When you experience pain, swelling and a feeling of heaviness in your legs, you may Google those symptoms and believe you have PAD, peripheral artery disease. You may even may an appointment with Vascular Specialists to begin treatment for PAD. However, this might not be PAD. You may have May-Thurner syndrome – and the symptoms you feel are really an indicator of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which is a complication of May-Thurner syndrome.
If you believe you have a DVT, call our office or get to an emergency room immediately.
What Is May-Thurner Syndrome?
May-Thurner syndrome occurs when the one of the main arteries that carry blood to your legs, the right iliac artery, squeezes the other main artery, the left iliac arterym where they cross each other in your pelvis. Because of the pressure from the right iliac artery, blood can’t flow as easily to the left iliac vein – creating a clogged hose affect.
Blood vessels do cross each other inside your body. You may have May-Thurner syndrome and it may never cause an issue – you’ll actually never even know you have it.
When you have May-Thurner Syndrome, you are more likely to get DVT, a blood clot, in your left leg – and that is very serious. DVT can stop blood flow to your leg, greatly increasing your risk of amputation. A DVT can also break off and cause a pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening blood clot in your lung. DVT can also lead to complications in the legs called post-thrombotic syndrome. This condition causes pooling of the blood, chronic leg swelling, increased pressure, increased discoloration of the skin, and venous stasis leg ulcers.
What Causes May-Thurner Syndrome?
No one is exactly sure whey May-Thurner syndrome happens. It’s theorized that May-Thurner Syndrome is three times more common in women than in men, because it’s diagnosed more often in women with DVT than in men with DVT – but again, statistics are difficult to confirm because May-Thurner does not always cause problems.
You are more likely to develop DVT from May-Thurner Syndrome if you are:
• Woman age 20-40
• Have scoliosis
• Recently had a baby
• Have had more than one child
• Take oral contraceptives, birth control pills
• Other medical condition that causes blood clotting
How is May-Thurner Syndrome Treated?
If you experience symptom of a DVT, get to an emergency room immediately. Symptoms include:
• Pain in the legs or arm
• Swelling or redness of the legs or arm
• Warmth or tenderness in the legs or arm
• A vein that is enlarged, like a rough or thick cord
Your Vascular Specialist physician may perform an ultrasound, CT or MRI to determine if you have May-Thurner syndrome. You may be prescribed blood thinners or we may recommend a minimally invasive angioplasty and stent. If your condition requires it, we may perform bypass surgery to detour around the section of vein that is being compressed or we may reposition the right iliac artery to relieve compression.
Remember – most people with May-Thurner syndrome live their whole lives without ever knowing it. However, whenever you experience symptoms of a DVT, get emergency care immediately. Your life may depend on it.
Questions about DVT, May-Thurner syndrome or the health of your blood vessels? Just call 815-824-4406 to make an appointment. Your Vascular Specialist medical professional is happy to help!