Night sweats are recurrent episodes of extreme sweating that occur when individuals are sleeping and desist upon waking. People experiencing these spells are often awakened by damp sheets and sleepwear, resulting in sleep interruption. Perspiration can occur anywhere or everywhere on the individual’s body. Night sweats episodes mostly affect the elderly and are not generally a significant cause for concern. As per the traditional Chinese medicine ideology, the lung is responsible for distributing protective Qi over the external body regions. Besides shielding the body through exogenous pathogens, the protective Qi further controls the pores of water and nourishes the muscles, hair, and skin (Chen, 2004). During the night, the Qi that protects the body goes into the inner sections and sticks to nutrient elements when an individual is sleeping, as a constituent of the cycle of sleep. The paper will examine how traditional Chinese medicine practitioners diagnose and treat night sweats.
Analysis and Explanation of the Patient’s Signs and Symptoms
Following traditional Chinese medicine, at some point, the body becomes deficient in yin (the exterior regions of the body). When this occurs, the protective Qi wanders within the body at the time an individual is asleep because it has lost the link to the nutrient substances (Andronaco, 2020). The client’s health concerns began when she went through menopause. One of the symptoms she demonstrated was profuse sweating at the night. According to experts, these are some of the signs of night sweats. Furthermore, she had trouble sleeping at night and often had water beside her bed to quench her thirst. Additionally, her skin was dry and her eyes were blurry indicating that she lost a lot of water when experiencing these spells. She enjoyed a glass of wine and hot spicy food, which interferes with an individual’s Qi. It increases the rate of sweating and interferes with her sleep during the night. The client has a thin, deep, and rapid pulse and a red, thin, and dry tongue all of which are signs of night sweats.
Client’s Lifestyle, Emotions, and Diet
The 56-year-old female enjoys consuming hot and spicy food accompanied by a glass of wine at night. In traditional Chinese medicine, there are numerous causes of excessive sweating while sleeping. Perspiration occurs as a consequence of too much heat in the body (internal heating), insufficient energy that fails to regulate body weakness, an injury, or body fluid. As such, there is the creation of a differentiation, that exists between night sweating and spontaneous sweating. According to research, night sweating is increased when an individual eats food containing acid (Andronaco, 2020). The patient, in this case, consumes foods that contain too much acid, which causes an imbalance between the Yin and the Yang (the external regions of the body). The client’s Yang is not balanced, which explains her mood swings.
Diagnosis and Differentiation of Pattern(s)
Normally, enriching the yin is a significant approach in treating night sweats. Physicians assess the systems that have been affected. For example, they consider the liver, kidney, and heart as some of the systems affected. On the other hand, they also examine affected substances such as the Qi and the blood, as well as pathogens that accumulate within these systems, which include blood stasis, damp heat, and fire when offering patients with remedies (Franco et al., 2016). Since the onset of these episodes was a result of menstrual issues in the 56-year-old female, she has to reconsolidate both the thoroughfare and the conception vessel. Standard prescriptions for treating night sweats include Schisandra, ephedra roots, and oyster shells.
Depending on the techniques of examination, which include palpation, smelling (olfaction) and listening (auscultation), inspection, and questioning, nurses compare symptoms from individuals to establish the disharmony pattern. The process is necessary because it helps physicians provide the correct diagnosis for a particular disease (Maciocia & Scott, 2004). One of the factors considered is whether there is insufficient yin with flaming fire. Persistent night sweats, thready pulse, a red tongue, thirst, and constipation are symptoms of insufficient yin with flaming fire. If this is the case, an individual is recommended to take six yellow decoction and Chinese Angelica, tortoiseshell, and anemarrhena rhizome (Maciocia & Scott, 2004). These are necessary for balancing the yin so that the individual does not experience serious night sweats.
The other major sign that physicians consider is heart blood insufficiency. Blood deficiency is indicated by dry and blurry eyes, which the client exhibits. To examine these symptoms, there are numerous factors that the physician will examine. For instance, individuals suffering from night sweats will have a weak pulse, a pale tongue, fatigue, short breath, and easily wakes (Yang et al., 2018). Therefore, to treat this condition, the remedy must aim at arresting perspiration, nourishing the blood, and invigorating the blood. Medications, in this case, that can help an individual with these types of symptoms include mulberry leaf and Chinese sumac. These are essential in restoring an individual’s blood to normal, which is essential in treating night sweats. The patient
Doctors further evaluate an individual’s Yin and Qi to establish whether there exists an imbalance. There are situations where both the Qi and the Yin might be insufficient or deficient. To diagnose this, an individual must have night sweats, fatigue, thirst, shortness of breath, hot flashes, irritability, and palpitations. Other signs include a floating or weak pulse and the individual’s tongue may be red. According to experts, remedying this situation requires the replenishing of Qi to reunite the exterior body with the interior body, reduce the heat and enrich the yin (Wei et al., 2020). To achieve this goal, experts recommend several herbal prescriptions. These medications include oyster shells, glutinous rice straw roots, and astragalus roots. When patients take these prescriptions, they replenish both the Qi and the Yin for a more balanced body system with evenly distributed heat.
