in Houston, TX. and in the Methodist Hospital in that city.
The test done do not reveal cancer, parasites or bacteria. Do you
have any advice to heal me? I would appreciate it indeed.
Brian is the founder of the
Pulse of Oriental Medicine. He teaches at the Pacific College
of Oriental Medicine and maintains a private acupuncture
and herbal practice in San Diego, California, and is the
author of Powerful Body, Peaceful
Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure.
and electrolyte imbalance) is one effect of chronic
diarrhea. In this Q&A we discuss dehydration symptoms,
the cause of diarrhea, diarrhea treatments, a special
diarrhea diet, and ways to stop diarrhea. Oriental
Medicine patterns and are discussed and herbal formulas
Question: I'm suffering of chronic diarrhea since
Nov. 2001 and lost 40 pounds in that period. I was twice
in hospital here in Panama, but also have being for check-ups
at MD Anderson Cancer Center
Best regards, R.
I find that often people write me with a little information,
and when I ask for more, they never write back. The fact is that
doctors need a lot of information to make a good diagnosis, and
that treatment cannot begin before that happens. I would love
to help you, and more information would help me help you. What
happened in November? Did you travel somewhere new? Eat a new
food? Experience some short or long-term emotional trauma (e.g.
death in the family, ending of a relationship, work stress)?
straining to evacuate (tenesmus), and diarrhea that contains pus and blood. Assuming you are talking just about diarrhea increased frequency and/or amount of stool), we can go ahead. Otherwise, we need to talk about Li Ji.
|OM and Diarrhea
Next, we can talk about the way that Oriental Medicine diagnoses diarrhea. The OM disease 'Xie Xie' (pronounced shay-shay) is differentiated from 'Li Ji' (often translated as 'dysentery' although not exactly what biomedicine calls dysentery) in that Li Ji includes the symptoms of
In Xie Xie/Diarrhea, there are 6 patterns or subtypes. We figure
out which one the patient has based on their symptoms and signs
(pulse and tongue). Since we are doing this via the internet,
it's impossible for me to take your pulse or see your tongue,
so let's talk about the unique symptoms of each pattern.
Table of the
6 patterns and Diarrhea Treatments
(note that herbs in the name of the formula
are NOT the only herbs in the formula)
|1. External Attack of Cold & Dampness
||Watery stool, intestinal rumbling, fever, aversion to cold,
stuffy nose, headache, no thirst, general aches and pains
||Agastache Qi-Rectifying Powder (Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San)
|2. External Attack of Damp-Heat
||Urgent BM or difficult defecation, yellow pasty smelly stool,
burning anus, irritability, thirst, dark scanty urine
||Pueraria, Scutellaria and Coptis Decoction (Ge gen huang
qin huang lian tang)
|3. Retention of Food in Stomach and Intestines
||Intestinal rumbling, stools with foul rotten egg odor, abdominal
pain better after BM, fullness, belching foul gas, acid regurgitation,
loss of appetite
||Harmony Preserving Pill (Bao he wan)
|4. Disharmony of Liver and Spleen
||Brought on by depression anger or anxiety, no relief of
pain with BM, Distention and congestion in chest and hypochondrium,
belching, poor appetite
||Pain and Diarrhea Formula (Tong xie yao feng)
|5. Spleen and Stomach vacuity
||Loose stool, more BM's with oily and greasy foods, loss
of appetite, fullness and discomfort after eating, lack of
||Ginseng, Poria, Atractylodes Powder (Shen Ling Bai Zhu san)
|6. Kidney and Spleen Yang Vacuity
||Diarrhea just before dawn, abdominal coldness and pain and
rumbling before bowel movements, physical feeling of cold,
cold extremities, sore weak lower back and knees
||Four Super-powers Pill (Si shen wan)
Comments on the Patterns
Compare your symptoms with the chart. Since you've had the diarrhea
for 5 months, it is not likely that it is one of the external
attack patterns. The last 4 patterns are more commonly responsible
for chronic diarrhea. The food stagnation pattern could correlate
to a number of things in biomedicine, including insufficient ST
acids or pancreatic enzymes. The Liver/Stomach pattern might be
called 'IBS' by a physician. I wouldn't be surprised if it were
a cold-pattern diarrhea, because those are the ones that often
baffle biomedicine. Cold-pattern diarrhea is not bacterial, and
antibiotics could actually make it worse.
See an OM Practitioner
I don't intend this to be a diagnose-yourself resource, but more
of a vista on Oriental Medicine. If you are interested in herbal
treatment, I suggest that you see an OM practitioner. To find
one, you will have to consult your local phonebook - I don't know
of any online resource that will help you find an acupuncturist
in Panama (yet - but if you find something let me know!).
In the meantime, you can certainly modify your diet. While you
have diarrhea, avoid dairy, greasy, high-fiber, and sweet foods.
If there is any improvement, add bland foods such as bananas,
plain rice, boiled potatoes, toast, crackers, cooked carrots,
and baked chicken without the skin or fat.
Make sure to replace fluids and electrolytes that are lost due
in the diarrhea. This means more than drinking water- physicians
often provide an oral electrolyte rehydration fluid.
Danger Signals and Dehydration Symptoms
Other than the chronic nature of the diarrhea, there are danger
signals such as severe pain in the abdomen or rectum, fever of
102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, blood in your stool or have
black, tarry stools, and dehydration symptoms (thirst, less urination,
dry skin, fatigue, light-headedness, and dark-colored urine).
Because the diarrhea is chronic, you should already be under medical
care (outpatient), but keep an eye out for these other signals
Chronic diarrhea is usually related to irritable bowel syndrome,
celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease. Your physician should
rule out the last two, and consider the first one. Other than
viral, bacterial, and parasitic causes, your physician should
also consider food intolerances and reaction to medications (even
All the Best!