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GallBladder Damp-Heat is common! You’ve probably experienced it mildly after a long, frustrating week at work followed by a large meal with lots of fat in it. Read the symptoms below and decide for yourself!
Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder occurs when two conditions converge.
If you have these underlying situations, you become more susceptible to infection or irritation on your mucosal surfaces. As you’ll read below, the symptoms nearly always then include redness, swelling and eventually purulent, fetid discharges.
Why has this got anything to do with the Gallbladder? Because heat in the Liver organ spills over into the Gallbladder, its paired organ in the Wood element, and because too much greasy food overwhelms the supply of bile. Then you get GallBladder Damp-Heat!
Hypochondriacal pain: this is pain under your ribs towards the side of your abdomen. If feels full, ‘stuffed’, more likely on your right side than your left. The area often feels distended.
Nausea and/or vomiting: you’ll feel better when you’ve got rid of your stomach contents, though some of the other symptoms will stick around for a while.
Heat, probably fever: you may think you have an infection, a bug. If you have the other symptoms listed here, it’s probably not a bug. The fever will come and go, so you may feel hot then suddenly cold; you may sweat and if you do it may have a sour smell; possibly burnt, or frequently a rather sickly sweet smell, technically called ‘fragrant’.
Thirst: with the heat comes thirst, and dryness. Curiously, however, you may not want to drink – a common symptom when there is damp in your body.
Limbs: can swell in the feet or round the ankles, particularly on the outside, and legs may feel heavy or numb.
Tired heaviness: you probably won’t want to move much and may even feel a bit numb in your hands and feet. This heaviness comes mainly from the damp part of Gallbladder damp-heat.
Of course, you’ll probably have a headache too!
Skin: yellow, from bile backing up from gallbladder and liver into your blood stream. Can start as yellow fingernails or in the whites of your eyes.
Urine: You pee less because heat has dried it out. Urine will be darker and smell stronger.
Discharges: yellow, sticky and smelly.
Genitals: rashes, itchy, swelling.
Temper: you’ll be poor company, irritable, peevish, demanding or sullen and unresponsive.
Eyes: may be yellow, as explained above. May also be sore.
Dizziness: this is because damp-heat gets into your ears. At least that’s the easy way to explain it. The proper explanation is more complicated and involves deficiency of Blood, Liver Yang, and heat causing internal Wind, depending on the exact nature of your symptoms. Let’s just call it damp-heat in your ears, messing up your vestibular apparatus.
Ears – tinnitus: noises in your ears are probably loud and unpleasant. This comes from what Chinese Medicine calls Liver Yang. The more often you get tinnitus the more likely you will be to keep it. You can get it in a number of different ways, and Gallbladder Damp-Heat is just one of them. Try to get tinnitus treated early because in my experience once you’ve had it continuously for two years it involves something else (Kidney qi deficiency) which can be harder to treat.
Appetite and Digestion: apart from nausea and vomiting, you probably won’t be able to face, let alone eat, fatty food, such as pork or cream.
Tongue: the coating on your tongue will be yellow, greasy and is often thick. Typically it runs in two streaks one on each side of the midline of your tongue.
Pulse: rapid, slippery, wiry. Rapid from Heat. Slipperiness from Damp. Wiriness from discomfort and frustration.
Read Liver Damp Heat: that tells you more or less what you need!
Points Gallbladder Damp-Heat are chosen to clear the heat, transform the damp, get your Qi moving again, and calm the Shen – your ‘spirit’, meaning your wretched state of mind!
For dampness there are several acupuncture pints, but dampness is not cleared so easily and may need several treatments:
For the heat there are other points like
Other useful points increase the effectiveness of the treatment, such as on the Gallbladder channel itself:
There are many formulae, used as the basis for prescribing a herbal decoction to suit you. Some are more for treating jaundice, others for different symptoms. Here are two possibles:
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