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
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 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
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.