Abnormal vaginal discharge according to Chinese Medicine

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Abnormal vaginal discharge factsheet

Chinese name: 带下病

Pinyin name: Dài Xià Bìng

Possible causes and remedies:

带下病(Dai Xia Bing) is the Chinese term for abnormal vaginal discharge. It literally translates to 'the disease below the Girdle Vessel'. According to TCM, vaginal discharge fluids are created and stored by the Kidneys, governed by the Directing and Girdle Vessels and transformed and transported by the Spleen. Any disharmony of these Organs can cause excessive vaginal discharge.

It is mentioned much more often in TCM gynecology than in Western medicine. It is because abnormal vaginal discharge is not just a disease by itself, but its color, consistency and volume is often used to diagnose other diseases or patterns.

As you can see below we've detailed for you the six "patterns of disharmony" associated with abnormal vaginal discharge. Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted. It is not equivalent to a Western condition, as a matter of fact here abnormal vaginal discharge can be explained by six different patterns.

Each of those patterns can be treated with one or several herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. It is the Chinese Medicine equivalent to drugs, apart that it's 100% natural!

In total we detail below nine formulas that can help treat the various patterns that cause abnormal vaginal discharge, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The six "patterns of disharmony" associated with abnormal vaginal discharge

The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine

Liver Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Red sides

Recommended herbal formula: Xiao Yao San

Symptoms: Anger Depression Irritability Yellow vaginal discharge Sticky vaginal discharge

The color, consistency and odor of this pattern's vaginal discharges are similar to these of Spleen Deficiency.

Emotional stress such as irritation, anger, frustration or worry can cause Liver Qi Stagnation, which then invade the Spleen and harm its Body Fluids transformation and transportation function. Thus Dampness forms and accumulates. 

Stagnant Liver Qi also blocks the Liver Channel which rolls around the Uterus. This, combined with the accumulation of Dampness, leads to the abnormal vaginal discharge.

The treatment principle is to calm the Liver, move Qi, eliminate Stagnation, and strengthen the Spleen.

Read more about Liver Qi Stagnation here

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan

Symptoms: Dizziness Tiredness Back pain Knee pain Cold limbs Feeling of cold Frequent urination Thin and watery vaginal discharge

Spleen Yang Deficiency can weaken the Kidney Yang, especially if it lasts many years without being treated properly. As a result, the Kidneys fail to contain Body Fluids, which leak out eventually as vaginal discharge. 

The color of the excessive discharge is often white. Unlike with Spleen Deficiency, the consistency is rather watery, like egg white. This indicates a form of Deficiency or Coldness.

The treatment principle is to tonify and warm the Kidneys, strengthen the Directing Vessel and stop discharge.

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Recommended herbal formulas: Zuo Gui Wan, Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Symptoms: Tinnitus Dizziness Hot palms and soles White vaginal discharge Feeling of heat in the evening

The color, consistency and smell of vaginal discharges caused by Kidney Yin Deficiency are similar to these under Kidney Yang Deficiency. However, Yin Deficiency has some Empty Heat symptoms such as a feeling of Heat in the palms or soles or a feeling of Heat in the evening. 

Kidney Yin Deficiency can be the result of overwork, especially if combined with insufficient rest. It can harm the Directing and Girdle Vessels which then fail to hold Yin Body Fluids which eventually leak out in the form of vaginal discharge. 

The treatment principle  is to nourish Yin, strengthen the Kidneys and Essence as well as clear Empty Heat. 

Read more about Kidney Yin Deficiency here

Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao) is the key herb for Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a formula used for Damp-Heat

Damp-Heat

When the vaginal discharge occurs because of Damp Heat, the condition is much serious than other patterns. The color of the discharge is gray-yellow or even brownish and the consistency is thick and sticky like yogurt. It may also have a foul fishy smell if it is severe. There may be vaginal itching which can be caused by trichomonas or haemophilus infection. Urination can be short, frequent or red. Affected women may also experience late menstruation or irregular menstruation.

Vaginal discharge due to Damp-Heat is often related to unhealthy sex activities (such as unprotected sex with multiple partners) or bad hygiene, especially for younger women. Women are more vulnerable to Dampness invading the Uterus after giving birth or after periods. Therefore, the first step of curing this disease is to pay more attention in practicing good hygiene and having a more healthy sex life.

Unbalanced diet is also a major reason for Damp-Heat. Eating irregularly or an overconsumption of raw, slimy, cold, greasy or dairy food harms the Spleen's ability to transport and transform Body Fluids. Then the Dampness accumulates, penetrates the Uterus and forms excessive vaginal discharge. 

