Upper Abdominal Burning Painaccording to TCM

What is Upper Abdominal Burning Pain?

Upper abdominal burning pain is a discomforting sensation characterized by a sharp, intense burning feeling in the stomach area, just below the ribcage. This symptom can signal a variety of conditions, ranging from mild digestive upset to more serious issues such as ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The burning sensation can be transient or persistent, and it may worsen after eating or when lying down.

How Does TCM View Upper Abdominal Burning Pain?

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), upper abdominal burning pain is often associated with an imbalance of Heat within the body. TCM practitioners view this symptom as an indication of excess Heat in the Stomach, or a manifestation of Damp-Heat.

Understanding the specific pattern of disharmony is essential in TCM, as it guides the treatment strategy to not only alleviate the symptom but also address the root cause of the imbalance.

Root Causes of Upper Abdominal Burning Pain in TCM

In TCM, upper abdominal burning pain is commonly attributed to Heat-related patterns. Heat in the Lessor Yang Stage (of the 6 Stage Theory) can cause symptoms such as fever, bitter taste in the mouth, and, notably, burning abdominal pain. This condition reflects an imbalance where Heat accumulates, leading to discomfort.

Another pattern, Stomach Heat or Fire, directly affects the digestive system, resulting in burning epigastric pain, excessive thirst, and a craving for cold beverages. These patterns highlight the intricate relationship between symptoms and underlying imbalances in TCM, emphasizing a holistic approach to diagnosis and treatment.

Explore below more details about what might cause Upper abdominal burning pain according to TCM.

  • By Syndrome
  • By Organ
  • Heat
  • Stomach
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 Upper Abdominal Burning Pain

Common Symptoms: Fever Bitter Taste In The Mouth Abdominal Pain Diarrhea Sticky Taste In The Mouth Malodorous Diarrhea Anal Irritation Tenesmus

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Heat in Lessor Yang Burning abdominal pain, Fever, Bitter taste in the mouth, Abdominal pain, Diarrhea, Sticky taste in the mouth, Malodorous diarrhea, Anal irritation, Upper abdominal burning pain, Tenesmus... see more Huang Qin Tang
Stomach Heat or Fire Burning epigastric pain, Upper abdominal burning pain, Excessive thirst, Craving for cold beverages, Restlessness, Dry stools, Xerostomia, Mouth ulcers, Acid reflux, Nausea, Vomiting after eating, Excessive hunger, Halitosis, Feeling hot, Acne... see more Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang | Qing Wei San | Xie Huang San | Fei Er Wan | Hua Ban Tang
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 Upper Abdominal Burning Pain

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Stomach Heat or Fire Burning epigastric pain, Upper abdominal burning pain, Excessive thirst, Craving for cold beverages, Restlessness, Dry stools, Xerostomia, Mouth ulcers, Acid reflux, Nausea, Vomiting after eating, Excessive hunger, Halitosis, Feeling hot, Acne... see more Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang | Qing Wei San | Xie Huang San | Fei Er Wan | Hua Ban Tang

TCM Herbal Formulas for Upper Abdominal Burning Pain

To address upper abdominal burning pain, TCM relies on formulas that clear Heat from the body and restore balance. Huang Qin Tang is recommended for Heat in Lessor Yang, utilizing Baikal Skullcap Roots to clear Heat and dry Dampness effectively.

For Stomach Heat or Fire, Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang and Qing Wei San are suggested, with key ingredients like Rhubarb and Goldthread Rhizomes. These formulas exemplify TCM's approach to treating specific patterns of disharmony, targeting the root causes of symptoms to achieve relief and restore health.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address upper abdominal burning pain, organized by cause and by formula type.

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Heat
  • Formulas that clear heat from the organs
  • Formulas that purge heat accumulation
  • Formulas that reduce food accumulation and transform stagnation
  • Formulas that clear heat from qi and blood

All Formulas Recommended for Upper Abdominal Burning Pain Caused by Heat

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Huang Qin Tang Heat in Lessor Yang
Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang Stomach Heat or Fire
Qing Wei San Stomach Heat or Fire
Xie Huang San Stomach Heat or Fire
Fei Er Wan Stomach Heat or Fire
Hua Ban Tang Stomach Heat or Fire

All "formulas that clear heat from the organs" recommended for upper abdominal burning pain

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Huang Qin Tang Heat in Lessor Yang
Qing Wei San Stomach Heat or Fire
Xie Huang San Stomach Heat or Fire

TCM Herbs for Upper Abdominal Burning Pain

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address upper abdominal burning pain, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that clear heat and dry dampness
  • Herbs that clear heat and purge fire and/or clear summer heat
  • Herbs that expel parasites
  • Purgative herbs that drain downward

"Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness" recommended for upper abdominal burning pain

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Baikal Skullcap Roots (Huang Qin) Huang Qin Tang
Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian) Qing Wei San

"Herbs that clear Heat and purge Fire and/or clear Summer Heat" recommended for upper abdominal burning pain

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Gypsum (Shi Gao) Xie Huang San | Hua Ban Tang
Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi) Xie Huang San

"Herbs that expel parasites" recommended for upper abdominal burning pain

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Quisqualis Fruits (Shi Jun Zi) Fei Er Wan
Areca Nuts (Bing Lang) Fei Er Wan