Venous ulcer is an open sore present on the inner side of the legs near the ankles, though it can appear at any place below your knee to the ankle. The patient with a non-healing venous ulcer often has a history of having varicose veins with swelling of the legs. It is one of the most common causes of ulcers on the legs observed in elderly people. A non-healing ulcer is one that fails to heal in 3 months despite the treatment. Patients could report having ulcers for years together. It significantly affects the quality of life of the patient due to the pain, bad odor, and discharge from the wound.
What Causes a Person to Develop a Non-Healing Venous Ulcer?
Here are some common causes of a non-healing venous ulcer.
- Improper Venous Drainage:
Improper venous drainage is the reason that may make you develop venous ulcers. There are valves present in the veins of the legs. These valves prevent the blood from flowing back into the legs. If these valves do not function properly or the walls of the veins become lax, the blood does not flow upwards, but, due to gravity, accumulates in the legs.
The patients with a blockage in the deep veins of the legs, who stand for a long time, or have a lack of physical activity, also experience the pooling of blood in their legs.
In obese people, increased fat inside the abdomen creates pressure on the veins causing backflow of the blood into the foot and hence the pooling of blood in the legs. This pooling of blood in the feet causes increased pressure in the tissues. Also, there is leaking of inflammatory fluid in the surrounding tissues causing damage.
- Recurrent Infections:
In addition to this, getting recurrent infections in the wound could hamper the healing process.
Diabetics have slow wound healing due to increased blood sugar levels. Also, there is a hardening of the arteries causing narrowing and hence an inadequate supply of blood, nutrition, and oxygen to the tissues that delay wound healing.
- Protein Malnutrition:
The patients with protein malnutrition could also have delayed wound healing. A randomized control trial was done by Van Anholt. His study included 43 patients with non-healing ulcers of which 22 patients received high protein Arginine-based supplements along with the regular diet and 21 received a regular diet. At the end of the study, patients who received Arginine supplements showed an improved rate of wound healing.
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How does a Venous Ulcer Appear?
The process starts with the swelling of the foot, particularly around the ankles followed by discoloration of the skin. It will turn dark, dry hard, and itchy. Gradually, with an injury, a small ulcer develops. It is shallow with irregular edges and a lot of oozing and pain and swelling of the leg.
A long-standing ulcer may get infected and emit a foul odor (particularly in case of diabetics)
How is the Venous Ulcer Diagnosed?
The diagnosis is made through the history given by the patient and the examination of the lesions. The doctor may order a Doppler study to know about the condition of the blood flow in the arteries and veins.
Treatment for Venous Ulcer:
As the saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine, consult the doctor immediately when you see the ulcer formation. Along with treating the ulcer, the doctor will also identify and treat the underlying cause of ulcers.
What can You do Prevent Venous Ulcers?
Here are some helpful tips which can help you prevent venous ulcers.
- Since the ulceration is due to pooling of the blood in the legs, it is important that, whenever possible, you sit/sleep with the leg elevated with the help of pillows. In a sleeping position, the legs should be above the level of your heart.
- Wear compression stockings. These are special stockings meant to apply gentle pressure on your legs to improve blood circulation.
- Exercise: Exercises like cycling, walking, and stretching of thigh and calf muscles could improve the tone of muscles and hence improve the blood circulation to the legs.
- Reduce weight
- Avoid standing for a long time at a stretch.
Homeopathic Medicines for Non-Healing Ulcers:
Homeopathy has a very good scope in the treatment of non-healing ulcers. If taken in the combination of therapies addressing the main cause of the ulcer, homeopathic treatment could help to stimulate the body’s healing mechanism to repair the ulcer. Also, it can help prevent the increase in the size of the ulcer, infection, and treat the super-added infection if present.
Below are the most commonly indicated remedies for non-healing ulcers
- Merc sol: It is a very commonly indicated medicine for non-healing ulcers. The patients who require Merc-Sol have ulcers that are irregular in shape with ill-defined edges, pimples around the ulcers, and itching, which is increased by the warmth of bed indicate this remedy. Foul-smelling discharges from the ulcers, greenish pus streaked with blood, and experiencing weakness and trembling with least exertion indicate this remedy. This remedy can help the patient of non-healing ulcer who sweats a lot, has increased thirst with a lot of salivation, is sensitive to the heat as well as cold, and suffers from the sore pain.
- Nitric acid: This homeopathic remedy is indicated for the patients who have ulcers that bleed easily, the margins of ulcers are zig-zag with a red base that looks like raw flesh, and the ulcer and surrounding skin is sensitive with pricking pain as if from a splinter in the ulcers. Discharges from the ulcer are very offensive. Also, Nitric Acid is indicated for the ulcers that appear in the mouth and genitals. The patient is very sensitive to cold and very easily prone to get loose motions.
- Fluoric acid: Fluoric acid is indicated for cases where the patient has varicose veins along with ulcers over tibia bone, the ulcers have red edges fluid-filled blisters around them, and when they impart sensation as if the burning vapor is coming out from the pores of the skin. When the patient has a great desire for spicy food and the cold water, the patient’s perspiration has a sour offensive odor, and when the patient cannot tolerate warmth and is aggravated by it and feels better by cold, Fluoric acid is recommended.
- Gun powder: Gun powder is a lesser-known but very good medicine for wound healing, particularly for those wounds with easy pus formation and that refuse to heal.
- Tarentula Cubensis: This is very good medicine for ulcers with purplish hue with burning and stinging pains and ulcers with a lot of inflammation and septic conditions.
- Calendula: Calendula could be used as an external application for cleaning the ulcer and dressing it. It promotes the formation of healthy granulation tissue and speeds up the wound healing process. It is indicated for non-healing ulcers with a red base and raised edges.
Click on this link to read about the case of a non–healing ulcer of 20 years treated at Lifeforce with Tarentula Cub. The patient responded to the treatment in 6 months. (Link for the case study of a non–healing ulcer on lifeforce website – https://www.askdrshah.com/casestudies.aspx?CS_ID=8263)
Now that you know how effective homeopathy is in treating non-healing venous ulcers, count on homeopathy without a second thought if any time you happen to suffer from an ulcer.