Phlebitis – Symptoms, Causes, And Natural Treatment Options

Written by , MSc Shaheen Naser MSc Experience: 3 years
Last Updated on

If you feel certain warm or tender stringy structures across your arm or leg, you have most likely developed a nerve condition called phlebitis. If treated on time, phlebitis can be cured. However, a delay in treatment can lead to serious consequences. Therefore, it is necessary to work towards the treatment at the earliest, and this is where certain home remedies can be quite effective. Keep reading to know more.

What Is Phlebitis?

Phlebitis is a medical condition associated with inflammation of veins. Veins are those blood vessels in your body that carry blood from your organs and limbs back to the heart.

Inflammation in the vein that is caused by a blood clot is called thrombophlebitis. And if the blood clot has occurred in a deep vein, the condition is known as deep vein thrombophlebitis or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Phlebitis can be divided into two types.

Different Types Of Phlebitis

Phlebitis can either be superficial or deep.

Superficial phlebitis occurs when there is inflammation in a vein located closer to the skin surface. Deep phlebitis occurs when there is inflammation in a deeper and larger vein that is found in your legs.

Individuals suffering from phlebitis may exhibit the following signs and symptoms.

Signs And Symptoms Of Phlebitis

Most symptoms of phlebitis usually affect the arm or leg in which the inflamed vein is located. They include:

  • Swelling
  • Inflammation and redness
  • Warmth
  • Tenderness
  • Stringy structures that you can feel through your skin

If you are wondering what could possibly cause this condition, here you go.

Causes Of And Risk Factors For Phlebitis

Causes of superficial phlebitis include:

  • Injection of an irritating medication into your veins
  • A small clot
  • An infection

Causes of deep phlebitis include:

  • Irritation or injury to a deep vein due to traumas like surgery, a broken bone, or a previous case of deep phlebitis
  • Lack of motion
  • Medications
  • Medical conditions like cancer, connective tissue disorders, or other genetic blood clotting conditions

Certain factors that can put you at a higher risk of developing phlebitis include:

  • A personal or family history of DVT
  • Use of hormone therapy or contraceptive pills
  • Prolonged period of inactivity or immobility
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Excess alcohol intake
  • Being over 60 years of age

Now, let us see how this vein condition can be medically diagnosed.

How To Diagnosis Of Phlebitis

Phlebitis can usually be diagnosed based on your symptoms.

Your doctor may further prescribe:

  • An ultrasound of your affected limb
  • Venography to see your veins via an X-ray
  • CT scan or MRI scan to detect a blood clot

If you have developed phlebitis, prompt treatment is a must. In addition to your doctor’s prescription, you can accelerate your recovery by trying these effective home remedies.

Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Phlebitis

1. Heat Or Ice Pack

You Will Need

A warm or cold compress

What You Have To Do
  1. Place the compress on the affected leg or arm.
  2. Leave it on for a minute or two and remove.
  3. Repeat thrice.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this at least once daily.

Why This Works

A cold pack can alleviate the pain and swelling and numb the affected area for some time. On the other hand, a warm compress can provide immediate relief from pain and also improve blood circulation in the areas affected by phlebitis (1), (2).

2. Essential Oils

a. Helichrysum Oil

Helichrysum Oil
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 3 drops of helichrysum oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut or olive oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the helichrysum oil to a teaspoon of coconut or olive oil.
  2. Mix well and apply to the affected areas.
  3. Leave it on for 30 to 60 minutes before washing it off.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

Helichrysum oil exhibits local anesthetic and analgesic activity on the affected areas, providing immediate relief from the inflammatory and painful symptoms of phlebitis (3).

b. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint Oil
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (or any other carrier oil)
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the peppermint oil with the carrier oil.
  2. Apply this mixture to the affected areas and leave it on for 20 to 40 minutes.
  3. Wash it off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this at least twice daily.

Why This Works

Peppermint oil contains menthol that helps in relieving the pain and inflammation. It can also stimulate blood flow and dissolve clots (if any).

3. Lemon Juice And Baking Soda

Lemon Juice And Baking Soda
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 glass of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix all the ingredients well.
  2. Drink this mixture.
How Often You Should Do This

You must drink this mixture 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

The lemon and baking soda mixture has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce the inflammation in the veins (4). It also enhances the immunity of those affected by phlebitis.

4. Vitamins

Image: Shutterstock

Taking foods rich in certain vitamins can help you deal with this condition. Vitamins A, C, and D possess powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help treat phlebitis and its symptoms (5), (6).

Consuming foods like avocados, citrus fruits, spinach, kale, milk, cheese, and eggs can provide your body with these vitamins. You can also take additional supplements after talking to your nutritionist or doctor.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 1 glass of warm water
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
What You Have To Do

Mix the ingredients thoroughly and consume the mixture immediately.

How Often You Should Do This

You must drink this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

The acetic acid in ACV possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which help fight the inflammation, swelling, and pain associated with phlebitis (7).

6. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need

Freshly extracted aloe vera gel (as required)

What You Have To Do
  1. Apply the freshly extracted aloe vera gel directly to the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for about 30 minutes before rinsing it off.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

According to a study published in the International Conference On Public Health in 2016, topical application of aloe vera can reduce the symptoms of phlebitis, thanks to its natural healing properties (8).

For complete recovery and to avoid recurrence of phlebitis, it is best if you follow the above remedies along with the following tips.

Prevention Tips

  • Keep moving and do not stay in a single position for too long.
  • Do not massage the clot.
  • Wear compression socks.
  • Stretch your legs as much as possible while traveling.
  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Practice yoga poses that require stretching.

Phlebitis is rather easy to treat if you give it proper care and attention. Go ahead and try out your favorite remedies – and you will soon be free from the pain of phlebitis and its symptoms.

Did we address all your doubts? For more queries, get in touch with us via the comment box below.

Frequently Asked Questions

When to see a doctor for phlebitis?

You must see a doctor immediately if you notice symptoms such as chronic swelling, pain, or inflammation on the affected leg or arm. You must also see a doctor if you develop:
• Fever with some symptom in the arm or leg
• Lumps in the affected leg or arm
• Unexplained shortness of breath
• Severe pain or swelling

How long does it take to treat phlebitis?

Phlebitis usually heals within 2 to 6 weeks. However, it may take longer to heal if an infection is involved or if you are suffering from deep vein thrombosis.

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Shaheen Naser
Shaheen NaserHealth & Wellness Writer
Shaheen holds a postgraduate degree in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from Bharathiar University. She is a Geneticist with proficiency in Biotechnology, Immunology, Medical Genetics, Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Genetic Counseling.

Read full bio of Shaheen Naser
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