DVT Recovery: Life After DVT

Having a DVT can be an unexpected and traumatic experience. In addition to dealing with what can be a very painful condition, you may also feel scared about how it could affect your health and worried about what comes next. If it’s not your first DVT, you may even feel angry or frustrated that it’s happening again. But we hope that providing some answers to common questions and concerns about life after a DVT may help you face the next few months of DVT recovery with more confidence.

  • How long will I have to take a blood thinner?
    • The typical duration of treatment for a DVT is at least six months. Depending on your risk factors, your healthcare professional may recommend a shorter or longer duration of treatment. If your risk factors put you at ongoing risk for another DVT, your healthcare professional may recommend that you stay on a blood thinner like XARELTO®.
  • How do I know if I’m on the right blood thinner?
    • You may have been prescribed a blood thinner in the doctor’s office or hospital, but it’s not too late to understand all your options. Take a look at how different blood thinners compare for treating a DVT, and talk to your healthcare professional if you’d like to switch.
  • When will my leg stop hurting?
    • Most people will start feeling better within a few days of starting treatment with a blood thinner. But around half of people who have had a DVT will experience some degree of chronic discomfort and around 15% of people will experience moderate to severe chronic pain and swelling. This is called post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) and is caused partly by damage or leftover scar tissue inside the vein. Talk to your healthcare professional about using graduated compression stockings to help ease pain and swelling.
  • Will moving around make it worse?
    • While there is a risk within the first month of a DVT breaking off and becoming a pulmonary embolism (PE), normal physical activity is typically encouraged. There is no increased risk of a DVT becoming a PE in someone who maintains their daily activities compared with someone who doesn’t. Listen to your body and discuss your level of physical activity with your healthcare professional.
  • What else can I do to make adjusting to life after a DVT easier?
    • You may be experiencing stress, anxiety, or fear of having another DVT. This is completely normal, and often these feelings subside after a while. Leaning on friends and family during your recovery can help, as can reaching out to other people going through the same thing. Read more about caring for your well-being after a DVT, or check out some support groups.
  • This is not the first time I’ve had a DVT. What does that mean?