ve just come here from the beginning.