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Gonadal Vein Embolization

What is Gonadal Vein Embolization?

Gonadal vein embolization is a minimally invasive, outpatient treatment for pelvic congestion syndrome. The goal is to close off faulty veins so they can no longer enlarge with blood, thus relieving pain and symptoms of pelvic congestion syndrome.

A sedative will be administered to you during the procedure. The procedure is performed under fluoroscopic guidance. Small catheters are advanced through veins inside your body to the faulty veins. Once these veins are identified, Dr. Buckner treats the veins to stop blood flow to this area which are the source of the problem.

Why would you need gonadal vein embolization?

Pelvic congestion syndrome is similar to varicose veins in the legs. In pelvic congestion syndrome, valves inside your veins in the pelvis become weakened, allowing blood to pool in the vein and cause pressure and pain. The causes of chronic pelvic pain are varied but are often associated with the presence of gonadal and pelvic varicose veins.

In both cases, the valves inside your veins that help return blood to the heart against gravity become weakened and don’t close properly. This allows blood to flow backwards and pool in the vein, causing pressure and bulging veins. In the pelvis, varicose veins can cause pain and affect the uterus, ovaries and vulva.
The chronic pain that is associated with this disease is usually dull and aching. Women experience a feeling of fullness or pain in the pelvis.

Symptoms may include:

  • Deep pelvic pain when sitting or standing
  • Pain that worsens throughout the day
  • History of bulging veins on the vulva, buttocks and/or the thighs
  • Painful menstrual cycles
  • Pain during or after intercourse
  • Lower abdominal and back pain
  • Fullness of the leg veins

The varicose veins in the pelvis surround the ovaries and can also push on the bladder and rectum.

Other symptoms include:

  • Irritable bladder
  • Itching
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Varicose veins on the labia, buttocks and thigh are a definite sign of pelvic venous congestion

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