What are ulcers?

Ulcers are sores that heal at a slow pace and, in some cases, keep reoccurring. These ulcers can be inside or outside the body. The reasons for their appearance and the symptoms that accompany them are usually determined by their underlying causes. They can appear anywhere in the body, i.e., from the lining of the stomach to the outer layer of skin. The symptoms of ulcers are- bloating, burping, changes in appetite, nausea, weight loss, vomiting, leg pain, hairless skin, red/yellow/black sores, swelling, scabbing, diarrhea, etc. 

What are healing ulcers?

Healing ulcers are the ones that heal within the span of 12 weeks, whenever you experience an injury or part of the skin or organ that desiccates due to some underlying issue. In the initial stage, i.e., the inflammatory stage, the reflexes help in healing the ulcer by preventing the decay or preventing the progression of the ulcer. The release of inflammatory mediators from the mast cells promotes ulcer healing.

The features of healing ulcers

  1. Bleeding/Scabbing

Ulcers like pressure ulcers do not bleed, but cuts and puncture wounds go through three stages: bleeding, clotting, and scabbing. It signifies that the ulcer will bleed and clot within a few minutes, and there will be scabbing when the blood has dried.

  1. Swelling

After scab development, the body’s immune system begins to repair the wound through swelling and tenderness. Swelling indicates that your body’s immune system is functioning appropriately and mending your wound.

  1. Growth of new tissues

When the swelling decreases, tissues grow over the wound, which might take many weeks in the case of mild wounds. This is the stage during which the body heals damaged blood vessels and tissues.

  1. Scarring

This is the last stage of wound healing, which can continue for up to two years. The first scab will be replaced with a scar. If the damage is small, the scar will disappear with time.

Ayurveda for healing ulcers

Ayurveda classifies healing ulcers into three types depending on the vitiated doshas;

  1. Vata-type ulcers

It is caused due to Vata vitiating lifestyle habits. Vata ulcers develop as a result of dryness of the mucous membranes of the stomach and small intestine. Vata enters the rasa dhatu of the anna vaha srota, according to Ayurveda. A dry membrane cannot protect the underlying tissue from the digestive system’s typical or even mild amounts of acid.

The mucous membrane lining the stomach and intestinal wall is rebuilt to treat this disorder. As a result, a wet or oily diet is advantageous. Cooked meals and herbs with demulcent properties aid in hydrating the rasa dhatu. Herbs like licorice and slippery elm give symptom alleviation as well as long-term healing.

  1. Pitta-type ulcers

It is caused due to Pitta vitiated lifestyle habits. Excess acid discharges cause Pitta-type ulcers. These discharges overwhelm the gut lining, protecting mucous secretions. The symptoms of hyperacidity begin with burning and progress to ulceration. This is a sign that Pitta has entered the rasa dhatu of the anna vaha srota.

A cooling diet decreases acid secretions. Acid secretions are reduced by avoiding spicy spices and eating meals with sweet and bitter flavors. Furthermore, the mucous membrane should be repaired by eating wet, greasy meals with a sweet flavor. As a result, mixtures of bitter and sweet herbs are very effective.

What are non-healing ulcers?

Chronic ulcers, also known as non-healing ulcers, are defined as spontaneous or traumatic lesions, typically in the lower extremities. These are unresponsive to initial therapy or persist despite appropriate care and do not heal within a defined time period and have an underlying etiology that may be related to systemic disease or local disorders. The types of non-healing wounds are venous, diabetic, arterial, pressure, and traumatic ulcers. 

The features of non-healing ulcers

  1. Foul Odor

In the case of non-healing or chronic wounds, a weird or unpleasant odor from the site may suggest dead tissue.

  1. Thick discharge

In case of infections, there may be white, yellow, or green colored discharge, which may give a foul odor. 

  1. Swelling or redness

In the early stages of wound healing, you may see swelling or redness in the afflicted region, but this normally resolves within a few days.

  1. Fever

Fever can be caused by both viral and bacterial illnesses. If the fever exceeds 100 degrees F for more than four hours, more serious consequences may occur.

  1. Hot skin

When there is an infection in or near the afflicted areas, the body’s immune system sends out white blood cells to combat the germs. The process creates heat, which raises the temperature of the surrounding skin.

Causes of non-healing ulcers

The causes of non-healing ulcers are-

  • Problems with blood supply or drainage
  • Nerve damage
  • Excess pressure
  • Cancer 
  • Infections

Ayurveda for non-healing ulcers

In Ayurveda, Chronic ulcers are known as Dushta Vruna. In normal individuals, the natural process tends to heal Vruna and protect them from Dosha Dushti. But in several cases, underlying conditions like Madhumeha (Diabetes) hinder the natural course of wound healing. This is due to vitiation of doshas.

Ayurveda provides steps to heal chronic ulcers in a natural way.

  1. Purification of the body with Ayurvedic Panchakarma Therapy, especially Vamana (medicated emesis) and Virechana (purgation).
  2. Awagaha sweda, Prakshalana, Lepa and Bandana
  3. Eating – A precise and stringent diet plan is followed throughout the therapy process.

Thus, the above context makes the difference between healing and non-healing wounds clear.

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