Phlebitis or vein inflammation can happen on the surface of the skin, in the superficial veins, or in the deep veins.
Superficial phlebitis affects the veins on the surface and this isn’t usually a serious problem. With proper treatment, it resolves quickly.
But, people with superficial phlebitis may develop deep vein thrombophlebitis, and therefore, a medical assessment is necessary. Deep vein inflammation affects the bigger blood vessels that are usually deeper in the legs.
As a result, big blood clots may form and they can break off and go to the lungs which is a severe condition known as pulmonary embolism.
What Are the Causes of Phlebitis?
Superficial vein inflammation can happen as a complication from a surgical or some other medical procedure. The vein injury elevates the risk of a blood clot.
But, sometimes, clots can also develop without any injury.
Thrombophlebitis risk factors are prolonged inactivity and remaining in bed or in a sitting position for numerous hours, leading a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, obesity, having some medical problems like blood disorders or cancer, injuries on the arms and legs, pregnancy, varicose veins, hormone replacement therapy, etc.
What Are the Symptoms of Superficial Phlebitis?
- The red area along the veins is tender
- A long and thin red area
- Warm and tender red area
- Skin is itchy around the vein and also swollen
- Throbbing and ache in that area
The symptoms may worsen when the leg is lowered and it may be particularly difficult when getting up in the morning.
Conventional treatment for phlebitis includes anti-inflammatory meds like ibuprofen, but it may also require some other treatments that depend on the diagnosis.
Your doctor may prescribe aspirin or other meds for blood thinning to dissolve the clots, antibiotics if there’s a skin infection, warm compresses and compression stockings, leg elevation, and even surgery in more severe cases.
Blood clots may require staying in the hospital for several days. After the evaluation and tests from your doctor, you can turn to some natural ways to relieve the symptoms at home.
Here are five home remedies for phlebitis:
- Increase your physical activity
Individuals with superficial phlebitis or mild thrombophlebitis are advised to increase their physical activity to decrease the risk of blood clots.
It’s recommendable to take regular and frequent walks, do stretches, use the stairs instead of an elevator, etc.
It’s also pivotal to prevent standing for long periods of time or sitting for more than an hour, even when you’re on a plane or at work.
If you have to sit, keep the legs moving by raising them and lowering the heels with the toes on the ground and raising and lowering the toes with the heels on the ground, tightening and releasing the thigh and calf muscles, and more.
- Lift up and soothe
Life the leg or arm to decrease the swelling.
If possible, place it above the heart level. Warm compresses can also help. Place a wet and warm compress onto the affected area.
The compress needs to be heavy, hot, and big, wrapped around the limb to apply gentle pressure and heat.
Make sure it’s not too hot and doesn’t burn or cut off the blood flow. These compresses help alleviate aches, decrease inflammation, and better blood flow.
- Opt for compression stockings
According to one randomized and controlled trial, individuals with blood clots who wore these stockings below the knee had a 50 percent lower likelihood of experiencing complications or another blood clot in the following five years than those who didn’t wear them.
But, this is no short-term treatment; the participants wore the stockings for a period of two years after the initial blood clot.
The ones up to the knees or thighs can alleviate pain, boost blood flow, and reduce swelling.
Doctors may prescribe it to you. But, they must never be worn at night!
- Opt for herbs and useful supplements
There are some herbs and supplements that can help with phlebitis, but always consult your doctor before taking any of them.
Some natural blood thinners that can help are ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne peppers, garlic, licorice, white clove, feverfew, ginseng, etc.
Herbs and supplements with anti-inflammatory properties that can also be of aid are green tea, fish oil, frankincense oil, capsaicin, and white willow bark.
A Chinese pill of four different herbs known as Hulisan has been used for the treatment of vein inflammation; though these herbs were found to have medicinal properties, no studies confirm their effect on this health problem.
- Follow a diet for healthy blood vessels
When you follow a blood vessel-supportive diet, it may keep the blood vessels healthy and strong in the long run.
And, combined with other methods of prevention, it may decrease the risk of blood clots. According to the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, a diet supportive of the blood vessels should contain a lot of fiber from fruits and veggies, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds; fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants like coconut, figs, avocados, peas, turnips, chickpeas, lentils, chia seeds, quinoa, etc.
Also include unsaturated fats from walnuts, fish, flaxseed, poultry, and fish.