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Young woman finds relief from yearlong chronic pelvic pain

Young woman finds relief from yearlong chronic pelvic pain

Most women assume that period pain is normal. While this is true to a certain degree, did you know that unbearable period pain is not normal and could be the cause of an underlying health condition?

Ms. Noura (name changed for confidentiality purposes) did not think much of her difficult periods and pelvic pain, assuming it was normal until it became a constant and painful part of her life. Pain during periods is normal and typical, however over time she experienced more changes including heavy flow, chronic constant pelvic pain, and anemia.

She knew there was something unusual happening and visited various hospitals in search of a permanent solution. Despite undergoing various treatments and medications, she found no relief. She was further suggested to explore surgical intervention or interventional radiology as the next suitable solution.

After careful consideration of her options, she visited Dr. Alaadin Hakim, Consultant of Interventional Radiology at Fakeeh University Hospital, for yet another evaluation.

Investigations revealed that she had pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS). A condition caused when the ovarian veins swell/dilate, causing intense pain.

An accurate diagnosis by a super specialty expert helped explain why the treatment she received so far only provided temporary and minimum relief.

“After visiting so many doctors and hospitals, I’m so thankful to have finally met Dr. Alaadin Hakim, someone who listened and took care of me. He worked hard to come up with the best treatment solution for my difficult case,” said Ms. Noura.

Dr. Alaadin Hakim assured that her condition could be treated successfully through vein embolization, a minimally invasive approach offering faster recovery and no visible scars. Embolization is a minimally invasive procedure commonly used in Interventional Radiology to treat a variety of conditions, including pelvic congestion syndrome. A small catheter is inserted through a tiny incision in the skin and threaded through the blood vessels to the site of the problem.

“Life is much simpler and easier now. I can be active again; I can keep up with my kids and run around with them without worrying about pain. While it took some time for all symptoms to disappear, the procedure had no side effects, scarring, or even pain. I wish I had known about my condition and this procedure earlier. I have lived through years of pain and medications but now that it’s all gone, I have a new zest for life,” said Ms. Noura.

“The peculiarity of this case was a significant medical complication, as she was allergic to titanium and nickel. These are both commonly used in the embolization procedure. However, the procedure was performed without using either of these, to minimize the risks.  We used an inguinal and jugular approach, where a balloon was inserted and inflated in the proximal ovarian vein for safe navigation and to protect from any non-target embolization,” said Dr. Alaadin Hakim.

During the procedure, Dr. Alaadin Hakim carefully and precisely blocked all the faulty veins so that they would not fill with blood, inflate, and cause further pain. Cases with complex intricacies like this can only be performed by highly skilled and experienced Interventional Radiologists.

Ms. Noura returned home within 3-4 hours and was advised to resume regular activities almost immediately. She experienced immediate pain relief. Gradually, the bleeding reduced and stopped, and she finally felt a sense of normalcy in her life.

What is Interventional Radiology

Noura’s experience highlights the importance of accurate & precise diagnosis for complicated conditions like pelvic congestion syndrome, which can have multiple causes.

Interventional Radiology (IR) is a specialized medical discipline that uses minimally invasive techniques to treat complex health conditions. Unlike traditional open surgery, IR techniques involve small or no incisions, leading to less scarring, shorter recovery times, and reduced risks of complications.

Furthermore, IR procedures have high success rates, with many procedures achieving similar outcomes as open surgery. For example, embolization, the procedure used to treat pelvic congestion syndrome, has a high success rate, making it an effective and safe alternative to traditional surgery which may have severe complications.

It is essential to raise awareness about IR and its benefits. By offering patients minimally invasive alternatives to open surgery, IR can help reduce patient anxiety, minimize recovery times, and achieve better outcomes with fewer complications. Hence, it is crucial to educate patients, healthcare professionals, and the public about IR and the role it plays in treating complex health conditions.