As anyone who has been bedridden for any period of time can tell you, bedsores are one of the unfortunate parts of the experience. Also known as pressure sores or decubits ulcers, they begin as sensitive, red patches of skin that eventually become sores or ulcers. Bedsores develop on weight-bearing parts of the body-commonly on the hips, shoulder blades, elbows, base of the spine, knees, ankles, and heels-where the bones are near the skin.
Signs and Symptoms
Areas of red, sensitive skin (in early stages)
Open, ulcerated sores that don't seem to heal (in later stages)
Conventional Medical Treatment
For bedsores to heal, you must keep. weight off of them. Place cushioning at pressure points to help distribute body weight more evenly, thus keeping pressure from building in one spot. Air mattresses, foam pads and specially-designed pads for heels and elbows are available from medical supply stores. Clean ulcerated areas twice daily with an anti-microbial cleanser to keep sores germ-free and speed healing.
Complementary and Alternative Treatments
Nutrition and Supplementation
People who suffer from bedsores are usually deficient in a number of nutrients, especially zinc and vitamins A, E, ata balanced diet of which 70 percent is raw fruits and vegetables. Drink liquids (steam-distilled water, herbal teas, sugar-free Juices) around the clock to keep the colon clean. Eliminate animal fats, junk food, processed foods, fried food, and sugar. Get your fiber from oat bran Or ground flaxseeds. Fiber prevents constipation and absorbs dangerous toxins.
Supplementing your vitamin and mineral in take is very important. Try the following daily suggestions until healing is complete.
vitamin E (400 IU)-improves circulation
zinc (30 mg, not to exceed a total of 100 mg from all supplements)-heals tissues
copper (3 mg)-balances zinc
free-form amino acid complex (as directed on label)-supplies protein needed for healing
mixed carotenoid formula (15,000 IU)-improves skin tissue
vitamin B complex (100 mg twice daily with meals)-reduces stress and aids in healing
vitamin B12(2000 mcg twice daily)
vitamin C (3000 to 10,000 mg in divided doses)-aids in healing, improves circulation, and enhances immune function
vitamin D (400 to 1000 IU)-essential for healing
colloidal silver (apply topically as directed on label)-a natural antibiotic that destroys viruses, fungi, and bacteria; promotes healing
garlic (as directed on label)-a natural antibiotic
kelp (500 to 1000 mg daily)-provides a balance of minerals
vitamin A (25,000 IU for 1 month, then reduce to 5,000 IU; do not exceed 8000 IU daily if you are pregnant)-heals skin tissue
(For an acute condition, take supplements until your symptoms subside. If symptoms persist, seek the advice of your health care provider. For a chronic condition, consult your health care provider regarding the duration of treatment.)
To clean sores and promote healing, dab a solution of 4 drops of tea treeoil and 1 cup of water over the affected area.
Herbal therapists recommend external application of the following therapeutic herbs, under appropnate supervision: echinacea, goldenseal, myrrh gum, pau d'arco, slippery elm.
Herbal products are available in health food stores and in some pharmacies and supermarkets. Follow package for specific directions.
To help heal bedsores, apply Calendula ointment to the affected skin.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture Acupuncture can be used to improve blood and energy flow to the affected area-including the shoulder blades, buttocks, and hips-which may help bedsores heal faster. Acupuncture also can be used to relieve the pain associated with this condition.
Chinese Herbal Therapy There are many Chinese herbs that can speed healing and lessen the pain of bedsores, including Bletilla Striata, which can be mixed into an ointment with sesame oil and applied to the affected area 2 to 3 times a day. Some herbalists may add powdered amethyst to this preparation to enhance its curative properties.
Additionally, Lien Chiao Pai Th Pien is a skin-healing formula that can be found at health food or herb stores; follow package instructions (and do not use it during pregnancy).