What is an Ulcer Dressing?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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An ulcer dressing is a cover which fits over an ulcer in order to allow healing and protect it from bacterial infection. They may be made from fabric or polyurethane, and are sometimes coated with medication or other solutions in order to provide a healing environment. Some varieties also form a gel barrier which coats the ulcer and prevents foreign matter like dirt, dust, and bacteria from entering.

The doctor of any given patient will decide the type of ulcer dressing needed for the particular wound. Some areas of the body may require a particular type of dressing to promote proper healing. This dressing often needs to be changed regularly and replaced with clean materials, especially while it is raw, bleeding, or oozing.

An ulcer is an open area of the skin where the tissue is no longer able to perform its required duties. They can occur on the inside of the stomach, in the mouth, on the cornea of the eye, in veins, and on or near the genitals. Each type will require a different treatment. Some may not require an ulcer dressing at all, and some may worsen or lead to infection without proper care. Patients who believe they have an ulcer of any sort should speak with a doctor about treatment options.


The most common risk factor in an open wound without an ulcer dressing is infection. Bacteria can easily enter into any break in the skin and begin to multiply. This is especially true of genital and mouth ulcers. If an ulcer is oozing or bleeding, this material is often contagious, although this depends on the cause of the ulcers. Some may be present due to virus or another health condition, while others are caused by burns or injuries.

An ulcer dressing is usually made to fit the size of the wound and may be wrapped around the skin to keep it in place, although sometimes it may be taped or connected with another adhesive. Many contain medication or an antiseptic to kill bacteria before it can cause a problem.


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