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Expert Advice-Treatment of Infections of the Reproductive System in Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM):

Infections of the Reproductive System in 

Chinese Medicine

Infections of reproductive system are one of the women’s most common complaints. Modern medicine differentiates infections of women’s reproductive system according to the location and nature of the infections, such as vulvitis, vaginitis, cervicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease. They share similar clinical symptoms such as itching in the genital area, abnormal vaginal discharge, or ruptured abscess. Modern medicine helped women with powerful antibiotics. But these "magic drugs" failed for many chronic cases. Traditional Chinese medicine has a long tradition of differentiating and treating patterns under the disease-syndromes, which has been proved effective. It has helped the Chinese women and Asian women for thousands of years. Chinese medicine is really an safe option for the women who suffer from recurring infections of reproductive system.

Infections of Women’s Reproductive System in Chinese Medicine
In traditional Chinese medicine, the infectious diseases of women’s reproductive system are discussed and treated under the categories of genital itching and leukorrhoea. The etiology and pathology of genital itching and leukorrhea dysfunction of Liver, Kidney and Spleen. In Chinese medicine pathology, Liver meridian surrounds the reproductive system and stores the Blood. The Kidney meridian controls the reproduction and opens to the anus and genitals. The Spleen is responsible for regulating the fluid metabolism through the absorption and transportation of body fluids and the removal of excessive water. Chinese medicine pathology believes that Liver Stagnation or Spleen deficiency produces Damp Heat, Damp Heat moves downward and accumulated around the reproductive system. Chinese medicine pathology also claims that the Liver or Kidney deficiency results in Blood deficiency, which turns to skin dryness in the genital area. The nutrients could not supply the genital area. In both cases, itching in the genital area, abnormal vaginal discharge, or ruptured abscesses in severe cases results. Two patterns, Damp Heat Pattern and Chronic Deficiency Pattern, are universally discussed and treated for reproductive system infections in Chinese medicine gynecology. The key differences between these two pattern are excessive vs. deficient, and acute vs. chronic.

Treatment of Infections of Women’s Reproductive System in Chinese Medicine
Damp Heat Pattern:
Damp heat could be caused by intercourse during periods, direct attack from bacteria or virus, stimulation from irregular menstruation or drugs for other conditions, habit of eating hot, spicy or greasy foods. A red tongue with yellow-greasy coating shows up and a wiry-rapid pulse is felt. The leading herbs to clear up the Damp Heat include phellodendron (Huang Bai), gardenia (Zhi Zi), peony bark (Mu Dan Pi), plaintain (Che Qian Zi), scullcap (Huang Qin), getinna (Long Dan Cao), sophora (Ku Shen), forthsia (Lian Qiao), honeysuckle (Jin Yin Hua). Modern pharmacological research and clinical research show the these herbs have in vitro inhibitory effects against many pathogenic bacteria, fungal organisms, various viruses. A widely used herbal formula is Damp Heat Clearing (Long Dan Xie Gan Tang), which was recorded in Imperial Grace Formulary of the Great Peace Era, in 1078, Song Dynasty.

Damp Heat Clearing Formula (Long Dan Xie Gan Tang)

Gentian (Long Dan Cao)

Scullcap (Huang Qin)

Gardenia (Zhi Zi)

Akebia (Mu Tong)

Plaintain (Che Qian Cao)

Alisma (Ze Xie)

Buplerum (Chai Hu)

Rehmannia (Di Huang)

Angelica (Dang Gui)

Licorice (Gan Cao

Chronic Deficiency Pattern: Chronic deficiency could be caused by long-term illness, long-term use of immunity-suppression drugs, slow recovery from surgery or childbearing, ignorance of some illness or delay of treating some health disorders. A red tongue with pale coating appears and a thin-rapid pulse is felt. The leading Chinese herbs to balance the chronic deficiency include atractylodes (Bai Zhu), dioscorea (Shan Yao), ginseng (Ren Shen), astragalus (Huang Qi), codonopsis (Dang Shen), rehmannia (Di Huang), angelica (Dang Gui), white peony root (Bai Shao). Ancient wisdom teaches us that these herbs could strengthen, harmonize, balance the internal organs such as Kidney, and Spleen and tonify and nourish the Chi and Blood. Modern research found that these herbs could enhance the immunity, regulate the reproductive system, improve the circulation. Because of infections involved, some cleansing herbs are combined with these tonic herbs. Among many time-tested herbal formulas, UrinClearing (Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan) is widely used.

UrinClearing Formula (Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan)

Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang)

Cornus (Shan Zhu Yu)

Dioscorea (Shan Yao)

Alisma (Ze Xie)

Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi)

Poria (Fu Ling)

Anemarrhena (Zhi Mu)

Phellodendron (Huang Bai)

Applications to Infectious Diseases of Women’s Reproductive System
The traditional Chinese medicine approach is effectively applied to the following infectious diseases of women’s reproductive system:

Vulvitis. Vulvitis is an inflammation of the external area of the reproductive system. Vulvitis may be caused by parasitic infection, poor personal hygiene, chemical irritations, allergic reactions or retention of a foreign body. Symptoms include mild to severe inflammation, edema, redness, burning, pruritus, painful urination. Vulvitis may occur at any age and affects most women at some time.

Bacterial Vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection. It is caused by bacteria such as Gardnerella vaginalis, Mobiluncus species, and Mycoplasma species. Symptoms include an increased vaginal discharge with a fishy odor, redness, burning, or itching in the vaginal area.

Thrush. Thrush is a yeast infection of the vagina caused by the Candid albicans, whic is the second most common cause of vaginal infection. Thrush, or genital candidasis, as the most common yeast infection, is caused by an overgrowth of a fungus which is commonly present in the vagina. Symptoms of yeast infection include a white, cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge, intensive itching, burning and redness in the vaginal area.

Trichomoniasis. As the third most common cause of vaginal infections, trichomoniasis is caused by Trichomonas vaginalis, a one-celled organism. Symptoms include an irritating, frothy, yellow-green discharge with an unpleasant odor, redness, burning, or itching in the vaginal area, irritation during urination.

Atrophi Vaginitis. Atrophi vaginitis is caused by a lack of hormonal stimulation to genital tissues. The decrease of estrogen can cause the vagina to become dry. The vaginal dryness may cause irritation, burning, itching or a feeling of pressure. Many women with surgical removal of the uterus and about thirty percent of postmenopausal women suffer from atrophi vaginitis.

Cervicitis. Cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix. Cervicitis are mostly caused by three sexually transmitted diseases, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomonas. Symptoms include pronounced vaginal discharge following menstruation, profuse vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor, irritation of the external genital area, intensive vaginal itchiness, a burning sensation during urination, lower back pain. Cervicitis affect half of all women at some point in their lives.

Genital Herpes. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease of the genital area or the skin around the rectum caused by herpex simplex virus. Symptoms include itching, tigling, and soreness, redness, painful blisters, circular sores, difficult urination. The herpes virus may spread to other body parts. And repeated return of the blisters and sores are common.

Nonspecific Bacterial Infections. Nonspecific bacterial infections might be caused by bacteria such as Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Bacillus coli. Vaginal injuries or medications also might cause nonspecific bacterial infections. Symptoms include dripping sensation of vagina, burning sensation, an increased vaginal discharge, urgent or frequent urination, pelvic discomfort.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection caused by bacteria such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis. Usually the infection starts in the vagina, moves up through the cervix, gets into the uterus, up the fallopian tubes and into the ovaries. Because pelvic inflammatory disease is an illness affecting a variety of inner reproductive organs, there is a risk that it cause a permanent damage to these organs.