What is Pale Urine?

Pale urine, known medically as pallid or light-colored urination, is a condition where the urine appears less concentrated and more clear than usual. This symptom can be temporary, often influenced by factors like hydration levels or dietary changes. In certain cases, however, persistent pale urine may indicate underlying health issues. Variations like pale and abundant urination or scanty clear urination are sub-symptoms that provide additional clues about an individual's health status.

How does TCM view Pale Urine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches pale urine as a symptom reflecting internal imbalances within the body’s energy systems. In TCM, the color and nature of urine provide valuable insights into the state of the body's vital energy (Qi) and the balance between Yin and Yang.

Conditions like Yang Deficiency or Yin Excess are often considered when analyzing this symptom. TCM practitioners focus on identifying the root cause behind pale urine, aiming to restore harmony and balance within the body.

Root Causes of Pale Urine in TCM

In TCM, pale urine is associated with specific patterns of imbalance. One common cause is Yang Deficiency with or without Empty Yang, where symptoms like general coldness, weakness, and abdominal pain relieved by warmth often accompany pale urine.

Another pattern is Yin Excess, characterized by an absence of thirst, slow movements, and nausea, along with pale urine. These patterns highlight the intricate connections TCM makes between various bodily symptoms and the underlying state of Qi and bodily organs.

Explore below more details about what might cause Pale urine according to TCM.

  • By Syndrome
  • By Organ
Detailed description of the cause

Cold

In TCM "Cold" as a pattern of disharmony refers to a specific type of imbalance within the body's systems, often linked to a deficiency or weakness. It's not about feeling physically cold or having a common cold, but rather a metaphorical description of certain symptoms and underlying conditions. When a TCM practitioner says someone suffers from "Cold," it usually implies that the body's Yang energy, which is warm and active, is insufficient or overpowered by Yin energy, which is cool and passive. Symptoms of Cold in TCM can include a general feeling of coldness, cold limbs, pale complexion, low energy, slow metabolism, and a preference for warmth. ... see more

Cold Patterns That Can Lead to Pale Urine

Common Symptoms: Pale And Abudant Urination Chills Diarrhea Cold Extremities Frequent And Urgent Urination Urination Stopping In The Middle Of Flow Upper Abdominal Heaviness Urethral Heaviness

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Damp-Cold in the Bladder Pale urine, Frequent and urgent urination, Urination stopping in the middle of flow, Upper abdominal heaviness, Urethral heaviness, Cloudy urine... see more Ba Zheng San | Wu Lin San | Shi Wei San
Bladder Deficient and Cold Pale and abudant urination, Frequent urination, Urinary or fecal incontinence, Enuresis, Lower back pain, Dizziness, Nocturia, White urethral discharge, Chills... see more Sang Piao Xiao San | Suo Quan Wan
Small Intestine Deficient and Cold Pale and abudant urination, Borborygmi, Abdominal pain relieved by pressure or eating, Craving for hot beverages, Diarrhea, Cold extremities... see more Xiao Jian Zhong Tang | Shen Ling Bai Zhu San
Lesser Yin Cold Transformation Frequent pale urination, Chills, Diarrhea, Absence of thirst, Desire to lie in fetal position, Low energy, Hypersomnia, Cold extremities... see more Si Ni Tang
Wind-Cold-Water invading the Lungs Scanty clear urination, Ocular swelling, Shiny complexion, Fever, Coughing, Shortness of breath, Aversion to cold, Facial edema... see more Xiao Qing Long Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Yang Deficiency

Yang deficiency in TCM refers to a state where the body's Yang energy, which is responsible for warmth, activity, and function, is weakened or diminished. This pattern of disharmony often arises from chronic illness, aging, or inherent constitutional weakness. Symptoms of Yang deficiency are typically associated with cold and sluggishness, such as a feeling of coldness, cold extremities, pale complexion, low energy or fatigue, and a desire for warmth. Digestive issues like poor appetite, loose stools, and water retention can also be indicative of Yang deficiency.... see more

