By | June 10, 2022

Phlebitis is a disease of the blood vessel system. From the designation thrombophlebitis with the ending -itis it can be seen that it is an inflammatory process that can affect different age groups.

What is phlebitis?

Phlebitis or thrombophlebitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels, primarily the veins. The pathological processes in phlebitis do not affect the deep veins, but rather the superficial areas. For capsular contracture meaning, please visit

In addition, phlebitis is characterized by the fact that the areas of inflammation do not affect the entire vein, but occur locally. Veins are blood vessels that transport blood to the heart and can be partially or completely closed by a clot due to the accumulation of different proteins in the blood, especially the thrombocytes. These clumps, which are technically known as thrombus, can lead to inflammatory changes in the surface veins.


The causes that can promote phlebitis have been researched for a long time and can be caused by both internal and external influences. Phlebitis occurs most frequently when people suffer from restricted motor skills. This can be due to a stroke, damage to extremities or being bedridden for a long time.

In addition, damage to the structures of the inner walls of the veins leads to phlebitis. Some people have an abnormally high tendency for blood to clot prematurely. This can be caused by disorders in the coagulation system and pose a risk of premature clot formation.

Vein inflammation can be the result of surgical interventions, childbirth, weakness of the vein walls or accidents, as well as as a result of diseases characterized by inflammation or existing tumours.


In phlebitis, different forms of the course are noticeable. Phlebitis is a disease that mainly affects women and manifests itself in the form of varicose veins or as typical signs of inflammation in a previously healthy vein.

These signs are initially more characteristic in that those affected only suffer from mild symptoms at the beginning. In addition to painful symptoms in the area of ​​​​the affected vein, depending on the stage of phlebitis, more or less severe redness, swelling and heat build- up in the respective region occur.

If a blood clot forms that is so large that it occludes the vein, a so-called deep vein thrombosis occurs. The corresponding area becomes hard, the skin stretches and is very sensitive to pain when touched manually. Since the thrombus can detach and lead to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, immediate medical attention is required.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Doctors distinguish between two types of phlebitis. The site of inflammation can be either superficial or deep. Depending on the design, there are different symptoms. In technical terms, the inflammation on the surface is called thrombophlebitis, and on the deep veins it is called phlebothrombosis. Pain occurs even with small muscle loads.

Statistically, it is mainly the legs that are affected by phlebitis. The superficial phlebitis manifests itself in a reddening of the skin. The affected area is often warm. There may also be an itchy rash. Touching the surface lightly causes pain. If there is a bacterial infection for the phlebitis, patients usually also suffer from fever.

Deep vein inflammation usually occurs in the leg and pelvis. There is pain and a feeling of tension. A bluish discoloration of the skin is characteristic. The vessels stand out prominently. Swelling can be identified in contrast to superficial inflammation.

The symptoms of phlebitis usually subside after a few days. Anyone who has no previous illnesses has then recovered. Severe cases last longer and are often related to varicose veins. Venous thrombosis also causes pain for weeks.


If it is a common phlebitis, complications rarely occur. This form of thrombophlebitis usually heals without consequences. However, if there is a pronounced varicose vein, surgical therapy is usually required. One of the greatest risks of phlebitis in superficial veins is that the inflammatory process spreads to the deeper venous system.

If this is affected, there is an increased risk of a blood clot, which doctors call thrombosis. In extreme cases, the blood clot penetrates the bloodstream to the lungs, which can then result in a blockage of vessels or a pulmonary embolism. In the worst case, this ends with the death of the patient.

In addition to the pulmonary embolism, a heart attack or a stroke are also possible. In order to avoid complications such as a pulmonary embolism, it is important to detect and treat the inflammation of the veins in good time. In around 30 percent of all patients suffering from superficial phlebitis, the deep vein system is impaired.

The infection of the veins is also one of the dangerous effects of phlebitis. In most cases, this is a bacterial infection. It often shows up at the puncture sites of permanent cannulas. It is noticeable by chills and fever. Most patients then require treatment in a hospital.

