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Bad Breath Problem
Halitosis is the medical name for "bed breath". The irony here is this: people usually aren't aware of their own breath, and most people think the other person's breath smells foul. This is the interesting polarity. But once in a while a person walks into the clinic and tells you even they themselves are aware of their own breath.
This patient is an elderly female. The issue of bad breath has been a bother to her for some months. She feels embarrassed by this problem and has trouble speaking in public to people for fear her breath may become an offense. I asked her about her diet, it seemed that there wasn't any issues. I subsequently performed Chinese Medicine diagnostics, and discovered there was a lot of sounds in her abdomen. I told her, the issue of her breath is of intestinal origin.
I prescribed 3 day's worth of Chinese Medicine, and instructed her to come back after she finishes them. When she came for the 2nd visit, she told me, her daughter was the first person to notice the disappearance of her breath on the 2nd day of herbs. Not only that, she said after the first day of herbs, there was sudden diarrhea. And following that her bowel movement normalized. It seemed she also had constipation which I was not told of. Regardless, it wasn't necessary that I knew, because I wasn't treating constipation. In fact had it been diarrhea, her bowel movement would still normalize after the herbs. A few more packs of herbs and the problem essentially went away.
Chinese Medicine is systemic medicine. This has two meanings. One is the medicine is intended to treat all the problems around the body as one holistic whole. The other is when we are treating one problem, other co-existing conditions which the doctor may not be aware of due to various reasons, also improve as well, without the medicine actually being intended for that issue to begin with. This case illustrates the latter quite clearly.
Some people also ask why this patient has foul breath and intestinal issues even though there were no obvious diet propensities or inadequacies. My answer is simple: modern medicine still don't know the reason for many diseases, and while Chinese Medicine does have its understang of disease etiology and pathogenesis, this isn't always clear in all circumstances. But regardless, Chinese Medicine is about the here and the now---history and origin of a problem aren't always crucial to treatment. Most of the time we do not need to know.