Yang Deficiency Patterns That Can Lead to Pale Urine

Common Symptoms: Chills Cold Extremities Diarrhea General Weakness Frequent Urination Nocturia Pale Face Aversion To Cold

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang Pale urine, Chills, General cold feeling, Undigested food in stools, General weakness, Abdominal pain relieved by pressure and warmth, Frequent urination, Polyuria, Nocturia, White vaginal discharge... see more Ba Wei Di Huang Wan | You Gui Wan
Kidney Yang Deficiency Pale and abudant urination, Lower back pain, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Weak and cold knees, Lower back coldness, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Low sex drive... see more Ba Wei Di Huang Wan | You Gui Wan | Er Xian Tang | Shen Qi Wan | Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan | Tu Si Zi Wan
Lesser Yin Cold Transformation Frequent pale urination, Chills, Diarrhea, Absence of thirst, Desire to lie in fetal position, Low energy, Hypersomnia, Cold extremities... see more Si Ni Tang
Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing Scanty clear urination, Edema of the lower extremities, Cold sensation in legs and back, Abdominal distention, Lumbar pain, Chills, Palpitations, Shortness of breath, Cold hands, White and watery sputum, Coughing, Asthma... see more Wu Ling San | Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan
Detailed description of the cause

Dampness

"Dampness" in TCM is a concept that describes a pattern of disharmony where the body accumulates excess moisture. Imagine the heavy, sticky feeling you get on a very humid day; that's similar to what dampness feels like internally. It can manifest as a sense of heaviness, bloating, sluggishness, or even a foggy mind. This condition is often thought to arise from environmental factors like living in a damp place, dietary habits that promote moisture in the body, or internal imbalances that hinder the body's ability to process fluids properly. In TCM, dampness can obstruct the normal flow of energy and fluids in the body, leading to various symptoms.... see more

Dampness Patterns That Can Lead to Pale Urine

Common Symptoms: Scanty Clear Urination Shortness Of Breath Coughing Frequent And Urgent Urination Urination Stopping In The Middle Of Flow Upper Abdominal Heaviness Urethral Heaviness Cloudy Urine

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Damp-Cold in the Bladder Pale urine, Frequent and urgent urination, Urination stopping in the middle of flow, Upper abdominal heaviness, Urethral heaviness, Cloudy urine... see more Ba Zheng San | Wu Lin San | Shi Wei San
Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing Scanty clear urination, Edema of the lower extremities, Cold sensation in legs and back, Abdominal distention, Lumbar pain, Chills, Palpitations, Shortness of breath, Cold hands, White and watery sputum, Coughing, Asthma... see more Wu Ling San | Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan
Wind-Cold-Water invading the Lungs Scanty clear urination, Ocular swelling, Shiny complexion, Fever, Coughing, Shortness of breath, Aversion to cold, Facial edema... see more Xiao Qing Long Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Yin Excess

Yin Excess in TCM is a pattern of disharmony characterized by an overabundance of Yin energy, leading to symptoms of dampness and coldness in the body. This condition often results from an imbalance where the cooling, moistening aspects of Yin overshadow the warm, active qualities of Yang energy. Symptoms can include a feeling of heaviness, lethargy, cold sensations, pale complexion, and possibly edema or fluid retention. Digestive issues such as poor appetite, bloating, and loose stools may also be present, reflecting the impact of excess Yin on the body's metabolic processes. Treatment in TCM for Yin Excess focuses on reducing the excess Yin and stimulating Yang energy to restore balance. ... see more

Yin Excess Patterns That Can Lead to Pale Urine

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Yin Excess Pale urine, Absence of thirst, Slow and forceful movement, Epigastric pain worsen by pressure, Polyuria, Feeling of oppression of the chest, Nausea, Excessive vaginal discharge, Lack of appetite, Pain relieved by heat, Chills, Cold extremities... see more Wu Ling San | Wu Pi Yin
Detailed description of the cause

