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What is Thrombophlebitis?

Thrombophlebitis is an inflammation of the superficial veins of the body. They are mostly found in the legs. Keep reading to find out what this condition really is and how it can be treated.

Superficial thrombophlebitis refers to the veins that are near the skin. These veins can become blocked by a blood clot and become torturous and ropelike. While the blood clots here are not serious enough to require surgery, they can lead to inflammation and redness on the skin at the site. When this occurs, you will need to be treated to reduce the inflammation and stop any pain you may have associated with it.

Are you at risk for this condition? Well, anyone can develop it. Your chances go up if you have varicose veins already. Varicosities form when valves get weak in the leg veins and lead to backwards flow of blood. Pregnancy can bring about varicose veins.

Accidental injury to the veins can also contribute to increased incidence of blood clots. Birth control bills carry a warning on them that they can cause blood clots in women after a certain age.

Another factor could be an IV site in your vein. There could be a clot that forms at that site while the IV line is still in or not long after it has been removed.

Look for signs and symptoms that you may have the condition. Even without varicosities, you may exhibit pain in your extremity where the thrombophlebitis is occurring. The area may be warm to the touch and red indicating an infection. The vein may also become hard from the presence of the clot and the infection.

If your condition persists, see a doctor. They can take your symptoms and may refer you to a specialist in vascular issues. There are tests that they can perform to assess the condition of your extremity.

A venography takes a picture of your veins to show if there are blood clots present and where they are. Ultrasounds are also done to assess the blood flow through those areas of pain.

If you are experiencing pain, you want it to stop and that is your doctor’s goal as well. He may recommend a few treatments that don’t require the use of medication:

* Compression hose – These are thick stockings that work by compressing tighter at the ankle and loosening up as you reach the calf. They help to stop the blood from flowing backwards in your veins. If you stand in one place for long periods of time they can reduce the pain.

* Compresses on the area - These can reduce pain and inflammation. Use a warm compress to reduce inflammation. Keep your legs elevated as much as possible when not standing to facilitate blood flow.

* Pain killers and NSAIDS are also recommended for pain and inflammation. If symptoms persist, surgical intervention may be needed to handle the situation.

Superficial thrombophlebitis is not life threatening but it can be painful. Consult your doctor if you believe you have it for more information and treatment options.

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