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Pelvic Congestion, what it is and how to minimise it

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Naturopath Jennifer McLennan explores common causes of and natural support for pelvic congestion

Pelvic congestion is a syndrome experienced by women that causes lower abdominal pain. It involves the presence of varicosities, which are dilated veins in the pelvic area that causes a dragging and heavy sensation.

Pelvic congestion can often be the result of cysts, endometriosis or stress. However, women who experience pelvic congestion can also have hormonal, inflammatory or mechanical conditions. For example, hormonal changes in the menstrual cycle, especially with fluid retention can trigger and heighten the symptoms.

Changes to the pelvic area can also predispose women to pelvic congestion, these conditions include:

  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Fibroids
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

As mentioned above, women often experience a sensation of heaviness and pain in the lower abdominal region. Other symptoms include:

  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Period pain

Symptoms may be worse at the end of the day when blood pools in the veins from being upright, or around and during menstruation. Other symptoms can include a vaginal discharge, and this should be investigated by a healthcare practitioner to rule out any other conditions.

Pelvic congestion can often be misdiagnosed and difficult to treat, however minimising the congestion in the veins can be achieved through a number of lifestyle, supplemental and dietary measures.


Exercise can help to minimise congestion and pooling of fluid in the pelvic area, as it maintains blood flow. A brisk morning walk or run would be preferable as there is often less pain and congestion in the morning. Alternatively, swimming or cycling may be good alternatives.


As constipation aggravates the symptoms of pelvic congestion, dietary recommendations emphasise a high fibre diet. A high fibre diet includes wholegrain rice, cereals, beans and legumes, as well as plenty of fluids. Minimising caffeine and soft drinks and increasing water and herbal teas is also beneficial.


Herbs that may help with uterine tone include raspberry leaf in the form of tea or tablets. Grape seed helps with congestion and the tone of veins.

Bioflavonoids are plant compounds that may help strengthen blood vessels and minimise blood vessel leakage and weakness that can add to a sense of heaviness. Bioflavanoids include rutin and hesperidin, both found in fruits.

Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) are another type of phytonutrient with antioxidant properties that help protect capillaries, by helping to reduce the breakdown of collagen and maintain strength and tone in veins. OPC’s are found in berries and fruits, such as blueberries and grapes.

References available upon request.

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Thanks for sharing this information. I would like to share some of the remedies that helped me in early symptoms of pelvic congestion:

- Weight loss
- Small-frequent meals
- Reducing sitting hours
- Taking frequent breaks to take a short walk (2-3 times a day)

And what helped me the most was putting a few drops of any massage oil (I used an Ayurvedic oil) into my naval at bedtime and sleeping on my back. This helped in somehow relieving the veins in my pelvic area and slowly relieving the symptoms. When symptoms were severe, I repeated this 2-3 times a day.

Hope this will be helpful to others!!

A Friend!!
I'm a part-time Healthcare Assistant in the NHS and a student naturopathic advisor in Weymouth, UK. After several years of being fobbed off by overworked Health Service drs, & being unable to hold down a full time job and no longer being able to enjoy my formerly active sporty lifestyle, my husband paid for me to go private, I found a excellent vascular surgeon and after a trans-vaginal scan I've been diagnosed with Pelvic Congestion. I have found this website and in particular this article extremely useful, I'm so glad I found this. Thank you so much.
I'm pursuing a pelvic embolisation procedure and I am going to take in the advice above. This is such a positive step. Peace & love x