What Triggers May-Thurner Syndrome

What is May-Thurner Syndrome?
Also known as Cockett syndrome or iliac vein compression syndrome is a condition that affects the venous blood flow from your legs. As blood flows through your body, your arteries transfer blood away from your heart while your veins return the blood back to it. May-Thurner syndrome occurs when your right iliac artery, which carries blood to your right leg, compresses your left iliac vein, which carries blood from your left leg back to your heart, where they pass each other in your pelvis.

How Does it Impact the Body?
When a person develops May-Thurner syndrome, it becomes more difficult for blood to travel from their leg back to their heart. Because of this, it is common for blood to pool in the individual's leg or for them to develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which occurs when a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the leg. DVT can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as swollen veins, tenderness, and throbbing in your legs, but can also lead to more serious health concerns, including a pulmonary embolism if the blood clot were to break off and travel to your lung. It is also possible for women with May-Thurner syndrome to develop pelvic congestion syndrome, which can lead to pelvic pain.

What Triggers May-Thurner Syndrome?
May-Thurner syndrome is a common condition that affects as many as 1 out of every 5 people. It is more common in women and people between the ages of 20 and 50.  May-Thurner syndrome is not a genetic condition. On the contrary, it occurs randomly as a result of the way your blood vessels are positioned. Factors that could make you more likely to develop May-Thurner syndrome include:
  • Being female
  • Recently giving birth
  • Having more than one child
  • Taking hormonal birth control
  • Having a condition that causes your blood to clot
  • Being dehydrated
  • Sitting for long periods of time
Symptoms of May-Thurner Syndrome
In most cases, symptoms of May-Thurner syndrome only occur in one leg. These could include:
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Open sores
  • Varicose veins
  • A heavy feeling
  • Skin discoloration
What Are the Treatment Options?
Many people who have May-Thurner syndrome don't exhibit any symptoms. This can make it difficult for individuals to get a proper diagnosis and the treatment they need to prevent the condition from progressing into something more serious. If your healthcare provider suspects that you could have May-Thurner syndrome, they will likely use noninvasive imaging studies to diagnose you. These could include:
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • Venogram
  • Catheter-based venogram
  • Intravascular ultrasound
If you are diagnosed with May-Thurner syndrome, your healthcare provider will create a personalized treatment plan based on your condition. They may recommend:
  • Angioplasty and stenting: This entails inserting a tiny alloy mesh tube (otherwise known as a stent) inside the vein via a catheter to hold it open, the vein is further ballooned open and then the balloon is removed.
  • Bypass surgery: This entails making another route for blood to flow around the blocked iliac vein, although this is rare.  This can be done using a vein from another area of your body or a graft made of synthetic material.
We Are Here for You
At the Vascular Institute of the Rockies, we are eager to help you live a long, healthy life by keeping your cardiovascular system in tip-top shape. If you notice any signs of May-Thurner syndrome or DVT, don't wait to seek medical attention. Being diagnosed as soon as possible can help your recovery go as smoothly and effectively as possible. For more information visit us online today.

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