What is Urethritis?

Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra, the duct through which urine exits the body. It's commonly caused by bacterial infection and can lead to symptoms such as pain during urination and an increased urge to urinate.

Urethritis can be classified as either gonococcal or non-gonococcal, depending on the type of bacteria responsible for the infection, and can present as an acute or chronic condition. Effective treatment is crucial to prevent complications, such as the spread of infection to the bladder or kidneys.

How Does TCM View Urethritis?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches urethritis as an imbalance within the body's energy systems, particularly a disharmony in the Bladder, and Kidney.

TCM does not merely treat the symptoms of urethritis but seeks to understand the underlying patterns of disharmony such as Damp-Heat, that are believed to cause the condition. Identifying these patterns is fundamental to TCM treatment, as it aims to restore balance and proper energy flow, thereby alleviating the condition.

Causes of Urethritis According to TCM

TCM posits that urethritis may arise from several internal disharmonies, most notably Damp-Heat in the Bladder. Damp-Heat can accumulate and cause inflammation and pain, symptomatic of acute urethritis.

Liver Qi Stagnation, on the other hand, can disrupt the regulation of Qi flow in the genital area, leading to chronic manifestations of urethritis. Treatment in TCM focuses on dispelling Damp-Heat and promoting the smooth flow of Liver Qi to address both the symptoms and their root causes.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Urethritis

For the treatment of urethritis, TCM recommends several formulas that correspond with the diagnosed patterns. Ba Zheng San, which includes the herb Chinese Pink (Qu Mai), is traditionally used for clearing Damp-Heat from the Bladder, ideal for acute cases characterized by painful urination.

Additionally, Liu Yi San, with its key ingredient Talc (Hua Shi), is effective in treating Damp-Heat conditions, particularly in the summer when heat tends to accumulate. These formulas are carefully chosen based on the patient's specific TCM pattern to ensure the treatment is targeted and effective.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address urethritis, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that clear heat and expel dampness
  • Formulas that dispel summer-Heat and facilitate resolution of dampness
  • Formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation
  • Formulas that warm yang and tonify
  • Formulas that tonify qi

All "formulas that clear heat and expel dampness" recommended for urethritis

Formula Key herbs
Ba Zheng San Chinese Pink Herbs (Qu Mai), Knotgrass (Bian Xu)
Shi Wei San
Wu Lin San Cape Jasmine Fruits (Zhi Zi)

Acupoints for Urethritis

In TCM, acupuncture is also employed to treat urethritis, with acupoints selected to match the underlying disharmony. For issues of Damp-Heat and channel obstructions, Huantiao GB-30 on the Gall Bladder Channel can be beneficial. Zulingqi GB-41 is often chosen to subdue Liver Qi Stagnation and clear Heat from the Gall Bladder Channel, which can be particularly useful for chronic urethritis.

Additionally, Shuiquan KID-5 on the Kidney Channel may be utilized to benefit urination and regulate the reproductive system. These acupoints are integral to the multi-faceted TCM approach to treating urethritis, aiming to restore harmony and health.

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

  • By Meridian
  • Gall Bladder Channel
  • Kidney Channel
Huantiao GB-30

Huantiao GB-30

At the junction of the middle and lateral third of the distance between the great trochanter and Yaoshu DU-2 of the hiatus of the sacrum. When locating the point, put the patient in lateral recumbent position with the thigh flexed.

Zulingqi GB-41

Zulingqi GB-41

In the depression distal to the junction of the 4th and 5th metatarsal bones, on the lateral side of the tendon of extensor digitorum longus muscle of the foot.

Shuiquan KID-5

Shuiquan KID-5

1 cun directly below Taixi KID-3, in the depression over the joint space between the talus and calcaneus.

TCM Herbs for Urethritis

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address urethritis, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Herbs that drain dampness
  • Herbs that clear heat and purge fire and/or clear summer heat
  • Herbs that invigorate the blood
  • Purgative herbs that drain downward
  • Herbs that warm the interior and/or expel cold
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior
  • Tonic herbs for qi deficiency

"Herbs that drain Dampness" recommended for urethritis

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Chinese Pink Herbs (Qu Mai) Ba Zheng San
Knotgrass (Bian Xu) Ba Zheng San
Talc (Hua Shi) Liu Yi San
Japanese Climbing Fern Spores (Hai Jin Sha) Not applicable
Lingonberry (Yue Ju) Not applicable