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Damp heat, vaginal discharge/odor


Hi there,

I’ve been struggling with vaginal odor and abnormal discharge for about six years. Lab Tests have shown I have a significant lack of lactobacilli - I can attribute this to an excessive amount of antibiotics I was given for “BV” years ago accompanied by a poor diet while I was in college. I’m currently seeing an acupuncturist who diagnosed me with damp heat in the lower burner. She has me taking V-Statin from Evergreen herbs and I have been following a plant based diet. I feel that the V-Statin is potent - I had intense vaginal itching and dryness in the beginning that has gone down and even a small amount of soreness in the pelvic region. I immediately felt the effects in my pelvic region and also noticed I was thirstier throughout the day. I’ve been taking the herbs for about two weeks. I’ve seen the inflammation around the perimeter of my tongue go down and my tongue turn more pink overall, but the yellow coating in the center remains unchanged. This is my first experience with TCM, so I wanted to get another opinion to be sure I am on the right track. My acupuncturist has told me that she thinks this can resolve in three weeks with the V-Statin and vegan diet, but I simply can’t see that happening after what I’ve been through for six years; it just seems too short for such a long term, chronic condition. I just want to manage my own expectations and get a second opinion to know whether or not I should continue to see her approach through. I’ve been failed over and over by gynecologists and western medicine that I am used to feeling defeated over this issue - I’m trying to remain patient and give this a chance. Any advice is greatly appreciated.


So while I can’t really comment on your case without knowing more details I can say that as a general rule of thumb you can expect roughly one month of treatment per year of whatever condition you’re seeking treatment for. Acupuncture combined with herbs can absolutely help clear out damp heat in the lower and effectively remove odor and discharge. I would think three weeks is a pretty aggressive estimate for resolution of your symptoms but again without knowing all the details it could be a good estimate for your case. I would suggest speaking with your acupuncturist. So long as you are experiencing improvement -which to me would be the most important factor - I would stick with them even if their estimate of three weeks ends up being too short.


This is helpful, thank you so much!


Hi Stephen, another question. What’s the best kind of diet to expedite healing for this condition? I eat plant-based but have seen mixed reviews that I should avoid raw fruits and vegetables. I eat a ton right now.


If you’re not having any abdominal bloating or diarrhea or loose stools raw fruits and veggies should be fine. If you are having any of those just cook your veggies and scale back a little bit on the fruits. Apples are one of the better fruits if you are having any gastrointestinal issues.

For damp heat conditions avoid damp foods - dairy/soy/avocado/banana and hot -spicy foods, onions/garlic/ginger etc. Avoid alcohol especially beer. If you’re doing a vegan diet soy is the number one thing to eliminate and it’s in a ton of vegan products so check labels carefully. If you have a juicer I recommend doing a daily glass of watermelon juice. Use as much of the white part as possible.


Thanks! The herbs are causing me to have loose stool that definitely increases with the raw foods and oats I eat, so i will plan to cut back on them. Have also been eating a lot of banana and avocado unknowingly. I Appreciate the advice.


Make sure you communicate the loose stools with your current practitioner as they may want to adjust the formula. While many of those damp-heat clearing formulas - are clearing, if you have underlying weaknesses that are part of this equation you could eventually strengthen the underlying imbalance. It’s very important for your practitioner to know all of the responses, good and bad. The good and bad about Chinese herbal medicine is that it can be infinitely tailored to the individual.

As far as general commentary, everything @Stephen_Sedita says about the time frame is about right. I would generally think more 3 cycles (i.e. roughly 3 months) rather than a few weeks. But I could see your practitioner meaning you would be on stronger damp-heat clearing herbs for a few weeks, where you should notice improvement, and then the work would proceed towards full resolution so that you, ideally, never have to deal with this again. And that would be longer.


I took Stephens advice and cut out bananas, onions, avocado and garlic (all of which i was eating a lot of) and cooking all my vegetables the loose stool has gotten better. The yellow in the center of my tongue is still there and strangely seems to be fluctuating between getting better and seeming like it’s getting worse again. So I’m not sure what to make of that. The inflammation around the perimeter of my tongue has not come back and it’s still been looking pink. I’m almost finished the second bottle of V - Statin and going to see my practitioner tomorrow.

Thank you!


Hi again,

I have a couple more questions. I’m wondering which herbs you would recommend for my damp-heat condition? I am a bit skeptical that my current practitioner does not have a lot of experience with my condition, so wanted to get your point of view. From what I read, the V-Statin seemed to make sense, but she only had me on it for a course of two bottles. I saw very minimal improvement and she had me take a break from it for a week before I go back in for another appointment tomorrow. I can provide more information on my condition if needed.

Additionally, is there a significant difference between seeing an LAC or MAO? Acupuncture/TCM is completely new to me, so it’s difficult to know who to search for to best make the switch.

Thank you.


From what you are describing you are doing great and in a fairly quick period of time, I see no reason from what you have written to doubt your current practitioner. I would imagine that most acupuncturists see a fair amount of your general set of issues and they are in most cases not that difficult to resolve, so I’m not sure more experience is really necessary.

As for L.Ac. and MAO (fairly sure you mean M.Ac. vs. MAOM) that depends. So L.Ac is a license and the other pieces of information are the degree. All fully trained acupuncturists are L.Ac’s (or similar) in the states that they practice in. To obtain your licensure you need, among many other things, a graduate degree from an acupuncture college. M.Ac. is masters of acupuncture and MAOM is masters of acupuncture and oriental medicine (i.e. acupuncture & herbs). Generally the folks who practice herbal medicine will have MAOM degrees as that requires extra training on the herbal side. Many L.Ac’s, however, can be excellent herbalists as well either through their own training and/or training outside of the school for whatever reason. Some schools do not have herbal programs, so these students, if they choose to practice herbalism, often have training outside of the program which in most cases will not qualify them for the MAOM degree. There are licensed acupuncturists who only practice acupuncture and licensed acupuncturists who only practice Chinese herbal medicine and many who do both - some with a preference for one approach over another.

As to what I would recommend, that, again, is just not what we do in the forums. There is far too much information that goes into the diagnosis (which is then used to choose formulas when appropriate). It’s very hard to do this without physical inspection and diagnostic tools such as the pulse, tongue (which pictures don’t always show well), etc. Most of the related formulas are in our clear damp-heat category.

But, again, from the looks of your initial tongue and the description of your symptoms and what you are describing as observable and symptomatic improvements, I think you are very likely right on track. I would give them a few months so long as you continue to see improvement.


Thanks for your reply. I am going to see things through and try and remain patient as best as possible. This info is really helpful and puts things in perspective a little more - thanks again!


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