Frequent urination can have wide-ranging causes, whether due to a medical condition such as diabetes or a neurological disorder, or from poor kidney function, urinary tract inflammation, bladder infection, or certain medications. In many cases, doctors are unable to exactly identify what’s causing this symptom but nonetheless it can be an uncomfortable and difficult problem to live with.
Frequent or urgent urination in Chinese Medicine (TCM) is most commonly caused by two things. One cause is considered an excess pattern, and the other a deficiency pattern. The excess pattern is that of dampness and heat accumulating in the bladder. Damp-heat can be brought on by a number of reasons, but the biggest reason is poor diet from over-intake of greasy or rich foods, dairy, or hot, spicy foods. Another reason for damp-heat is poor digestion due to a weak spleen and stomach, which can again be caused by poor dietary habits that over time weaken the digestive system.
When dampness accumulates it tends to do so in the lower abdomen where it then stagnates and creates heat or inflammation. If this damp-heat accumulates in the bladder it causes symptoms such as frequent urination with urgency, burning pain on urination, and scanty, yellow, cloudy urine. In Western medicine, this translates into a bladder infection.
The deficiency pattern is due to kidney yang deficiency. The kidneys’ yang energy is responsible for warming and transporting of fluid in the lower abdomen, as well as supplying the bladder with enough energy to contain the urine. Symptoms due to the kidney yang failing to contain urine can include copious clear urine, nighttime urination, lack of warmth in the hands and feet, dizziness, tinnitus and aching low back and knees.
Acupuncture can help strengthen the body to decrease the frequency of urination in many cases. However, in the case of damp-heat in the bladder, stronger treatment is required due to the nature of the problem being an infection, and a visit to your doctor is recommended. In this case acupuncture can be helpful in preventing future bladder infections in people who are prone to them. Acupuncture can help to strengthen a weak spleen and stomach and to clear problems of damp and heat in the bladder that typically lead to bladder infections. This is a good example of how an imbalance in the body can give rise to other health issues, the cause of which may not always be evident.
Acupuncture can be very beneficial in correcting any imbalances in the body that may be impeding optimal health, making acupuncture a very effective treatment method for a wide range of health concerns.
James Kaufman is a Registered Acupuncturist at Okanagan Acupuncture Centre, 1625 Ellis St, Kelowna, BC.