Vaginal itching according to Chinese Medicine

Vulvar itching, Vagina itching, Vulvitis and Vaginitis redirect here

Vaginal itching factsheet

Chinese name: 阴痒

Pinyin name: Yīn Yǎng

Possible causes and remedies:

Vaginal itching is call Yin Yang (阴痒) in TCM (different chinese characters from the Yin Yang theory). It refers to a constant itch in the vagina or vulva area. Dampness is the foremost reason for this disease. It may be combined with an excessive vaginal discharge at the same time. The main Organs involved are the Spleen, Liver and Kidneys

As you can see below we've detailed for you the three "patterns of disharmony" associated with vaginal itching. 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 vaginal itching can be explained by three 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 four formulas that can help treat the various patterns that cause vaginal itching, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The three "patterns of disharmony" associated with vaginal itching

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

Damp-Heat in the Liver Channel

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Recommended herbal formula: Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Symptoms: Insomnia Dark Urine Restlessness Irritability Vulvar itching Painful intercourse Yellow vaginal discharge Smelly Vaginal discharge Sticky vaginal discharge Excessive vaginal discharge

Dampness as an External Evil with or without Heat, is undoubtedly the foremost reason for vaginal and vulvar itching. From a Western medicine point of view this pattern translates to trichomonas or candida infection.

The Dampness gets combined with Heat blocking the Liver Channel and other connecting Channel such the Spleen one. The Heat finds its origin in emotional stress such as anger, frustration, resentment, or sadness which cause Liver Qi Stagnation. If it is not treated for a while, the Stagnation creates Heat which then combines with the External Dampness. The Damp-Heat penetrates the Uterus and harm the Directing and Girdle Vessels, which is what triggers the itching.

The treatment principle is to clear Liver Heat, drain Dampness, kill parasites and stop itching. Please be aware that herbal formulas may take a long time (weeks or even months) to solve the itching problem. It is often suggested to add herbal ointments to improve the effectiveness of the treatment. Some herbs such as Chinese Gentian, Phellodendron bark, Black atractylodes rhizomes or Sophora root are recommended for the ointments. 

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Liver Channel here

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

Spleen Deficiency with Dampness

Dampness is the most common reason for vaginal and vulvar itching. Dampness can find its origins Externally or Internally, the latter being the case for this pattern. What causes the Dampness here is Spleen Qi Deficiency. The Spleen is responsible for transforming and transporting Body Fluids. An impaired Spleen function can therefore lead to an accumulation of Dampness in the Lower Burner which then gets sent to the Uterus and causes itching. 

Excessive physical work or too much sport can harm the Spleen and cause Spleen Qi Deficiency. Other than that, an unbalanced diet is also a major reason for Dampness, such as eating irregularly or an over consumption of raw, slimy, cold, greasy or dairy foods. 

The treatment principle is to drain Dampness, kill parasites and tonify the Spleen.  It is also recommend to add herbal ointments to improve the effectiveness of the treatment with some herbs such as Chinese Gentian, Phellodendron bark, Black atractylodes rhizomes or Sophora root.

Read more about Spleen Deficiency with Dampness here

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

Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency

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

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Recommended herbal formula: Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Symptoms: Tinnitus Dizziness Sore back Dry vagina Hot palms and soles Heat in vaginal and vulvar Feeling of heat in the afternoon

Vaginal and vulvar itching under this pattern is more commonly seen in older women, while Spleen Deficiency and Damp Heat in the Liver Meridian, the two other patterns causing vaginal itching, are more common among younger ones. Also with this pattern the itchiness is less intense. 

The Organ involved here are the Liver and the Kidneys. It is because the Liver Channel goes around the Uterus and the Kidneys control the two lower orifices. Yin Deficiency of these two Organs cause Dryness, which stirs the Internal Wind and results in itchiness. Prolonged overwork without proper rest is the major reason for Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency

The treatment principle is to nourish Liver and Kidney Yin as well as clear Empty-Heat.

Read more about Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency here

The four herbal formulas that might help with vaginal itching

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 vaginal itching?

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

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang here

Liu Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach. Clears Phlegm and mucus. Promotes appetite.

Why might Liu Jun Zi Tang help with vaginal itching?

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

Read more about Liu Jun Zi Tang here

Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1584 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yin. Drains Fire.

Why might Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan help with vaginal itching?

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

Read more about Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan here

Bi Xie Fen Qing Yin

Source date: 1732 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Warms the Kidneys. Drains Dampness. Separates the clear from the turbid.

Why might Bi Xie Fen Qing Yin help with vaginal itching?

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

Read more about Bi Xie Fen Qing Yin here