Pelvic inflammatory disease according to Chinese Medicine

TCM Education Center > List of conditions > Pelvic inflammatory disease

In Chinese Medicine, pelvic inflammatory disease can be associated with ten so-called "patterns of disharmony". 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 the Western concept of "disease", as a matter of fact here pelvic inflammatory disease can be caused by ten different patterns.

To understand whether someone's pelvic inflammatory disease might be caused by a given pattern, one needs to look for signs and symptoms associated with the pattern beyond what one might typically experience from pelvic inflammatory disease alone. For instance when pelvic inflammatory disease is caused by the pattern Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen, patients also experience symptoms such as chest fullness, chest pain, anemia and dizziness. Similarly, patients with Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen typically exhibit empty (Xu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

We've listed below a description of the ten patterns associated with pelvic inflammatory disease so that you can start to get an understanding of the various possibilities according to Chinese Medicine.

Once identified, patterns are often treated using herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. Here we detail below seven formulas that can help treat the various patterns associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The ten "patterns of disharmony" associated with pelvic inflammatory disease

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

Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen

Pelvic inflammatory disease might be due to Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as chest fullness, chest pain, anemia and dizziness. Similarly, patients with Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen typically exhibit empty (Xu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Read more about Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen here

The Triple Burner is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Triple Burner in Chinese Medicine

Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Full (Shi)

Recommended herbal formula: Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Symptoms: Thirst Amenorrhea Night fever Irritability Dysmenorrhea Restlnessness Delirious speech Lower abdominal pain

Pelvic inflammatory disease might be due to Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, night fever, delirious speech and irritability. Similarly, patients with Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner typically exhibit choppy (Se) or full (Shi) pulses.

Read more about Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner here

Blood Stagnation with Heat

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

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang

Symptoms: Pain in the groin Alternating fever and chills Guarding of the abdominal musculature Lower abdominal distension and pain that increases with pressure

Pelvic inflammatory disease might be due to Blood Stagnation with Heat if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as lower abdominal distension and pain that increases with pressure, guarding of the abdominal musculature, pain in the groin and alternating fever and chills. Similarly, patients with Blood Stagnation with Heat typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a pale tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Blood Stagnation with Heat here

Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels

Pelvic inflammatory disease might be due to Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as irregular menstruation, brown vaginal discharge, dark clots in menstrual blood and painful period. Similarly, patients with Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels typically exhibit choppy (Se) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a bluish-purple tongue.

Read more about Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels here

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

Heat in Gall Bladder

Pelvic inflammatory disease might be due to Heat in Gall Bladder if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as mild chills alternating with pronounced fever, bitter taste in the mouth, stifling sensation in the chest and spitting up bitter or sour fluids. Similarly, patients with Heat in Gall Bladder typically exhibit rapid (Shu) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a red tongue with thick coating, yellow coating.

Read more about Heat in Gall Bladder here

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

Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Tooth-marked, Swollen

Recommended herbal formula: Zhen Wu Tang

Symptoms: Edema Coughing Vomiting Dizziness Loose stools Palpitations Urinary difficulty Heavy sensation in the head Abdominal pain that worsens with cold Deep aching and heaviness in the extremities

Pelvic inflammatory disease might be due to Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as abdominal pain that worsens with cold, urinary difficulty, deep aching and heaviness in the extremities and dizziness. Similarly, patients with Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency typically exhibit deep (Chen) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Read more about Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency here

Exterior Cold invading the Interior

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Fine (Xi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Recommended herbal formula: Zhen Wu Tang

Symptoms: Dizziness Unsteadiness Generalized twitching Palpitations in the epigastrium Sweating that doesnt reduce fever

Pelvic inflammatory disease might be due to Exterior Cold invading the Interior if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as sweating that doesnt reduce fever, palpitations in the epigastrium, dizziness and generalized twitching. Similarly, patients with Exterior Cold invading the Interior typically exhibit deep (Chen) or fine (Xi) pulses as well as a tongue with thin white coating.

Read more about Exterior Cold invading the Interior here

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

Spleen Yang Deficiency

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

Tongue color: Pale

Recommended herbal formulas: Zhen Wu Tang, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, Yi Huang Tang

Symptoms: Edema Fatigue Cold limbs Weak Limbs Loose stools Poor appetite Feeling of cold Vagina discharge

Generally speaking, Spleen Yang Deficiency often develops from Spleen Qi Deficiency, but it is more extensive and severe, with additional Cold symptoms, such as a cold feeling and cold limbs. It is because Spleen Yang fails to warm the body and Organs. Because of that, the body metabolism get slower and some food are not digested properly and passes directly into the stools. Since the Spleen fails to perform the function of transforming and transporting fluids, the circulation of Body Fluids is disturbed, causing symptoms such as Oedema, vaginal discharge and Lung mucus.

The causes are similar to these of Spleen Qi Deficiency, along with surplus consumption of cold, raw foods and drinks and overexposure to cold damp environments and climates.

Read more about Spleen Yang Deficiency here

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

Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder

Pelvic inflammatory disease might be due to Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as fixed pain in the hypochondria, headaches, dizziness and red and sore eyes. Similarly, patients with Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder typically exhibit full (Shi) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Read more about Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder here

The seven herbal formulas that might help with pelvic inflammatory disease

Zhen Wu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies the Yang and Qi of the Spleen and Kidneys. Eliminates Dampness.

Why might Zhen Wu Tang help with pelvic inflammatory disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Spleen or Kidney Yang Deficiency, Exterior Cold invading the Interior and Spleen Yang Deficiency which are sometimes associated with pelvic inflammatory disease. 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 Zhen Wu Tang here

Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes Blood and lymphatic circulation, thus eleminates Blood Stagnation. Softens and resolves hard lumps such as cysts and fibroids.

Why might Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan help with pelvic inflammatory disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Blood Stagnation and Phlegm in the Uterus and Blood Stagnation in the Directing and Penetrating Vessels which are sometimes associated with pelvic inflammatory disease. 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 Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan 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 pelvic inflammatory disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen, a pattern sometimes associated with pelvic inflammatory disease. If it looks like you might suffer from Blood Deficiency with disharmony of Liver and Spleen, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

Tao He Cheng Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dispels Heat and. Eliminates Blood Stagnation.

Why might Tao He Cheng Qi Tang help with pelvic inflammatory disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner, a pattern sometimes associated with pelvic inflammatory disease. If it looks like you might suffer from Heat and Blood Stagnation in the Lower Burner, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Tao He Cheng Qi Tang here

Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Clears Stagnant Heat in the intestines. Reduces swelling and disperses lumps.

Why might Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang help with pelvic inflammatory disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Blood Stagnation with Heat, a pattern sometimes associated with pelvic inflammatory disease. If it looks like you might suffer from Blood Stagnation with Heat, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang here

Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang

Source date: Qing Dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and relieves acute conditions of the Gallbladder. Relieves acute Damp-Heat syndromes. Resolves Phlegm. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang help with pelvic inflammatory disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Heat in Gall Bladder, a pattern sometimes associated with pelvic inflammatory disease. If it looks like you might suffer from Heat in Gall Bladder, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang 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 pelvic inflammatory disease?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder, a pattern sometimes associated with pelvic inflammatory disease. If it looks like you might suffer from Heat Excess in the Liver or Gallbladder, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here