Damp-Heat is a combination of factors that’s seen in most infections and inflammations, and it forms hot, swollen conditions that discharge fluids or pus (acne is an obvious example). There are times when this combination becomes really extreme and it then forms “Toxic Heat” which is literally poisonous and the inflammation can seriously challenge health and alter structures in the body. Damp-Heat can directly affect the fertility of either sex, and it’s often (but not always) caused by sexually transmitted infections, and Damp-Heat can be localised to specific areas (such as the genitals) or be part of a more general health picture like ‘metabolic syndrome’.
Damp-Heat that affects fertility often comes from sexual infections, and they need to be medicated as soon as possible as they can distort fallopian tubes and men’s genital tubes, which will significantly reduce the chances of a natural pregnancy. The more general affect of Damp-Heat is to speed up menstrual cycles, obstruct the normal flow of Qi, and cause distension and pain, and the turbid nature of Damp can inhibit the surge of cooling estrogen and LH that triggers ovulation and be a cause of anovulation.
Not all Damp-Heat conditions come from infections because our internal dynamics (in conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiac ill-health) can also generate Damp and Heat, as can high fat, high sugar diets and alcohol. It’s also possible for long-term stagnation of either Qi or Blood stagnation to obstruct fluid movement (which encourages it to stagnate and thicken), or the heat from chronic Yin deficiency can condense fluids and encourage Damp-Heat to form.
“Damp depression transforms into Heat; Heat depression transforms into Fire”
The combination of Damp and Heat is a powerful and potentially toxic mix, with a self-perpetuating energy to it, as this statementi explains:
“[When] Dampness [and] Heat are mixed up, this causes Dampness to transform into Fire and Fire to become Toxins”
When treating Damp-Heat conditions it’s essential they’re cleared as quickly as possible to allow a return to a healthy balance and to prevent more Yin (and Qi) being consumed.
i From Statements of Fact in Traditional Chinese Medicine by Bob Flaws. ISBN 0-936185-52-X