After the cessation of menstrual periods, the low level of estrogen fails to maintain the normal functioning in the skin and mucous linings, the tissues become thinner, drier and less elastic. Women may feel that the vagina is less lubricated and so suffer from vaginal itching, discharges and painful intercourse. On the other hand, the shrinking of the bladder lining makes them more prone to have stress or urge incontinence as well as increased susceptibility to infections.
In TCM, the storage and excretion of urine is related to the bladder, but it also depends on the kidneys' vaporization function for proper functioning. Disorders involving the bladder such as incontinence and frequent urination are the result of the kidney's inability to carry out the vaporization function.
- Kidney yin deficiency: frequent urination with scanty and yellowish urine, dizziness, ear ringing, hot sensations in the palms and soles, lumbar soreness, knee weakness, red tongue, and rapid thready pulse.
- Unconsolidated kidney qi: frequent urination, large amounts of urine, dribbling after urination, incontinence, spiritual fatigue, soreness and weakness in the lower back and knees, pale tongue, and deep thready pulse.
- Liver stagnation: incontinence that usually induce by emotional distress, depression, chest tightness, abdominal distention, tendency to sigh, and a taut pulse.
- Damp-heat in bladder: urinary frequency, scanty yellowish urine, pain and burning sensation, mouth dryness, constipation, red tongue with yellowish coating, and a taut, rapid pulse.
In TCM, the vagina belongs to part of the genitalia and is mainly supported by the spleen and kidney. It also depends on the Conception Vessel and Girdling Vessel to maintain a clean and moist environment. Vaginal itchiness or discharge may due to the following disharmonies:
- Yin deficiency of the liver and kidneys: vaginal dryness, burning and itchiness, or yellowish or bloody foul discharges. Other associated symptoms may include hot flashes, dizziness, blurred vision, mouth dryness, lumbar soreness, ear ringing, red tongue, and a thready, rapid pulse.
- Blood deficiency creating dryness: itchiness of the genitalia that is worse at night; the genitalia lacks of lubrication and may even show scaling. Other associated symptoms include dizziness, blurred vision, palpitations, insomnia, forgetfulness, sallow complexion, constipation, pale tongue, and a hesitant, thready pulse.
- Damp-heat of lower burner: excessive thick vaginal discharges, foul smelling, burning and itchiness in the area. There may urinary pain and frequency, pain in the lower abdomen, and a red tongue covered by yellowish greasy fur.
- Coldness of the uterus: excessive watery vaginal discharges, cold and soreness in the lumbar and lower abdomen, urinary frequency with profuse urine, night urination, pale tongue, and a deep weak pulse.