May Thurner Syndrome (MTS) is a condition that primarily impacts the veins in the left leg. The disorder is characterized by common symptoms and complications such as pain, swelling, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
This article aims to provide an in-depth look at MTS, exploring its causes, effects on women’s health, and available treatments. Texas Vascular Institute is a team of experts in MTS and other vein conditions, unlocking healthy legs across Hurst and surrounding areas.
What Causes May Thurner Syndrome?
MTS results from an anatomical idiosyncrasy in the iliac veins located in the pelvis. These veins cross over each other, and in some cases, the right iliac artery can compress the left iliac vein. This compression decreases the blood flow in the left leg, which can lead to MTS.
Several risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing MTS:
- Gender: Women are more likely to get MTS than men
- Age: The risk of MTS increases with age
- Pregnancy: Hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy can lead to MTS
- Obesity: Extra weight can put pressure on the iliac veins
- Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of movement can slow blood flow and increase the risk of MTS
May Thurner Syndrome and Women’s Health
MTS can be associated with other conditions that particularly affect women’s health. These include uterine fibroids, pelvic venous congestion, and complications related to pregnancy.
- Uterine fibroids are benign tumors in the uterus that can cause heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and even infertility.
- Pelvic venous congestion refers to the dilation of the ovarian veins and other veins in the pelvis, which can result in chronic pelvic pain, varicose veins, and discomfort in the vulvar area.
- Pregnancy introduces hormonal changes and increased blood volume that can elevate the risk of developing MTS or DVT.
Thankfully, these conditions can be diagnosed and treated with minimally invasive procedures:
- Uterine fibroid embolization blocks the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink over time.
- In the case of pelvic venous congestion, embolization is performed to block the refluxing ovarian veins, relieving symptoms.
- Pregnant women, particularly those at high risk of MTS or DVT, may be prescribed anticoagulation therapy. This treatment involves taking blood thinners to prevent clot formation during and after pregnancy.
Diagnosing May Thurner Syndrome
MTS is often a stealthy condition that often goes unnoticed until a serious complication, such as DVT, arises. The challenge in diagnosing MTS is its tendency to manifest through non-specific symptoms, which can often be dismissed or attributed to less severe issues.
However, several diagnostic tests can help detect MTS:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
Given the potential severity of MTS, seeking medical attention is crucial if you experience any signs or symptoms of MTS or DVT.
Treating May Thurner Syndrome
MTS treatment focuses on three primary goals:
- Relieve symptoms
- Restore blood flow
- Prevent complications
A range of treatment options are available for MTS:
- Medications: Anticoagulants (blood thinners) are often prescribed to prevent clotting and reduce inflammation.
- Compression Stockings: These elastic garments apply pressure to the legs and improve circulation.
- Endovascular Procedures: Minimally invasive techniques utilizing catheters and devices to widen the narrowed vein and remove clots. These procedures include:
○ Angioplasty: Inflates a balloon inside the vein to expand it.
○ Stenting: Insert a metal mesh tube inside the vein to keep it open.
○ Thrombolysis: Injects clot-dissolving drugs into the vein.
○ Thrombectomy: Removes clots with a suction device or a mechanical tool.
Endovascular procedures offer numerous benefits:
- High success rate and low complication rate
- Short recovery time and minimal scarring
- Performed under local anesthesia and sedation
- Covered by most insurance plans
At Texas Vascular Institute, our team is experienced in performing endovascular procedures for MTS and other vein conditions, providing quality and expert care to our patients.
Preventing May Thurner Syndrome
While there is no definitive way to prevent MTS, adopting certain lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of developing or worsening the condition:
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet
- Engage in regular exercise and avoid prolonged sitting or standing
- Elevate your legs when resting or sleeping
- Wear compression stockings, if advised by a doctor
- Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake
Although these measures can’t guarantee prevention, they can go a long way in improving overall vascular health and reducing the risk of venous conditions like MTS.
Frequently Asked Questions and Myths About May Thurner Syndrome
There are several questions that patients often ask about MTS and its treatment:
How common is MTS, and who is at risk?
MTS is more common in women than men and usually affects individuals aged 20 to 50. Those with sedentary lifestyles, pregnant women, and individuals with obesity are at a higher risk.
How can I prevent MTS or DVT from happening?
Engaging in regular physical activity, being at a healthy weight, avoiding extended periods of sitting or standing, and wearing compression stockings can lower the risk.
What are the potential complications or side effects of MTS treatment?
Complications are rare but can include bruising, infection, or allergic reaction to contrast material. The specific risks depend on the type of treatment.
How long does it take to recover from MTS treatment?
Recovery times vary based on the procedure, but most patients return to normal activities within a few days to a week.
Will I need to take blood thinners for life after MTS treatment?
Not necessarily. Your doctor will determine the duration of anticoagulant therapy based on your specific condition and risk factors.
It’s also essential to dispel some myths and misconceptions about MTS and its treatment:
Myth #1: MTS only affects older people or people with other health problems.
No! MTS can affect people of various age groups, predominantly women aged 20 to 50.
Myth #2: MTS is not a serious condition and does not need treatment.
Incorrect! MTS can lead to life-threatening complications if left untreated, such as DVT or pulmonary embolism.
Myth #3: MTS treatment is painful, risky, and expensive.
No. The truth is MTS treatment involves minimally invasive procedures with high success rates, minimal discomfort, and coverage by most insurance plans.
Myth #4: MTS treatment will cure the condition permanently.
Unfortunately, no. While treatment can alleviate symptoms and prevent complications, there is no definitive cure for MTS. Regular follow-ups and lifestyle modifications are necessary to manage the condition.
May Thurner Syndrome is a serious vein condition that requires timely diagnosis, adequate treatment, and lifestyle modifications to prevent complications.
Our team at Texas Vascular Institute is ready to provide comprehensive care for MTS and other vein conditions. If you have any questions or concerns about MTS, please do not hesitate to contact us.
To schedule an appointment or a consultation, please get in touch with us at our office in Hurst at 972-798-4710. Your vein health is our top priority.
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3500 Oak Lawn Ave, #760
Dallas, TX 75219
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809 West Harwood Rd, Suite 101,
Hurst, TX 76054
For Appointments: 972-798-4710
General Inquiries: 972-646-8346