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 professional advice