Bedsores also called pressure sores or pressure ulcers are injuries to skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin. Bedsores most often develop on skin that covers bony areas of the body, such as the heels, ankles, hips and tailbone.
Pressure sores occur when there is too much pressure on the skin for too long. This reduces blood flow to the area. Without enough blood, the skin can die and a sore may form.
You are more likely to get a pressure sore if you:
- Use a wheelchair or stay in bed for a long time
- Are an older adult
- Cannot move certain parts of your body without help
- Have a disease that affects blood flow, including diabetes or vascular disease
- Have Alzheimer disease or another condition that affects your mental state
- Have fragile skin
- Cannot control your bladder or bowels
- Do not get enough nutrition
Bedsores fall into one of four stages based on their severity. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, a professional organization that promotes the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers, defines each stage as follows:
The beginning stage of a pressure sore has the following characteristics:
- The skin is not broken.
- The skin appears red on people with lighter skin color, and the skin doesn’t briefly lighten (blanch) when touched.
- On people with darker skin, the skin may show discoloration, and it doesn’t blanch when touched.
- The site may be tender, painful, firm, soft, warm or cool compared with the surrounding skin.
At stage II:
- The outer layer of skin (epidermis) and part of the underlying layer of skin (dermis) is damaged or lost.
- The wound may be shallow and pinkish or red.
- The wound may look like a fluid-filled blister or a ruptured blister.
At stage III, the ulcer is a deep wound:
- The loss of skin usually exposes some fat.
- The ulcer looks crater-like.
- The bottom of the wound may have some yellowish dead tissue.
- The damage may extend beyond the primary wound below layers of healthy skin.
A stage IV ulcer shows large-scale loss of tissue:
- The wound may expose muscle, bone or tendons.
- The bottom of the wound likely contains dead tissue that’s yellowish or dark and crusty.
- The damage often extends beyond the primary wound below layers of healthy skin.
A pressure ulcer is considered unstageable if its surface is covered with yellow, brown, black or dead tissue. It’s not possible to see how deep the wound is.
Treatment & Prevention
Treatment for pressure ulcers includes the use of dressings, creams and gels designed to speed up the healing process and relieve pressure. Surgery is sometimes recommended for the most serious cases.
For some people, pressure ulcers are an inconvenience that require minor nursing care. For others, they can be serious and lead to life-threatening complications, such as blood poisoning or gangrene.
Pressure ulcers can be unpleasant, upsetting and challenging to treat. Therefore, a range of techniques is used to prevent them developing in the first place. These include:
- regularly changing a person’s position
- using equipment to protect vulnerable parts of the body – such as specially designed mattresses and cushions
Some of the home remedies that need to be followed before the occurrence of sores and throughout the course of development of bed sores are explained below.
To help bed sores heal faster, clean the sores with saline water. Bed sores that are not cleaned properly are more prone to infection and inflammation. Saline water will reduce excess fluid and also get rid of loose dead skin.
Turmeric accelerates the healing process of bed sores. It also has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant properties that help your body deal with the symptoms and fight infection.
Sugar and Honey
Another very effective home remedy for bed sores is a mixture of sugar and honey. Applying the mixture on the affected area two times every day can cure sores quickly. The mixture is also helpful in removing any poison from the sores and preventing any infection from developing.
Aloe vera can be used to control infection in bed sores. Due to its healing and soothing properties, it can also promote healing. Plus, it keeps the affected skin moisturized, which ensures quick recovery.
Being rich in medium-chain fatty acids, coconut oil will keep your skin healthy and protect it from damage caused by constant pressure. Plus, massaging it onto your body will improve blood circulation.
In alternative medicine, the herb goldenseal is often recommended for treating bed sores. It provides a soothing effect on the sores and also helps reduce pain and inflammation. Plus, its antiseptic properties help prevent infection.
Another herbal treatment for bed sores popular in alternative medicine is comfrey. Both the root and leaves of comfrey are rich in medicinal properties that can help in regeneration of the tissues. It can also reduce pain and inflammation.
As vitamin C is necessary for the health of skin and blood vessels, it is often recommended for those suffering from bed sores. Also, it is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that help heal the skin quickly and prevent damage to the tissues.
Zinc is an important mineral that supports the immune system and promotes wound healing by repairing damaged skin tissues. It is also essential for regular cell growth and regeneration. Plus, infections and deteriorations of bed sores can be prevented by taking an adequate amount of zinc.
Turmeric Root and Hazel
Bed sores can be treated with this mixture by washing the affected area two to four times a day. It provides great relief from itchiness and pain caused by the bed sores. This is a simple home remedy that many people use to naturally treat the skin ulcers.
This is a very effective remedy for bed sores. Experts recommend applying Vitamin E oil to the areas affected by the sores as well as the entire body to gain relief. Apart from relieving pain and itchiness, it makes the skin smooth and supple.
A healthy and well-balanced diet is important to treat bed sores. A patient should have a daily diet that is rich in Vitamins A, B, C, D and E. Zinc and iron are important nutrients for the treatment of bed sores as well. Experts also advise patients with bed sores to eat foods that are rich in fiber.
This is an age-old remedy that is known to be highly effective in treating bed sores. It helps in keeping the skin nice and moist and heals the bed sores. Apply an adequate amount of the jelly to a sterile bandage and cover the wound. This will make the tissues around the sore regenerate quickly.
Milk Of Magnesia and Iodine
This remedy is one that is used in hospitals to treat patients’ bed sores. It provides quick healing. A mixture of milk of magnesia and iodine needs to be prepared first and then kept aside for about 30 minutes. Once it is ready, it should be applied on the bed sores every few hours on a daily basis.
Slippery Elm and Comfrey Leaves
A mixture of these two natural ingredients does wonders in healing bed sores. It can be made into a paste by taking equal amounts of slippery elm and comfrey leaves. Apply the paste on the sores and cover with a sterile bandage. The bed sores will be cured the next day when the paste is left overnight.
Talcum or Baby Powder
Applying talcum or baby powder can provide great relief for those who suffer from bed sores. It should be applied on the areas that are put under the most pressure or on the sores themselves. By preventing moisture, it stops sores from multiplying and prevents infection as well. Applying talcum or baby powder on the sores after cleaning them with a disinfectant twice a day will heal them.
A relaxing massage can do wonders for the treatment of bed sores. It improves blood circulation and prevents sores. It also helps in healing them. A gentle massage every day is recommended. You can use coconut oil, mustard oil, olive oil, etc. Make sure you don’t apply pressure to the bed sores.
This is a great home remedy for treating bed sores. The affected areas of the body should be sprayed with Lysol using a spray bottle. This should be done twice or thrice a day. It will eliminate the germs that cause infection and also speed up the healing process. This is an effective remedy that is commonly used to treat this problem.
This is another soothing home remedy that can be used to treat bed sores. The “milk” of papaya can be found in its tree trunk or from the fruit while it is still green. Using a cloth soaked in the milk, apply it to the bed sores three times a day to gain relief from pain and itchiness. It will also prevent the sores from getting worse.
Myrrh and Witch Hazel
This effective remedy works extremely well in the treatment of bed sores. Witch hazel has astringent properties while myrrh acts as a resin. Cleaning bed sores with a mixture of these two components two to four times daily will heal them fast and prevent infection.