What is Phlebitis?
Phlebitis (fle-BYE-tis) means inflammation of a vein. Thrombophlebitis is the term used when a blood clot in the vein causes the inflammation. Thrombophlebitis usually occurs in leg veins, but it may occur in an arm. The thrombus (clot) in the vein causes pain and irritation and may block blood flow in the veins. Phlebitis can occur in both the surface (superficial) or deep veins.
Superficial phlebitis affects veins on the skin surface. The condition is rarely serious and, with proper care, usually resolves rapidly. Sometimes people with superficial phlebitis also get deep vein thrombophlebitis, so a medical evaluation is necessary.
Deep vein thrombophlebitis affects the larger blood vessels deep in the legs. Blood clots (thrombi) can form, which may break off and travel to the lungs. This is a potentially life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism.
Causes of Phlebitis
The most common cause of the disorder is trauma to the vessel wall caused by an injury to the vein. Phlebitis might also be the result of prolonged inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle. People who sit and recline for long periods of time, for instance, a long trip in a plane or bed rest for a prolonged illness are at an increased risk of contracting the disease. Other causes of phlebitis include obesity, smoking, pregnancy, certain birth control pills, intravenous drug use and certain medical conditions like cancer.
What are the symptoms of Phlebitis?
- There is usually a slow onset of a tender red area along the superficial veins on the skin. A long, thin red area may be seen as the inflammation follows the path of a superficial vein.
- This area may feel hard, warm, and tender. The skin around the vein may be itchy and swollen.
- The area may begin to throb or burn.
- Symptoms may be worse when the leg is lowered, especially when first getting out of bed in the morning.
- A low-grade fever may occur.
- Sometimes phlebitis may occur at the site where a peripheral intravenous (IV) line was started. The surrounding area may be sore and tender along the vein.
- If an infection is present, symptoms may include redness, fever, pain, swelling, or breakdown of the skin.
Deep vein thrombophlebitis
- This can be similar in presentation to superficial phlebitis, but some people may have no symptoms.
- The classic signs and symptoms include redness, warmth, swelling, and pain in the leg.
- One may have pain and swelling throughout the entire limb. For example, one side of the lower leg may swell for no apparent reason.
How to cure Herbal Remedies to Phlebitis?
A natural alternative for the prevention of blood clots includes the use of herbal and homeopathic remedies. These remedies contain gentle, natural ingredients, and promote balance in all body systems.
Make a hot poultice of fresh marigold and apply to the affected area three times a day. To make the poultice, boil fresh marigold in 1 quart of water for 20 minutes. Strain the herb and soak a towel in the liquid. Elevate the affected area and apply the hot towel, allowing the towel to cool completely before removing.
Apply Vitamin E oil to the irritated area with gentle massage to help speed the healing of phlebitis. You should also take Vitamin E capsules, beginning with 300 IU and gradually increasing to 800 IU over one week to improve blood circulation and prevent, relieve and even correct phlebitis.
Massage witch hazel ointment into the affected area three or more times a day. Witch hazel is an effective herbal medicine to reduce phlebitis, however you will need to use the ointment for at least 2 weeks before you see results.
Drink bilberry juice every morning, an herbal medicine used for many ailments. Bilberry juice supports the formation of the body’s connective tissue and strengthens blood capillaries, helping to prevent phlebitis. Bilberry juice can be purchased in your local health food store and should be taken as directed by the manufacturer.