Stomach Yin Deficiency: poor appetite and fullness

Lots of people take medication for stomach problems when actually they just need treatment for Stomach Yin Deficiency.
Nachos, sometimes a possible cause of Stomach Qi deficiency.

Stomach Yin Deficiency is frequently mistaken for a kind of stomach ulcer, for which people take medication they may not actually need.


Stomach Yin Deficiency Symptoms

  • Poor appetite, no desire to eat, or very mild hunger
  • Fullness after eating
  • Dry stools and constipation
  • Pain in the epigastrium: either dull or mild & burning
  • Mouth and throat dryness, worse later in the day
  • Desire to sip only small quantities of fluid, or sometimes prefers warm fluids in small amounts
  • A sensation of warmth in the afternoon (this comes from Yin deficiency in general, not just from Stomach yin deficiency)
  • Tongue: centre is peeled or without coating, or with rootless coating
  • Pulse: in the right-hand middle position the pulse quality is ‘floating-empty’

Causes of Stomach Yin Deficiency

  • Poor nutrition. Nutrition is a big subject. What suits one person may not suit another. Our background and culture influences what we eat and in some countries a deficiency in an important nutrient may be made up another way. For example, Vitamin D may be low in the diet of people in a third world country but because they get so much sun, their bodies manufacture it through the skin. If they go to live in a country without much sun but continue to eat with their culturally inherited food patterns they’ll get Vitamin D deficiency. Read our page on Nutrition for more on this.
  • Poor diet. Diet is different from nutrition, although they’re connected. By diet we mean the foods you eat, which for health need to be balanced in both quality, quantity and ‘energy‘. Some foods are very heating, others very cooling. Too many heating foods (such as fried or roasted with lots of fat in them – think crisps and battered fish for example) will eventually deplete the Stomach’s Yin reserves. Food should be our first medicine – a fact recognised in Chinese medicine 2000 years ago!
  • Poor eating habits such as eating when tired, or missing meals, or eating in a hurry or eating too late at night or thinking about work when you’re eating. These are all factors in modern Western life. We’re always in a hurry so we snatch food as and when we can, we eat it while driving or working at the computer or on the bus. On any one occasion this doesn’t matter, but there is a long-term depleting effect when this is repeated again and again.

Those aren’t the only reasons for Stomach Yin Deficiency! …

  • Returning to work immediately after eating, or eating while working. This matters because our bodies work with energy – Qi. We use Qi to do things. If you’re working – using Qi for that – there’s less Qi to digest food, and the thoughts and actions you have when working may themselves disrupt the smooth action of Stomach Qi, leading both to Qi Stagnation and to Yin deficiency, mentioned above.
  • Prolonged Worrying. Worry, over time, eventually weakens both Stomach Qi and Spleen Qi. With less Stomach Qi, your Stomach has to call on its reserves, eventually leading to a Stomach Yin shortage.
  • Constitutional: some people are born with weak constitutions and begin to get Stomach Yin weakness very early in life
  • High fever can deplete fluids in the body, including Stomach Yin reserves. Normally a period of rest soon restores these reserves, but not always.
  • Medication. An early action by Chinese doctors was to look at the energetic action (energetic in terms of the action of the substance in Chinese medicine) of drugs. Antibiotics, for example, are nearly always COLD in action, depleting Yang. But long-term depletion of Yang will eventually weaken Yin too.

What’s a little list like that got to do with me, you ask …

Of course, you read that little list and think, blah-blah-blah, I’ve heard it all before and it doesn’t apply to me because –

  • I know lots about nutrition so take extra vitamins and minerals to compensate for ANY deficiency
  • I only work late three days a week as a rule so at weekends I take care to relax properly
  • The medication I take is for burning pain, so that’s not a deficiency – right?
  • I have to get back to work after eating, otherwise I don’t get paid, so this nonsense can’t be right
  • Fasting is known to prolong life so regular meals shorten it, right?


Well, if you have symptoms of  Stomach yin deficiency, take note! One or more of these causes applies to you, whether you agree or not!

Yin Deficiency Causes in general

But that’s not all. Read about the general Yin deficiency causes here. They will almost certainly be contributory to lack of Stomach Yin.

Other kinds of Yin deficiency …

Other organs have Yin deficiency too. You can get symptoms of more than one of them at the same time:


From Stomach Yin Deficiency click here to return to our Home Page.

Or from Stomach Yin Deficiency go to general Yin Deficiency.

Jonathan Brand colours

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