Andrology has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine.
Discussions about andropathies and documentation of relevant
theraputic methods abound in ancient literature in TCM. The
integrated treatment combining TCM and Western medicine has
seen both broad-scoped and in-depth development and boasts a
formidable status in modern day andrology in China. This paper
attempts to demonstrate the unique advantage of the integrated
treatment in the therapy of andropathies through a review of the
ancient literature in TCM on andrology as well as exposition of
the recent development in the integrative treatment of prostatic
diseases, sexual dysfunctions, male infertilities, and late-onset
hypogonadism. It calls for the advancement of a medical theory
that integrates TCM and Western medicine practices so as to
create a new therapeutic system for diseases involving male
sexual health with standardized therapeutic and evaluative
Andrology in both traditional and integrated medicine
has been particularly widely developed and applied in China.
Andrology, as a formal field of medicine in the modern day
China, started in the late 1980s, however, traditional Chinese
medicine (TCM) and integrated medicine took an important
role in the practice of Chinese andrology soon thereafter.
China's history reflects an emphasis on males in society
and stresses men's sex, as well as diet, as being essential and
indispensible, as depicted by the classical saying "the desire
for food and sex is a part of human nature". Knowledge and
therapeutic know-hows about andropathies were introduced
via bamboo slips that were unearthed from Mawangtui Han's
tomb, which reflects a long history of TCM in the diagnosis and
treatment of andropathies. The recording of sexual techniques
can be found in the He Yin Yang (Integration of Yin and Yang),
the Yu Fang Mi Yao & Mi Jue (Recipe for Sexual Intercourse)
and the Qian Jin Yao Fang as well as in Buddhist and Taoist
documents, poems and songs. The early use of prescriptions,
Qigong (a kind of exercise for keeping healthy developed in
ancient China ) and therapeutic guidelines can be found in many
Ancient literature in TCM mainly described sex as it pertains
to subjective sensation and actual performance of the body in sexual life. Moreover, TCM summarized instructions, methods
and matters to direct sexual activity, including "ten motions,"
"seven impairments," and "eight benefits," which assert that
sexual life should be moderate, men may not marry before
30 years of age and women may not marry before 20 years of age.
Even now, these theories have a basis in scientific nature.
TCM also introduces theory surrounding the retention of
urine and dysuria. Additionally, TCM discussions on hematuria
with turbid discharge and turbid urine have important
significance for the treatment of chronic prostatitis today.
Essentially, people from ancient history offered an introduction
and an accumulation of experience in the diagnosis and
treatment of several major diseases in andrology. This influence
has practical significance for guiding diagnosis and treatment
today and is also very important for the field of integrated
medicine with respect to disease diagnosis, clinical trials and
Historical practices in andrology enriche present-day
therapies in the field. Integrated andrological treatment further
improves and contributes to traditional treatments in the
aspect of syndrome differentiation, and progress in Western
medicine related to disease differentiation allows for improved
clinical differentiation of andropathies that can be used more
consistently in clinical practice. Modern scientific method has
been especially valuable in the research of TCM treatment
of male sexual health and enabled TCM to feature Chinese
characteristics in a more modern, scientific and practical manner
and reveals the nature of modern medicine, which integrates
traditional and Western techniques.
Andrology in TCM, especially in integrated medicine, offers a
unique advantage in the treatment of male sexual health.