Phlebitis

What is Phlebitis?

This is any condition where there is inflammation of a vein. It can refer to superficial veins in the legs or deep veins in the muscles of the leg or pelvis. Often this condition is followed by thrombosis (clotting of the blood). Therefore phlebitis followed by thrombosis is called thrombophlebitis. These painful clots may partially or fully block blood flow in affected veins.

What are the Symptoms of Phlebitis?

  • A hard, red vein visible in your leg; it may be warm and tender.
  • Fever is possible and sleepless nights as the pain worsens.
  • A throbbing or burning sensation beneath the skin’s surface.
  • Pain deep inside the leg and swelling in the ankle.

What are the Causes of Phlebitis?

The most common cause of phlebitis is varicose veins. Injury can cause phlebitis if a vein is bumped or hurt. Anyone immobilised, such as after surgery, is also vulnerable because blood is not flowing as strongly and clots form more easily. The condition can afflict the elderly, because circulatory problems that can trigger phlebitis tend to worsen with age. Phlebitis can also develop in response to infection or trauma of some kind. Doctors have reported that several types of people are at risk. They are women in general, pregnant women, contraceptive pill users and people whose blood tends to clot too easily are at higher risk. People who are significantly overweight, have a sedentary lifestyle, and smoke have also been linked to phlebitis.

Traditional Medical Treatments for Phlebitis

Superficial phlebitis can often be treated at home but be sure to get your doctor’s opinion on your specific case. Deep phlebitis, however, often requires a short stay in the hospital. Regardless of which type you have, if you smoke, stop. Also try to use another form of contraception besides birth control pills if you suffer from this condition. Your doctor will recommend appropriate medication to relieve your symptoms. You can buy special support stockings which often help in relieving some of the pain. If you’re diagnosed with deep phlebitis, you will be hospitalised. Your doctor will advise of the appropriate course of treatment best for you.

Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Phlebitis

Some alternative therapies may help with superficial phlebitis. Consult the appropriate practitioners who are experienced in treating phlebitis and other circulatory problems – Acupuncturists, Chinese Herbalists, Homeopaths and Naturopaths.