Unfortunately, a huge number of women do not have any idea that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be an excellent treatment option for the treatment of gynecological disorders. One branch of TCM known as fu ke (Feminine Study) studies and treats gynecological issues including STDs or sexually transmitted diseases, infertility, menopausal symptoms, oligomenorrhea, and amenorrhea among others. TCM practitioners will examine the symptoms and signs of their patients’ exams that include medical history inquiry, auscultation, pulse diagnosis and tongue diagnosis. They then may recommend treating their condition with Tui Na bodywork (manipulation), Chinese herbal medicine, cupping, moxibustion and/or acupuncture needles. We will briefly discuss some of the procedures practitioners utilize to resolve their patient’s longstanding (chronic) vaginal yeast infection.
I refer to a cause involving a 28 year old female who came to my clinic complaining of lack of energy and vaginal yeast infection. Her vaginal yeast infection was chronic, and developed when she was only 14 years old that had remained for 14 more years. Diet and excess moisture exacerbated her disease and she continuously experienced energy deficiency. Her condition gets better with rest and worsens with work. She had a diagnosis of anemia from her Western medical physician as well as yeast infection. A lot of sweet, cold drinks, and sweet and hot foods were her regular diet. She gets around six to seven hours of sleep at night but often rises to consume sweets. She has constant leukorrhea along with a white and sour odor.
She began to have her period when she was 12 years old with a 30-day cycle. Her menstruation is accompanied by cramping, with thick, very dark red, occasional clots that is heavy to light. Her medical history showed that she had surgery, became pregnant twice but had no births.
Her bowel movement and urination are normal although she shows lack of energy. Upon observation, her tongue showed teeth marks with a red tip and a coating that is greasy, thick white and towards the back. I observed her right pulse which is rapid, slippery and thready while her left pulse was third position weak, slippery, and thready as well. Her condition is consistent with her pulse condition. Western medicine had determined that she has a yeast infection and anemia.
Based on the TCM standards, deficiency in Spleen Qi combined with retention of damp heat in her lower body is her diagnosis. Plan of treatment is to tonify the Spleen Qi and clear damp heat.
Acupuncture points to be treated include Liver 5, St 35, Sp 6 and 9 and Ren 2 and 4.
With regards to Chinese herbal remedies 6 packages of formulas need to be taken by mouth twice or thrice a day. These formulas include 9 grams of Shi Gan Cao, 9 gm Chen Pi, 12 gm Tai Hsi Sheng, 15 gm Fu Ling, 12 gm Hu Shang, 4.5 gm Long Dan Cao, 12 gm Di Fu Hsi, 9 gm Yin Chen Hao, 9 gm Niu Hsi, 18 gm Yi Yi Ren, 6 gm Huang Bai, and 9 gm Can Shu. The patient commented that these herbs tasted like strong coffee and so she combined their intake with honey to sweeten the formula. These herbs were used to clear the infection, remove dampness and tonify her energy.
One other herbal combination that is externally used as a wash is composed of 12 gm Hu Chang, 9 gm Long Dan Cao, 5 gm Ku Fan, 15 gm Pu Gong Ying, 9 gm Ku Shen, 6 mg Cang Chu, 12 gm Huang Bai, 15 gm She Chuang, 3 gm Hsiong Wang, 9 gm Wu Bei Hsi, 3 gm Hua Chiao, and 9 gm Chun Gen.
She returned to my office after a week. She had used a packet of oral decoction and had 2 bags left. Her condition improved a bit although her lack of energy and yeast infection still bothered her.
I observed her tongue which showed a greasy coating at the root, teeth marks and a red tip. Her left pulse felt a third position weak, slightly rapid, slippery and thread while her right pulse was third position weak, slightly rapid and slippery. The tongue and pulse verified her main complaints. Acupuncture of the points Liver 5, Sp 6 and 9, Ren 2 and 4, St 36 and Du 23 were done for around 20 minutes.
She was prescribed with a refill of herbs for external use although now the patient had to immerse a tampon in the formula using one every day.
After another week, the patient came back with her longstanding yeast infection almost cured. She stopped the treatment because she started to have her period and felt more energetic. She had painful menstruation though, with some PMS symptoms and signs. Her level of energy measured around 6 or 7 while her urine was clear and more frequent. She showed a red tongue with teeth marks and a coating that is slightly yellow, greasy and thick. Her left pulse felt slightly slippery and thread while her right pulse slightly rapid and thready.
Acupuncture points treated were Ankle 2 (downwards), St 36, and Du 20. The herbs used externally were refilled.
After a month, the patient came back and complained of a different condition, this time a cold. She said she did not return to the clinic because her yeast infection was completely cured.
This case might hopefully enable other acupuncturists to use TCM therapy for their women patients, who suffer from longstanding vaginal yeast infection.
Emily Farish is a licensed acupuncturist in Spokane, WA and the founder of Emily Farish Acupuncture.