When should you go to the doctor?

In the case of phlebitis, the patient should always consult a doctor. Although phlebitis can heal on its own in some cases, this disease should always be treated by a doctor to prevent further complications. As soon as the first signs or symptoms of the disease appear, the affected person should contact a doctor. Early detection and treatment of this disease always has a positive effect on the further course of the symptoms.

A doctor should be contacted for phlebitis if the affected person suffers from a rash on the skin. This is usually associated with itching and is also painful. In severe cases, it can also lead to fever or other symptoms of a cold. Likewise, a blue discoloration of the skin can also indicate phlebitis and should be examined by a doctor if it persists for a longer period of time. The disease can usually be treated well by a general practitioner, so that the life expectancy of the affected person is not reduced.

Treatment & Therapy

In the therapy of phlebitis, in addition to special drugs that inhibit the inflammatory processes in the vein, relieve pain and are considered internal use, external procedures are also used. In this regard, a zinc glue bandage or bandages with heparin ointment can be used to reduce the inflammation in phlebitis.

In addition, it is therapeutically important to wear compression stockings to improve and support blood return from the veins. Minimally invasive surgical procedures can remove a blood clot. The focus of the therapeutic care, which also includes the follow-up treatment of a survived phlebitis, is the avoidance of a pulmonary embolism.

In this context, depending on the stage of the phlebitis, it can also be important to stay in bed for a short time. This is particularly the case with newly formed thromboses in the thighs.


In order to prevent phlebitis, it makes sense to avoid being overweight and to do as much physical exercise as possible. The consumption of nicotine and alcohol should be limited or avoided and regular check-ups should be carried out for some medications, such as the contraceptive pill.

Adequate fluid intake and prophylaxis with heparin after surgery are also good prophylaxis against phlebitis. In principle, patients who live with a high risk of developing another thrombosis are also treated preventively with the anticoagulant heparin. In addition to drinking plenty of fluids, it is also important to exercise and walk during the summer months.


In most cases, no direct or special aftercare measures are necessary in the case of phlebitis. The disease can usually be treated relatively well, so that there are no further complications or symptoms. However, the earlier the phlebitis is detected, the better the further course of the disease is usually. Those affected should therefore ideally consult a doctor as soon as the first symptoms and signs appear.

Many of those affected are dependent on taking various medications. It is always important to ensure that it is taken regularly and that the dosage is correct in order to counteract the symptoms properly and permanently. In addition, those affected should wear compression stockings to completely heal the phlebitis.

If anything is unclear, if you have any questions or if you have any side effects, you should first consult a doctor. The sufferer should generally rest and rest with this disease, including strict bed rest in severe cases. The support and help of one’s own family can also be very helpful and alleviate the symptoms. The phlebitis usually does not reduce the life expectancy of the person affected.

You can do that yourself

There are some home remedies that can help with phlebitis. Home remedies that can be used to cool and reverse the inflammation are, for example, quark wraps. For this, cold quark should be applied to the affected areas as thick as a finger or quark pure. Such wraps have a decongestant and anti-inflammatory effect.

But not only quark, also medical alcohol and apple cider vinegar can be used for soothing cooling in phlebitis. But first they should be diluted with water. Cloths are then soaked in the diluted liquid and wrapped around the affected areas. The effect is very relaxing and noticeably relieves the symptoms of phlebitis. Clay can also be used as a soothing clay pack. The clay has a particularly anti-inflammatory and decongestant effect. It should be mixed with water until it becomes a paste and then applied to the affected areas as thick as a finger.

Since many smaller blood clots are formed during phlebitis, it is important to prevent them from becoming larger. This can be achieved by accelerating blood circulation. The use of compression bandages or support stockings can help here. If possible, more exercise should be incorporated into everyday life. Gentle walking, swimming, cycling and walking are best for phlebitis.