Phlebitis

Phlebitis (fle-BYE-tis) means inflammation of a vein. Thrombophlebitis is due to one or more blood clots in a vein that cause inflammation. Thrombophlebitis usually occurs in leg veins, but it may occur in an arm. The thrombus 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, usually deep in the legs. Large blood clots can form, which may break off and travel to the lungs. This is a serious condition called pulmonary embolism.

Phlebitis Causes

Superficial phlebitis can be a complication due to a medical or surgical procedure. 

Injury to a vein increases the risk of forming a blood clot. Sometimes clots occur without an injury. Some risk factors for thrombophlebitis include the following:

  • Prolonged inactivity - Staying in bed or sitting for many hours, as in a car or on an airplane, creating stagnant or slow flow of blood from the legs in a dependent position (This pooling of blood in the legs leads to thrombus formation.)
  • Sedentary lifestyle - Not getting any exercise
  • Obesity
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Certain medical conditions, such as cancer or blood disorders, that increase the clotting potential of the blood
  • Injury to your arms or legs
  • Hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills
  • Pregnancy
  • Varicose veins

Phlebitis Symptoms

Superficial 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 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 where a peripheral intravenous 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 phlebitis

This can be similar in presentation to superficial phlebitis, but some people may have no symptoms.

One may have pain and swelling throughout the entire limb. For example, the lower leg may swell for no apparent reason. Some people also get fever from a superimposed bacterial infection and skin discoloration or ulcers if the condition becomes chronic and was inadequately treated earlier.

When to Seek Medical Care

Call your health care provider if you have signs and symptoms of swelling, pain, and inflamed superficial veins on the arms or legs. If you are not better in a week or two or if it gets any worse, get reevaluated to make sure you don't have a more serious condition.

Deep vein thrombophlebitis requires immediate medical care. If you have any of these signs and symptoms, go to a hospital emergency department for evaluation:

  • High fever with any symptoms in an arm or leg
  • Lumps in a leg
  • Severe pain and swelling in an arm or leg
  • New, unexplained significant shortness of breath, which could be the first tip-off that a blood clot has already traveled to your lung; call 911 if you are having trouble breathing.
Herbal remedies for Phlebitis
 
  Horse chestnut  
 
30 capsules
$11.00
Horse
chestnut
 
 
 
.
*Ashwagandha
(Withania somnifera)
*Astragalus
(Astragalus membranaceus)
*Brahmi
(Bacopa monnieri)
*Burdock
(Arctium lappa)
*Black Cohosh
(Cimicifuga racemosa)
*Bladderwrack
(Focus vesiculosus)
*Celery seeds
(Apium graviolens)
*Chanca piedra
(Phyllanthus niruri)
*Ceylon cinnamon
(Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
*Cat's claw
(Uncaria tomentosa)
*Dandelion root
(Taraxacum officinale)
*Fenugreek
(Trigonella foenum graecum)
*Ginkgo biloba
(Ginkgo biloba)
*Horse chestnut
(Aesculus hippocastanum)
*Hawthorn berry
(Crateagus oxicanthus)
*Horny goat weed
(Epimedium sagittatum)
*Juniper berry
(Juniperus communis)
*Milk thistle
(Sylibum marianum)
*Maca
(Lepidium meyenii)
*Red clover
(Trifolium pratense)
*American Skullcap
(Scutellaria lateriflora)
*Saw palmetto
(Serenoa repens/serrulata)
*Stinging nettle
(Urtica dioica)
*St John's wort
(Hypericum perforatum)
*Sarsaparrilla
(Smilax aristolochiifolia)
*Schizandra berry
(Schisandra chinensis)
*Vitex
(Agnus castus)
*Valerian root
(Valeriana officinalis)
*White willow
(Salix alba)
*Yarrow
(Achillea millefolium)
*Lion's mane
(Hericium erinaceous
)
*Shiitake
(Lentinula edodes
)