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TCM #11: What do You Know about Urine & Stool? (part 1)

Posted Mar 28 2010 12:00am

Why are Urine and Stool So Important?

Human life cannot exist without eating, sleeping and waste excretion. As Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a practice based on rich experiences, it does not overlook these important aspects of our existence. Unlike Western medicine doctors, TCM physicians make diagnoses based on sensory perceptions to gather clinical information, and, usually this is done without needing other types of tests. Examination techniques generally include medical history assessment, smelling/listening, palpation and inspection of the body. To a large extent, we make judgments about our health state using our sensory perceptions all the time, although we may not be consciously aware of it. For example, we may make judgments about our health based on the state of our spirit, skin condition and breath odor. For thousands of years, TCM practitioners have honed these basic skills as the mainstay of health assessment. These clinical data observations are further analyzed in a systematic manner. Eventually, specific symptom profiles form the criteria for TCM diagnoses, which are correlated with particular underlying body disharmony patterns. This process may also be referred to in TCM as syndrome differentiation or identification.

When doing a consultation, a TCM physician usually asks about urination patterns and bowel movements, details that may seem irrelevant to the complaint of the individual being examined. Actually, this information is important for understanding and predicting pathological changes of our internal organs. Waste products of urine and stool provide a lot of information about the state of health balance in our body. They may also be early warning symptoms of certain diseases, so prevention measures may be instituted early on to prevent further progression.

Why Check Your Urine and Stool?

Chinese medicine views the human body as an organic whole. Although each organ or tissue has its own distinct physiological function, the various parts are inseparable and interrelated. All these correlations and influences are centered on the five organs system; therefore, any disorder or pathology mutually affects them.

According to TCM theory, stool and urine are processed by a series of organs, thus abnormalities in the urine and stool correlate with the condition of the organs. Urine comes from the body fluid. It is stored and excreted by the bladder. Its formation is closely related to the transformation function of the lungs and the spleen, thekidneys‘ vaporization ability and its distribution in the triple burner. Stool is stored and excreted by the large intestine. Its formation is closely associated with the transformation function of the spleen, regulation of the liver and promotional energy of the kidneys. TCM has special methods to evaluate abnormal changes in the urine and stool. By identifying specific signs, a TCM physician can understand and predict the pathological changes of the internal organs.

In examining the urine and stool, TCM practitioners note their frequency, quantity, nature, form, color, smell as well as the presence or absence of accompanying physical feelings.

to be continued…

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