When wounds won’t heal, most doctors blame it on diabetes. And in many cases, they’re right. But that’s not always the case. If you have a wound that refuses to heal and you have no sign of diabetes, the reason could be an autoimmune disease. What’s more, there’s an easy way to help it heal up quickly.
A rheumatologist at Georgetown University Medical Center noticed a strange phenomenon in her patients with autoimmune diseases. Those who had open wounds healed slower than expected.
In fact, Victoria Shanmugam, MD found that the wounds of people with autoimmune diseases healed even slower than those of diabetics. So Dr. Shanmugam and her team of researchers went to a high-volume wound clinic at Georgetown University Hospital and reviewed the charts of its patients. They looked at patients who suffered with open wounds (usually leg ulcers) during a three-month period in 2009. Only 49% of the 340 patients had diabetes. Nothing surprising about those figures.
“But what was surprising,” said Dr. Shanmugam, “is that 23% had underlying autoimmune diseases, and the connection between these relatively rare disorders and wounds that don’t heal is under-recognized.”
Most of the 78 patients with open wounds and an autoimmune disease suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or livedoid vasculopathy. The latter is a type of vascular disease.
To make matters worse, skin grafts usually fail to work in patients with autoimmune diseases. So what can you do to help these wounds heal? I have two suggestions.
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The first is a new conventional treatment called VitroGro®. VitroGro is a liquid your doctor applies to your wound using a needle-less syringe. The liquid contains a protein that adheres to the wound and aids in healing.
In one study, 92% of the patients experienced partial or complete healing in just 12 weeks. None of their wounds had responded to other conventional treatments. And none of them experienced any side effects from the treatment. VitroGro is relatively new and not widely available. But you can ask your doctor to find it for you.
Another option is honey. But not just any honey. I’ve told you in the past about Manuka honey. Medical professionals have successfully dressed advanced wounds using this honey. These include wounds like leg ulcers as well as skin grafts and burns. So I suggest giving it a try before anything else. It’s inexpensive, it’s effective, it doesn’t have any side effects, and it kills infections. What’s more, no infectious bugs are resistant to it. You can buy commercial medicinal Manuka honey on the Internet or in stores throughout the country.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand