Urinary dribbling according to Chinese Medicine

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Urinary dribbling can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like urinary dribbling here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here urinary dribbling is often associated with in the pattern “Damp-Heat in the Bladder”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause urinary dribbling.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of urinary dribbling we’ve identified four herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat urinary dribbling.

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause urinary dribbling

In Chinese Medicine urinary dribbling is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Damp-Heat in the Bladder

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

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Damp-Heat in the Bladder is often treated with Ba Zheng San, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Chinese Pink Herbs - Qu Mai - as a key herb). Ba Zheng San belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat and expel dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Heat and Fire".

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Bladder here

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

Kidney Qi not Firm

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

Tongue color: Pale

Kidney Qi not Firm means Kidney Qi Deficiency. Two characteristics are typical in this pattern. Firstly, it is a type of Kidney Yang Deficiency with the associated Cold symptoms. Secondly, it is a type of sinking of Kidneys Qi, thus with many ‘leaking’ downwards symptoms.

In addition to urinary dribbling, other symptoms associated with Kidney Qi not Firm include frequent urination, premature ejaculation and sore lower back.

Kidney Qi not Firm is often treated with You Gui Wan, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Prepared Aconite - Zhi Fu Zi - as a key herb). You Gui Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that warm yang and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang".

Read more about Kidney Qi not Firm 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), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Kidney Yang Deficiency causes Internal Cold and weakness.

In addition to urinary dribbling, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yang Deficiency include frequent urination, premature ejaculation and sore lower back.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Kidney Yang Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Irregular Menstruation.

Kidney Yang Deficiency is often treated with Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Ba Wei Di Huang Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Yang".

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

Four herbal formulas that might help with urinary dribbling

Liu Yi San

Source date: 1172 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Clears Summer-Heat. Drains Dampness. Supplements Qi.

Why might Liu Yi San help with urinary dribbling?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Bladder' of which urinary dribbling is a symptom.

Read more about Liu Yi San here

Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Stabilizes the Kidneys. Binds up the semen.

Why might Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan help with urinary dribbling?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Qi not Firm' of which urinary dribbling is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Qi Not Firm include frequent urination, premature ejaculation and sore lower back.

Read more about Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan 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 urinary dribbling?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which urinary dribbling is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include frequent urination, premature ejaculation and sore lower back.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

Ba Zheng San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire. Promotes urination. Unblocks painful urinary dribbling.

Why might Ba Zheng San help with urinary dribbling?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Bladder' of which urinary dribbling is a symptom.

Read more about Ba Zheng San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat urinary dribbling

Why might Yam (Shan Yao) help with urinary dribbling?

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat urinary dribbling as a symptom, like Fu Tu Dan or Ba Wei Di Huang Wan for instance.

Yam is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing.

Read more about Yam here

Why might Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) help with urinary dribbling?

Because Prepared Aconite is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat urinary dribbling as a symptom, like You Gui Wan or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

Prepared Aconite is a Hot herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Raises the collapse of Yang. Warms the meridians and relieves pain caused by Cold. Reduces Damp caused by Deficiency in Yang.

Read more about Prepared Aconite here

Why might Lotus Seed (Lian Zi) help with urinary dribbling?

Because Lotus Seed is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat urinary dribbling as a symptom, like Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan or Fu Tu Dan for instance.

Lotus Seeds is a Neutral herb that tastes Sour and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen, stops diarrhea. Strengthens the Kidneys, reinforces Essence. Nourishes the Blood and calms the mind.

Read more about Lotus Seeds here

Why might Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with urinary dribbling?

Because Cinnamon Twig is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat urinary dribbling as a symptom, like Shen Qi Wan or Ba Wei Di Huang Wan for instance.

Cinnamon Twigs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Twigs here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with urinary dribbling?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat urinary dribbling as a symptom, like Liu Yi San or Ba Zheng San for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here