Pelvic vein congestion occurs when varicose veins in the pelvic region become engorged and begin to interfere with nearby nerves, often resulting in discomfort, pain or pressure. These symptoms usually become worse while standing, walking or after sexual intercourse. Pelvic vein congestion occurs mainly in women between 20 and 45, especially those who have been pregnant at least once, but many cases have also been reported in male patients (See Reference 3). The exact causes of these varicose veins are not yet fully understood, but several theories currently under investigation include physiological, hormonal and anatomical factors.
Varicose veins are veins in which the normal, one-directional flow of blood has been disrupted by malfunctions in the valves that usually prevent blood from flowing backwards, allowing excess blood to pool inside the veins, swelling and stretching their walls (see References 1 & 2). Varicose veins that develop in the pelvic region around the legs, groin or lower abdomen can interfere with the normal function of major nerves nearby, causing numerous uncomfortable or painful symptoms. This is known as pelvic vein congestion.
One explanation for the development of the varicose veins that cause pelvic vein congestion in women is based on physiological changes experienced during and after pregnancy. The dramatic fluctuations in weight and excess fluid retention experienced by many women, for example, may play a role in damaging or disrupting venous functions in the pelvis (See Reference 1).
Changes occurring during or after pregnancy on a more structural level may also be at least partially responsible for the onset of varicosities in the pelvis. Pregnancy can be a physically and mentally exhausting process, and often has noticeable effects on systemic functions throughout the body. During and after pregnancy, many women experience mild to severe disruptions of sexual, urinary, digestive or neurological function to some degree, and similar effects could weaken or damage pelvic veins and nearby nerves, making them more vulnerable to developing pelvic vein congestion (see References 1 & 2).
According to VeinDirectory.org, excess levels of estrogen in the body, like those experienced during pregnancy, have been shown to thin and weaken vein walls (see Reference 1). Fragile vein walls are more susceptible to the stretching and swelling that can lead to pelvic vein congestion, putting women who are pregnant or have been pregnant at higher risk for developing the condition, especially after multiple pregnancies (see References 1 & 2).
Pelvic Vein Congestion in Men
Although pelvic vein congestion occurs predominantly in female patients, many male cases have also been documented. In male patients, varicosities present in the form of varicoceles -- dilations and sometimes torsions in the testicular veins that drain blood from the scrotum. The causes and symptoms of varicoceles are very similar to those of other varicose veins occurring in women or elsewhere in the body, developing when pressure on the scrotal veins or defective valves disrupt normal blood flow, sometimes causing discomfort, pain or even infertility.
Unlike pelvic vein congestion in women, engorged male varicoceles are often externally visible or noticeable to the touch and can cause distinct feelings of heaviness in the scrotum or testicles, making them easier to identify in some cases. Just like in female patients, however, the exact causes of the valve malfunctions themselves remain unknown, making it difficult to prevent or fully understand the condition.