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Jessica Mares has suffered with gynecologic issues her entire life, including excruciating pelvic pain. Over the years, the now 40-year-old Littleton resident has had surgery to treat her endometriosis as well as a hysterectomy at age 24-and still the pain persisted (and got progressively worse) for the next two decades.
“You start thinking, ‘Am I crazy?’ Because no one can figure out what’s wrong with you,” Mares says. That’s when her gynecologist determined the pain could be caused by a condition called pelvic venous congestion (PVC). She was referred to Brooke Spencer, MD, an interventional radiologist at Littleton Adventist Hospital, who confirmed this was the case, and that Mares’ iliac vein, located deep within the pelvis, was compressed. The vein is supposed to be open just 3 millimeters. Spencer was able to treat it by making a tiny nick in Mares’ upper thigh and then guiding a tiny flexible tube to the vein. Once there, she used a stent to open the vein. Two days later, Mares was already out doing yard work.
“A lot of people have this condition and don’t even know it, and I was one of them for years,” she says. “But I’m so thankful this is helping me now!”