Skip to content

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Select An Article

Gangrene

(continued)
Font Size

Gangrene Types continued...

Gas gangrene: Gas gangrene is rare but dangerous. It occurs when infection develops deep inside the body, such as inside muscles or organs, usually as a result of trauma. The bacteria that causes gas gangrene, called clostridia, release dangerous toxins or poisons that wreak havoc throughout the body, along with gas which can be trapped within body tissue. As the condition progresses, the skin may become pale and gray, and make a crackling sound when pressed, due to the gas within the tissue.  Gas gangrene warrants immediate medical treatment. Without treatment, death can occur within 48 hours. 

Fournier's gangrene: Also a rare condition, Fournier's gangrene is caused by an infection in the genital area. Men are affected more often than women. If the infection gets into the bloodstream, a condition called sepsis, it can be life-threatening.

 

Gangrene Symptoms

You may notice the following symptoms at the site of the dry gangrene: 

  • Dry and shriveled skin that changes color from blue to black and eventually sloughs off
  • Cold and numb skin
  • Pain may or may not be present 

Symptoms of wet gangrene may include: 

  • Swelling and pain at the site of infection
  • Change in skin color from red to brown to black
  • Blisters or sores that produce a bad-smelling discharge (pus)
  • Fever and feeling unwell
  • A crackling noise that comes from the affected area when pressed 

Internal gangrene usually is painful in the area of the gangrene. For example, a person with gangrene of the appendix or colon would be expected to have severe abdominal pain in the vicinity of the gangrene.

Gangrene Warning

If infection from gangrene gets into the blood, you may develop sepsis and go into septic shock. This can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Symptoms of sepsis may include: 

  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Change in body temperature
  • Light-headedness
  • Body pain and rash
  • Confusion
  • Cold, clammy, and pale skin 

If you think you or a loved one may have sepsis, go to the emergency room immediately.

 

Gangrene Treatments

Treatment for gangrene involves removing the dead tissue, treating and preventing the spread of infection, and treating the condition that caused gangrene to develop. The sooner you receive treatment, the better your chance of recovery. Depending on the type of gangrene, treatment may include: 

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

chafing
Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
 
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
 
itchy skin
Article
shingles rash on skin
Article
 
woman with skin tag
Quiz
Woman washing face
Video
 

Itching for Relief?

Get Help With the

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

woman washing her hair in sink
Video
close up of womans bare neck
Tools
 
Feet
Slideshow
woman with face cream
Quiz