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.
What to look for
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.
For deep phlebitis:
Often this condition is
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.
The superficial phlebitis
is the most common form of phlebitis and occurs in veins near the skin's surface usually
in the legs. This is usually harmless although painful and uncomfortable.
Deep phlebitis, on the
other hand, is less common and more dangerous as it affects the internal veins of the
legs. These clots tend to be larger and more able to loosen and travel to other areas. It
is also possible for you not to realise you have this problem and it may go untreated.
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.
Superficial phlebitis can
often be treated at home but be sure to get your doctors 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.
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, Homoeopaths and Naturopaths.
If you smoke - give this up
immediately, it can only make matters worse for you. Also eat more oily fish such as
salmon and tuna, fruit and vegetables, fibre and spicy foods. Also drink plenty of
filtered water. Try not to stand for long periods of time and do some gentle exercise once
the condition subsides a little.
For superficial phlebitis,
there are things at home you can do to ease the pain and help you heal:
Get plenty of rest while
you have the condition.
When you lie down,
boost your legs up so they are 6 to 12 inches above your heart level.
Apply a heating pad or pack
to swollen areas for relief.
When to seek further
you suspect you have
phlebitis; you need proper diagnosis and treatment.
symptoms of superficial
phlebitis do not dissipate within a week
you notice lumps, high
fever, or extreme pain or swelling throughout a limb.