Heat

In TCM "Heat" signifies an excess of Yang energy, leading to an imbalance where heat predominates over the body's cool Yin aspects. This condition is metaphorically akin to an internal over-heating. Symptoms indicative of Heat can include feelings of warmth, fever, sweating, irritability, red face, thirst with a preference for cold drinks, and a rapid pulse. The tongue may appear red with a yellow coating. Unlike the common interpretation of heat in terms of temperature, in TCM, it represents a state of hyperactivity or inflammation in the body.... see more

Heat Patterns That Can Lead to Pale Urine

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat Scanty clear urination, Tooth pain, Headaches, Stomatitis, Periodontitis, Glossitis, Trigeminal neuralgia, Diabetes, Viral myocarditis, Breast engorgement, Breast lumps... see more Gua Lou San
Detailed description of the cause

Wind

In TCM "Wind" is a concept that represents a pattern of disharmony, often characterized by its sudden and unpredictable nature, much like a gusty wind changing direction without warning. This pattern is associated with symptoms that come and go quickly or move around the body, such as itching, tremors, or even certain types of pain. Wind is considered to be a primary cause of illnesses that have these rapidly changing characteristics. In TCM, external Wind often refers to illnesses that start suddenly, like the common cold, believed to be caused by external pathogenic factors like climatic changes. On the other hand, internal Wind can be linked to internal imbalances and can manifest in conditions like dizziness or spasms. ... see more

Wind Patterns That Can Lead to Pale Urine

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Wind-Cold-Water invading the Lungs Scanty clear urination, Ocular swelling, Shiny complexion, Fever, Coughing, Shortness of breath, Aversion to cold, Facial edema... see more Xiao Qing Long Tang
Detailed description of the cause

Kidney

In TCM the Kidneys are regarded as the body's most fundamental reservoir of Essence, known as Jing, which influences growth, reproduction, and aging. They are not just organs for filtering blood, but a holistic system governing vital life forces. When the Kidneys malfunction in TCM, it can manifest as a variety of health issues, such as chronic fatigue, reproductive problems, imbalances in fluid metabolism leading to edema or dryness, lower back pain, and a sense of fear or insecurity.... see more

Kidney Patterns That Can Lead to Pale Urine

Common Symptoms: Chills Diarrhea Cold Extremities Coughing Asthma Edema Of The Lower Extremities Lower Back Pain Dizziness

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney Yang Deficiency Pale and abudant urination, Lower back pain, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Weak and cold knees, Lower back coldness, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Low sex drive... see more Ba Wei Di Huang Wan | You Gui Wan | Er Xian Tang | Shen Qi Wan | Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan | Tu Si Zi Wan
Lesser Yin Cold Transformation Frequent pale urination, Chills, Diarrhea, Absence of thirst, Desire to lie in fetal position, Low energy, Hypersomnia, Cold extremities... see more Si Ni Tang
Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing Scanty clear urination, Edema of the lower extremities, Cold sensation in legs and back, Abdominal distention, Lumbar pain, Chills, Palpitations, Shortness of breath, Cold hands, White and watery sputum, Coughing, Asthma... see more Wu Ling San | Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan
Detailed description of the cause

Bladder

In TCM the Bladder plays a crucial role beyond its basic function of storing and excreting urine. It is intimately connected with the Kidney system, helping to regulate the body's water balance and being a key component in the processing and elimination of fluids. The Bladder also influences the lower part of the body and the back. When it malfunctions or is imbalanced in TCM, it can lead to urinary issues like frequent urination, incontinence, or painful urination. Additionally, there may be problems related to its meridian pathway, such as lower back pain, stiffness, or weakness in the legs. The Bladder’s condition in TCM can also reflect emotional states, with imbalances potentially leading to feelings of fear or anxiety.... see more