The treatment principle is to clear Heat and resolve Dampness.

Read more about Damp-Heat here

The Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen in Chinese Medicine

Spleen Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Recommended herbal formulas: Wan Dai Tang, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, Yi Huang Tang

Symptoms: Edema Tiredness Dull face Sore back Depression Cold limbs Amenorrhea Weak Limbs Loose stools Poor appetite White vaginal discharge Sticky vaginal discharge

This pattern can be further divided into Spleen Qi Deficiency, Spleen Yang Deficiency and Spleen Qi Sinking. The first one can develop as a consequence of the latter two if they linger for a while without proper treatment. Spleen Yang Deficiency can also lead to Kidney Yang Deficiency

The typical symptoms are excessive and continuous vaginal discharge with a white or pale yellow color. Normally there is no smell. The consistency is sticky, which suggests Dampness (which is the case here) or Heat.

The Spleen is responsible for transforming and transporting Body Fluids. This function can be largely impaired due to Spleen Deficiency. Then Dampness piles up and penetrates the Uterus which results in profuse vaginal discharge. Excessive physical work is the main reason for a weakened Spleen. This pattern is more common among younger women. 

The treatment principle is to strengthen the Spleen, tonify and raise Qi, raise Yang and resolve Dampness.

Read more about Spleen Deficiency here

Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua) is the key herb for Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin, a formula used for Toxic Heat

Toxic Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Recommended herbal formula: Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

Symptoms: Thirst Dark Urine Abdominal pain Feeling of heat Lower back pain Yellow vaginal discharge Smelly Vaginal discharge Sticky vaginal discharge Bloody vaginal discharge Five colour vaginal discharge

If Damp Heat is not treated for a while, it can develop into Toxic Heat, which is a much more severe condition. 

Women affected by Toxic Heat There might have five different vaginal discharge colors: white, yellow, brown, green and red. The red color can be from the discharge itself or from Blood. The consistency is thick and sticky like pus. There is also strong foul smell. Urine color is dark or red.

The treatment principle is to clear Heat, resolve Toxins, resolve Dampness and stop discharge.

Read more about Toxic Heat here

The nine herbal formulas that might help with abnormal vaginal discharge

Yi Huang Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Strengthens the Spleen. Dries Dampness. Clears Heat. Stops vaginal discharge.

Why might Yi Huang Tang help with abnormal vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Damp-Heat and Spleen Deficiency which are sometimes associated with abnormal vaginal discharge. If any of these patterns look like something you might suffer from, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Yi Huang Tang here

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Why might Xiao Yao San help with abnormal vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Liver Qi Stagnation, a pattern sometimes associated with abnormal vaginal discharge. If it looks like you might suffer from Liver Qi Stagnation, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan

Source date: 1550 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Kidney Yang. Strengthens the Essence.

Why might Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan help with abnormal vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Kidney Yang Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with abnormal vaginal discharge. If it looks like you might suffer from Kidney Yang Deficiency, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan here

Zuo Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Strengthens the Kidneys. Fills the Essence. Augments the marrow.

Why might Zuo Gui Wan help with abnormal vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Kidney Yin Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with abnormal vaginal discharge. If it looks like you might suffer from Kidney Yin Deficiency, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan here

Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity. Cools the Blood. Reduces swelling.

Why might Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin help with abnormal vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Toxic Heat, a pattern sometimes associated with abnormal vaginal discharge. If it looks like you might suffer from Toxic Heat, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin here

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yang. Warms the Kidneys and lower extremities.

Why might Ba Wei Di Huang Wan help with abnormal vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Kidney Yin Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with abnormal vaginal discharge. If it looks like you might suffer from Kidney Yin Deficiency, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.

Why might Long Dan Xie Gan Tang help with abnormal vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Damp-Heat, a pattern sometimes associated with abnormal vaginal discharge. If it looks like you might suffer from Damp-Heat, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here

Wan Dai Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies the Middle Burner. Removes Dampness. Stops vaginal discharge. Strengthens the Spleen.

Why might Wan Dai Tang help with abnormal vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Spleen Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with abnormal vaginal discharge. If it looks like you might suffer from Spleen Deficiency, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Wan Dai Tang here

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang

Source date: 1247

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi of the Spleen and Stomach (Middle Burner). Raises the Yang. Detoxifies. Lifts what has sunken.

Why might Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang help with abnormal vaginal discharge?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Spleen Deficiency, a pattern sometimes associated with abnormal vaginal discharge. If it looks like you might suffer from Spleen Deficiency, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang here