Women have unique cardiac and vascular needs. Vascular health extends beyond that of the heart and can strongly affect a woman’s abdominal comfort and health, such as with uterine fibroids and pelvic congestion.

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) also known as ovarian vein reflux, is a chronic condition that causes pain in a patient’s lower abdomen/pelvis. When the valves of the ovarian veins in the pelvic area begin to function improperly, blood can start to pool in the pelvis. Over time, the veins can begin to enlarge and become varicose veins. Varicose veins have nonfunctional valves, and can cause blood to flow backwards and pool. This can lead to the development of pelvic congestion syndrome.

PCS most often affects women between the ages of 20 to 50 who have previously experienced pregnancy. The condition is relatively common, and approximately 15 percent of women in the United States will experience PCS in their lifetime.

Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that form in or around the uterus, and are typically confirmed with an ultrasound. These growths are quite common, and between 20 and 70 percent of all women will develop them at some point during their reproductive years. While these growths are almost always non-cancerous, they can result in several negative health complications. In fact, there are four different types of uterine fibroids:

Intramural fibroids develop in between the muscular layers of the uterine wall. They can be classified as anterior (front), posterior (back), or fundal (upper), depending on which part of the uterus they are located.

Submucosal fibroids are the least common type of uterine fibroid, and grow in the middle muscular layer of the uterus called the myometrium and encroach on the inner layer of the uterus, the endometrium. Submucosal fibroids have been known to cause menstrual bleeding complications.

The most common type of fibroid, subserosal fibroids develop in the myometrium encroaching on the outside uterine membrane. These can continue to grow outward from the uterus, pushing out into the pelvis.

When submucosal or subserosal fibroids develop on stem or stalk, they are called pedunculated fibroids. These fibroids connect to the tip of these stalk, and can grow both outside and inside the cavity of the uterus.