Bladder Patterns That Can Lead to Pale Urine

Common Symptoms: Frequent And Urgent Urination Urination Stopping In The Middle Of Flow Upper Abdominal Heaviness Urethral Heaviness Cloudy Urine Frequent Urination Pale And Abudant Urination Urinary Or Fecal Incontinence

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Damp-Cold in the Bladder Pale urine, Frequent and urgent urination, Urination stopping in the middle of flow, Upper abdominal heaviness, Urethral heaviness, Cloudy urine... see more Ba Zheng San | Wu Lin San | Shi Wei San
Bladder Deficient and Cold Pale and abudant urination, Frequent urination, Urinary or fecal incontinence, Enuresis, Lower back pain, Dizziness, Nocturia, White urethral discharge, Chills... see more Sang Piao Xiao San | Suo Quan Wan
Detailed description of the cause

Small Intestine

In TCM the Small Intestine plays a critical role in receiving partially digested food from the Stomach and further separating the clear from the turbid, essentially distinguishing nutrients from waste. This process is vital for proper absorption and assimilation of food. The Small Intestine is also associated with clarity of judgment and decision-making. When it malfunctions or is imbalanced in TCM, it can lead to digestive issues such as abdominal pain, bloating, poor appetite, or irregular bowel movements. Additionally, a malfunctioning Small Intestine may manifest as mental confusion or difficulty in making decisions, reflecting its role in discernment and clarity in both physical and mental realms. ... see more

Small Intestine Patterns That Can Lead to Pale Urine

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Small Intestine Deficient and Cold Pale and abudant urination, Borborygmi, Abdominal pain relieved by pressure or eating, Craving for hot beverages, Diarrhea, Cold extremities... see more Xiao Jian Zhong Tang | Shen Ling Bai Zhu San
Detailed description of the cause

Stomach

In TCM the Stomach is regarded as the "sea of nourishment," pivotal for digesting food and transforming it into Qi and blood. It works closely with the Spleen to distribute these essential nutrients throughout the body. When the Stomach is out of balance or malfunctions in TCM, it often leads to digestive problems such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, or a feeling of fullness. There may also be issues like acid reflux or a sour taste in the mouth. Emotionally, an imbalanced Stomach can contribute to excessive worry and overthinking, reflecting the TCM belief that physical and emotional well-being are deeply interconnected.... see more

Stomach Patterns That Can Lead to Pale Urine

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat Scanty clear urination, Tooth pain, Headaches, Stomatitis, Periodontitis, Glossitis, Trigeminal neuralgia, Diabetes, Viral myocarditis, Breast engorgement, Breast lumps... see more Gua Lou San
Detailed description of the cause

Lung

In TCM the Lungs are seen as the organ responsible for controlling Qi and respiration, as well as being a key part of the body's defensive system. They are thought to maintain the balance and flow of air and moisture, and are closely linked to the skin and hair. When the Lungs are imbalanced or malfunctioning in TCM, it can lead to respiratory issues like coughing or asthma, a weakened immune system, dry skin, and emotional disturbances such as sadness or grief. These symptoms are believed to arise from disruptions in the Lungs' ability to regulate Qi and protect the body, highlighting their central role in maintaining overall health and well-being.... see more

Lung Patterns That Can Lead to Pale Urine

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Wind-Cold-Water invading the Lungs Scanty clear urination, Ocular swelling, Shiny complexion, Fever, Coughing, Shortness of breath, Aversion to cold, Facial edema... see more Xiao Qing Long Tang

TCM Herbal Formulas for Pale Urine

Addressing pale urine in TCM involves using herbal formulas that correspond to the identified imbalances. For Yang Deficiency, a formula like Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, which contains Prepared rehmannia, is used to nourish Yin and tonify the body.

