by Anna Pyne LAc, MSOM, FABORM
Normal vaginal discharge is a slight discharge that increases in volume as well as viscosity from the end of your period up to ovulation. Pathological vaginal discharge is excessive discharge that may have an odor, causes itching or burning, and the vaginal pH will be abnormal (ie greater than 5). This is what western medicine defines as a yeast infection. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) yeast infections originate from one of the following or a combination of emotional stress, irregular eating habits, poor diet, excessive physical activity, and overwork.
Emotional stress can cause the qi (or energy) in the body to stagnate, and after some time if it is not treated, this stagnant qi can turn into heat. The heat that has been generated can then damage the Chinese medical organ that is responsible for the genitalia, creating vaginal itching. Poor or irregular diet can also lead to yeast infections. By ingesting an excessive amount of dairy or of greasy foods may lead to what we call in TCM as "dampness". Itching can also be caused by this dampness. If there is a combination of emotional stress with irregular eating habits the vaginal itching will be quite intense. Excessive physical activity and overwork both deplete the body of its qi. When the body is not functioning optimally we are more susceptible to contracting disease in general, yeast infections are only one example. Knowing our own definition of what exerting too much qi is is an art, and then it is our responsibility to follow that intuition.
In TCM there are many acupuncture points, as well as herbal formulas to take both internally and externally (as a sits bath) to help treat yeast infections. Please feel free to contact us for more information on treatment and prevention of yeast infections according to TCM. To schedule an appointment please call our office or book online!