A gangrene is a patch of discoloration on the skin caused by a massive number of cell death in the area. The death of cells is caused by various factors, but one of the most common is the lack of blood supply. The lack of blood brings about lack of oxygen, causing the cells to destroy themselves and each other one by one.
Cell death is a dangerous occurrence that causes, even more, deaths to adjacent healthy cells. This is the main reason why gangrene spreads. If a large part of the body, say the foot, for instance, is covered entirely with gangrene, the only reliable cure would be complicated surgeries or amputation.
Gangrene is common among diabetic patients who have developed an injury, such as a diabetic foot ulcer, and the complications brought upon by diabetes prevents the wound from healing. This makes the injury very vulnerable to infection, and most of the times, a gangrene is always preceded by infection.
As said before, a serious gangrene may only be treated by complicated surgeries and the worsts may have no cure other than to amputate the entire limb in order to prevent the continuing cell death from spreading to the other parts of the body. These options are very much what we’d like to avoid due to reasons like fear of surgeries, financial problems, and inept surgeons or doctors. And surely none of us would like to lose a limb. But there is no need to worry. As long as gangrenous wounds are treated as they appear, there won’t be any need for surgery.
They say that prevention is better than cure. But there are times when bacteria and germs persist and infect the wound anyway. When this happens, don’t wait another moment, for a moment of delay is a moment closer to surgery. If a gangrenous wound is left neglected or without proper care, it may spread and worsen to the point where amputation will be needed. And none of us need to go through that.
Here are ways you can treat a gangrene without having to go through surgery:
Leeches – Many of you might find this repulsive and would look past this at first read. But applying leeches is one of the most effective ways in curing wounds. In fact, it was used so often in the medieval times to treat the wounds of soldiers and even illnesses. Leeches may not be easy to find, but they can be ordered online if you do not live close to their habitat. Leeches used for medicinal purposes are called Hirudo Medicinalis. Leeches such as these are applied to the place of gangrened skins, where they will suck out the dry, dead skin while leaving the healthy ones completely unharmed. This method of healing is called “Leech Therapy” and works not only on gangrene but on normal and infected wounds as well.
Maggots – Using maggots for treatment works similarly to the leech therapy. The only difference is that Maggot Therapy, also known as Larval Debridement Therapy, required the assistance of an experienced doctor, and the use of only certain types of maggots. This is because that maggots need to be disinfected before they are applied to the wound and that the larvae chosen are those that do not eat live tissues. Fly larvae are applied on the gangrene wound, where they will infest and feed on the dead skin. Maggot therapy is said to be more precise than a normal surgical operation and can make a gangrenous wound heal in a few days. It also works on diabetic foot ulcers, venous stasis foot ulcers, and other non-healing, soft tissue wounds.
Antibiotic Ointments – Gangrenous wounds can’t be cured by simple antibiotic ointments, but it can’t be prevented from worsening. There are a lot of antibiotic ointments available specifically for the treatment of gangrene and infectious wounds. Their effects vary among types, but most of these ointments are designed to prevent the spread of gangrene by stopping the continuous cell deaths. They also cleanse the wound of germs trying to infect it. These antibiotic treatments may be bought from a local pharmacy or convenience store, but it would be more advisable to consult a doctor for prescriptions.
Dressing The Wound – From broken bones to surgical wounds, all injuries need to be dressed to aid the healing process and to prevent it from becoming worse. For a gangrenous wound, dressings provide protection against bacteria in the air or from direct touch. A medical gauze is used to dress the gangrene, and it must be applied with antibacterial creams or antiseptics if available. This is to make sure that the wound stays safe even when germs are capable of slipping through the medical gauze.