The other symptom that physicians use to diagnose night sweats is blood stasis. To recognize this sign, an individual must be experiencing profuse sweating, which worsens during the night. Other symptoms include a hesitant or deep pulse, a dull-red tongue, dryness of the mouth, lusterless nails and complexion, insomnia, skin numbness, and irritability (Yang et al., 2018). To treat this condition, experts recommend a type of medication that should cool and activate the blood, arrest sweating, and resolve stasis (Wei et al., 2020). There are numerous herbal treatments for these types of symptoms. Some of these include oyster shell powder, white peony root, and processed Rehmannia rhizome.
Acupuncture therapy is another common form of treatment for night sweats. As per the theory of Chinese medicine, what rules the body is the heat. The result is sweat and this is referred to as the heat system fluid (Wei et al., 2020). Fluid and blood are essential components of the Yin of the body, and this explains the association between the Yin and the hyperactive Yang of the heat and the depletion of the heart. Individuals usually demonstrate disharmony in heat patterns, including a red tongue, excessive sweating, insomnia, hot flashes, irritability, and palpitations. Besides arresting excessive sweating, acupuncture therapy can further enhance the body to replenish its harmonious state.
During treatment of night sweats, physicians combine herbal medication and acupuncture to ensure that the balance between Yin and Yang is restored. Menopausal symptoms such as mental restlessness, sleep irregularities, dysmenorrhea, irregular menstruation, night sweats, and hot flashes are some of the conditions that acupuncture together with herbal medicine can treat. Herbal medicine, when combined with acupuncture, has additional advantages such as having a therapeutic effect on a patient. Scientists state that the role of acupuncture is to open channel routes, while herbal medication provides nourishments to Yin and Yang (Wei et al., 2020). Thus, through continuous medication through medications, it is possible to reduce night sweats. Acupuncture, complemented with other herbal drugs is capable of balancing the body’s Yin and Yang to restore balance.
In terms of what must be treated, there are numerous factors that a doctor must take into account. In this case, the 56-year-old female is usually drenched in sweat on her chest and back and has trouble falling asleep. This should be treated as a priority because sleep patterns affect an individual’s mood and physical condition. For this reason, the lady often feels exhausted and this is accompanied by mood swings. According to research, there are imbalances between the Yin and the Yang (Yang et al., 2018). As a result, the Yin enters the body in excess causing an imbalance with the Yang. The effect of this imbalance is an increase in heat of the body, thereby resulting in excessive sweating.
Since it is excessive sweating that causes an individual to wake at the night, it is essential to solve this first. Acupunctural and herbal remedies should be considered to ensure that balance is restored within the body. The individual, in this instance, is usually fatigued; however, she does not perceive this as a result of the night sweats. The other important symptom is that the client generally feels thirst in the middle of the night and, as a result, she often sleeps with water nearby. To ensure that this stops, the mode of treatment should be one that can restore the Qi to replenish the exterior body. Furthermore, medication should involve herbal substances that can clear heat and enrich Yin.
Night sweats are episodes where an individual sweats profusely on their beddings and clothes during the night such that their sleep is interrupted. From a medical practitioner’s perspective, the body effectively functions when there is harmony between Yin and Yang. In the case of night sweats, Yin is mostly represented by the lungs, which produce the protective Qi. The protective Qi is the one responsible for protecting the exterior regions of the body and controlling the pores. When there is interference between the Yin and the Yang within the body, it means that the Qi produced does not efficiently work.
Andronaco, N. (2020). CMD102: Chinese medicine diagnosis & pattern differentiation [class handout]. Laureate International Universities, Fitzroy, Australia.
Chen, P. (2004). Diagnosis in traditional Chinese medicine. Paradigm Publications.
Franco, O. H., Chowdhury, R., Troup, J., Voortman, T., Kunutsor, S., Kavousi, M., Oliver-Williams, C., & Muka, T. (2016). Use of plant-based therapies and menopausal symptoms. JAMA, 315(23), Web.
Maciocia, G. & Scott. J. (2004). Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Guide. UK: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Wei, N., Yang, M., Zeng, L., & Zuo, Y. (2020). Discussion on the teaching of traditional Chinese medicine (Acupuncture and moxibustion) in Myanmar. Journal of Contemporary Educational Research, 4(4). Web.
Yang, H., Deng, Y., Li, J., Guo, L., Zhu, Y., Zhong, X., Long, Z., & Ye, L. (2018). Premature ovarian insufficiency identified as a kidney deficiency and liver constraint pattern treated by professor Zhiqiang Guo: A retrospective analysis. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences, 5(4), 344-349. Web.