In cases of Yin Excess, Wu Ling San, featuring Water Plantain, can be effective in promoting urination and leaching out Dampness. For patterns like Damp-Cold in the Bladder, Ba Zheng San, with its key herb Chinese Pink Herbs, clears Heat and expels dampness. These formulas are tailored to the individual's TCM diagnosis, focusing on holistic healing.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address pale urine, organized by cause and by formula type.

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that warm yang and tonify
  • Formulas that clear heat and expel dampness
  • Formulas that promote urination and leach out dampness
  • Formulas that secure essence and stop enuresis
  • Formulas that nourish yin and tonify
  • Formulas that tonify yin and yang
  • Formulas that warm the middle and dispel cold
  • Formulas that tonify qi
  • Formulas that rescue devastated yang
  • Formulas that clear heat and resolve toxicity
  • Formulas that clear wind-Cold

All Formulas Recommended for Pale Urine Caused by Cold

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Ba Zheng San Damp-Cold in the Bladder
Wu Lin San Damp-Cold in the Bladder
Shi Wei San Damp-Cold in the Bladder
Sang Piao Xiao San Bladder Deficient and Cold
Suo Quan Wan Bladder Deficient and Cold
Xiao Jian Zhong Tang Small Intestine Deficient and Cold
Shen Ling Bai Zhu San Small Intestine Deficient and Cold
Si Ni Tang Lesser Yin Cold Transformation
Xiao Qing Long Tang Wind-Cold-Water invading the Lungs

All Formulas Recommended for Pale Urine Caused by Yang Deficiency

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Ba Wei Di Huang Wan Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang, Kidney Yang Deficiency
You Gui Wan Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang, Kidney Yang Deficiency
Wu Ling San Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing
Er Xian Tang Kidney Yang Deficiency
Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Tu Si Zi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Si Ni Tang Lesser Yin Cold Transformation
Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing

All Formulas Recommended for Pale Urine Caused by Dampness

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Wu Ling San Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing
Ba Zheng San Damp-Cold in the Bladder
Wu Lin San Damp-Cold in the Bladder
Shi Wei San Damp-Cold in the Bladder
Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing
Xiao Qing Long Tang Wind-Cold-Water invading the Lungs

All Formulas Recommended for Pale Urine Caused by Yin Excess

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Wu Ling San Yin Excess
Wu Pi Yin Yin Excess

All "formulas that warm yang and tonify" recommended for pale urine

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
You Gui Wan Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang, Kidney Yang Deficiency
Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Tu Si Zi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Ji Sheng Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing

All "formulas that promote urination and leach out dampness" recommended for pale urine

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Wu Ling San Yin Excess, Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing
Wu Pi Yin Yin Excess

All "formulas that clear heat and expel dampness" recommended for pale urine

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Ba Zheng San Damp-Cold in the Bladder
Wu Lin San Damp-Cold in the Bladder
Shi Wei San Damp-Cold in the Bladder

All "formulas that secure essence and stop enuresis" recommended for pale urine

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Sang Piao Xiao San Bladder Deficient and Cold
Suo Quan Wan Bladder Deficient and Cold

Acupoints for Pale Urine

TCM also utilizes acupuncture as a part of the treatment strategy. For pale urine, specific acupoints on the Governing Vessel are recommended. Dazhui (DU-14), located at the base of the neck, is used to clear Wind-Heat, release the Exterior, and tonify Yang.

Mingmen (DU-4), on the lower back, is another crucial point that tonifies Kidney Yang, warms the Gate of Life, and strengthens the Original Qi. These acupoints are selected to address the underlying patterns contributing to the symptom of pale urine, aiming to restore the body's natural balance and health.

Explore below some acupoints used to address pale urine, organized by meridian.

  • By Meridian
  • Governing Vessel
Mingmen DU-4

Mingmen DU-4

On the lower back midline, in the depression below the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2).

Dazhui DU-14

Dazhui DU-14

On the midline at the base of the neck, in the depression below the spinous process of the seventh cervical vertebra (C7).