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Treatment of Vaginal Yeast Infection with TCM

By Robert Chu, L.Ac.

Many do not consider the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine for the treatment of gynecological disorders, which it is an excellent modality of treatment. A complete branch of TCM called fu ke (Feminine Study) deals with the ailments of gynecology, including amenorrhea, oligmenorrhea, menopausal syndrome, infertility, and sexually transmitted diseases. In the treatment of common ailments with TCM, we observe the patient's overall signs and symptoms with tongue diagnosis, pulse diagnosis, auscultation and inquiry. We may then suggest treatment with acupuncture needles, Tui Na bodywork manipulation, moxibustion, cupping, herbal therapy, or a combination of the treatments. In the brief case here, we examine some of the methods we use to treat a patient with a chronic vaginal yeast infection.

A 28 year old female came to the clinic for a vaginal yeast infection and lack of energy. She has suffered this vaginal yeast infection since she was 14 and it has been continuous for 14 years. Excess moisture and diet aggravate the condition, and she feels an on going lack of energy. The condition is worse with work, better with rest. She was diagnosed by her Western Medicine doctor as anemic and suffering from a yeast infection. Her diet consists of a lot of hot and sweet foods and cold, sweet drinks. She sleeps 6-7 hours a night, and frequently wakes up at night to eat sweets. The leukorrhea is constant, white with a sour odor.

Her cycle began at age 12, and averages every 30 days. The flow is from heavy to light, very dark red, thick and occasional clots, some cramping. She has a history of 2 pregnancies, no births and surgery.

She indicates a lack of energy. Urination and bowel movement are normal. Her tongue presents a red tip, with teethmarks, and a white thick greasy tongue coat towards the back. Her right pulse shows the qualities of being thready, slippery, rapid, and her left pulse is thready, slippery and 3rd position weak. This pulse is consistent with her condition - she is seen in Western Medicine as anemic and indicates a yeast infection.

By TCM standards, her diagnosis is Spleen Qi deficient with damp heat retention in the lower body. The treatment principle used is to clear the damp heat and tonify the Spleen Qi.

Points included Ren 2, 4, Sp 6, 9, St 36, Liver 5.

Six packages of an herbal Rx, to be taken orally 2-3 times a day consisting of Cang Zhu 9 g, Huang Bai 6 g, Yi Yi Ren 18 G, Niu Xi 9 g, Yin Chen Hao 9 g, Di Fu Zi 12 g, Long Dan Cao 4.5 g, Hu Zhang 12 g, Fu Ling 15 g, Tai Zi Sheng 12 g, Chen Pi 9 g, Zhi Gan Cao 9 grams were administered. Whereas herbal decoctions typically don't taste good, the patient remarked that they tasted like strong coffee and she used honey to sweeten the decoction. The herb combination was designed to tonify her low energy and resolve the dampness and clear the infection.

Another herbal prescription consisting of Chun Gen Pi 9 g, Hua Jiao 3g, Wu Bei Zi 9 g, Xiong Huang 3 g, she Chuang Zi 15 g, Huang Bai 12 g, Cang Zhu 6 g, Ku Shen 9 g, Pu Gong Ying 15 g, Ku Fan 5 g, Long Dan Cao 9g, and Hu Zhang 12 g, was prepared for external use as a wash. The patient was only prescribed one packet of herbs and asked to cook this twice and save the decoction, put some in a basin and sit in it with warm water for a half hour daily.

About a week later, she returned to the clinic, had taken 1 packet of the oral decoction and still had 2 bags left. She noted a slight improvement. Her chief complaints were still the yeast infection, and a lack of energy.

Her tongue presented with a red tip, teethmarks, and greasy coat at root. Her right pulse is slippery, slightly rapid, with the 3rd position weak and left pulse is thready, slippery, slightly rapid and 3rd position weak. The pulse and tongue still confirmed her chief complaints. Acupuncture included Du 23, St36, Ren 2, 4, Sp 6, 9, Liver 5 retained for a period of twenty minutes.

A refill for the external use herbs was prescribed, but this time the patient was instructed to soak a tampon in the solution and insert one every day.

A week following, the patient returned. The chronic yeast infection was almost gone! She discontinued treatment because her period started that Wednesday and she felt more energetic. Her period was painful, with backache, and she experienced some PMS signs and symptoms. Energy was a 6- 7, urination was more frequent and clear. Her tongue was red, with teethmarks, and thick greasy slightly yellow coat. Her right pulse presented as thready and slightly rapid, with her left pulse thready and slightly slippery.

Points this time included Du20, St 36, Ankle 2 downwards. We refilled the external use herbs.

About a month later, the patient returned and had a different complaint of a cold. The reason she had not been back to the clinic was the yeast infection was gone. It is hoped that with this case study some of our fellow acupuncturists might consider this TCM treatment for their female patients suffering from a chronic vaginal Yeast infection.

Robert Chu is a Licensed Acupuncturist and can be reached at 212 East Foothill Blvd., Arcadia, CA 91006 (626) 930-1355 or the Upland Pain Relief and Rehabilitation Center, 676 N. Mountain Avenue, Suite 107, Upland, CA 91786, (909) 920-3465 or online at


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