Written by Lisa Allen, MD
Skin ulcer is a shallow type of sore which starts growing as a result of insufficient blood flow between your legs and heart. Normally it appears on feet and legs, but it can also grow on belly, back and mucus membrane.
Shape of skin ulcer is mostly round with a crate at the center. It is often accompanied with frequent feverish conditions. The growth of ulcer happens in four stages.
- Red spots appear on the skin with supple tissues beneath them.
- Red spots start swelling into dark red bumps.
- Top layer skin cells start withering away, exposing the inner layers containing fat substances.
- The wound grows deeper, exposing the muscles layer. This is normally the chronic stage of skin ulcer called gangrene (in case of leg and feet).
Ulcer wounds are mostly porous in nature with bleeding of fluid and blood. Infections during ulcer growth can further aggravate the pain and irritation.
Skin Ulcer Causes
- Skin ulcers on legs could be due to venous diseases. Poor functioning of nerves with faulty valves often lead to ulcer conditions. Rise in blood pressure can result in thinning of upper skin layers, leading to formation of skin ulcer. Swelling in the ankles is another common symptom of ulcer in legs. Ulcer wounds won’t stop with pain and bleeding. Intensity of pain increases with time. The bleeding turns into discharge of contaminated fluids. Swelling starts spreading to other areas of skin.
- Diabetes is another known cause of skin ulcers. They are normally restricted to toes, feet and legs. Some of the diabetic ulcers do heal without any medical intervention during their initial stages. However they pose a risk of acquiring infections which can further increase the intensity of sores.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of joints) is also a cause of skin ulcer. When the joints swell they make the surrounding skin weak. Excess blood pressure can cause the skin layers to develop ulcer symptoms over a period of time.
- Skin cancer could be one of the other causes of skin ulcer in some cases called basal skin carcinoma. It normally develops in the mouth and neck regions below the ears.
Diagnosis And Skin Ulcer Treatment
- Blood test is the primary testing method of diagnosing skin ulcer. Complete blood count is one method of blood test for determining the presence of skin ulcer. The other method is C reactive protein.
- Skin biopsy is one method of determining the nature and intensity of skin ulcer by testing the cells and tissues from the affected zone. It is carried out in order to identify the type of bacteria responsible for the skin ulcer. It helps in planning the method of treatment.
- X-Ray or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is also used to scan the nature and intensity of skin ulcer. Most of the times doctor use the combination of scan and biopsy to arrive at accurate solutions for the skin ulcer.
Treatment of skin ulcer can be done with the help of wound dressing with hydrocolloid or alginate. The former is made of gel while the latter is made from seaweed, sodium and calcium. They help in healing the ulcers over time.
However these treatments are preferred when the ulcer is in initial or intermediate stages. If the treatment shows no improvements you need to consult your dermatologist and get advised for alternate medicine.
Even in cases when you experience irritations or other symptoms of side effects due to the medications, you need to consult your dermatologist immediately. He will be able to change your medicines or the course of treatment.
Diet During Skin Ulcer Treatment
Food supplements like vitamin C, proteins and minerals like zinc and iron can help in increasing the pace of skin ulcer wound healing. Co-enzymes of vitamin B compounds like thiamine B1, Pantothenic acid B5 (Vitamin B5) and Pyroxidine B6 (Vitamin B6) can be helpful.
Thiamine B1 can be found in beef, eggs, fork, rice, pasta breads and flour etc. Vitamin B1 can be found in mushrooms, cheese, oily fish, avocados and eggs etc. Vitamin B6 can be found in sunflower seeds, cooked tuna fish, turkey, chicken and lean pork etc.
Debridement Treatment For Skin Ulcer
This is the process of taking out the dead skin cell layers from the skin ulcer. The methods of removal can be LASER, surgical or through ultrasound treatments. Surgery is the last preferred treatment method and it is reserved for chronic cases.
Treatment For Bikini Line Skin Ulcer
It is also called as pubic area ulcer. Initially they will be small in size numbers with little or no pain. However they can grow in numbers and size rapidly, increasing the pain. Soon they turn into blisters with bleeding of blood and pus. The treatment methods for this type of ulcer are similar to those others explained above.
Basics of Skin Ulcer Nursing Care Plan
This is a program aimed at taking preventive care treatments for potential skin ulcer treatments and also those who have recovered from the disease. In most cases they are organized at hospitals and health care centers.
- Here potential patients (people with diabetic and rheumatic conditions etc) are advised about methods to avoid wounds on their skin during everyday life.
- Diet patterns are also advised in the program. Patients learn to change their lifestyle which keeps them away from the risk of contacting skin ulcer in the future.
The chances of skin ulcer in elderly are relatively high. It is due to the aging and tender skin and frequent variation of blood pressure. The other causes of increased skin ulcer probability among the elders are hypertension and diabetes.
Note: It is suggested that you don’t try any DIY methods for treating skin ulcers as it could be highly risky in nature. The day you observe the first symptoms of skin ulcer it is better to consult your dermatologist and seek help. He will be able to treat it in a methodical way.