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Posted by on Nov 16, 2018 in Urinary incontinence | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study looked at the safety and effectiveness of electroacupuncture in treating stress urinary incontinence (SUI) after menopause. It concluded that electroacupuncture could relieve SUI symptoms more than traditional acupuncture. 

Some background

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is urine leakage when there is pressure on the bladder. It is often observed when a patient coughs, sneezes or exercises. SUI happens as a result of weak muscles around the bladder. These muscles hold urine in. Women are more prone to SUI after menopause. 

Urinary incontinence can be treated by pelvic floor exercises, drug therapy, pessaries (to support the walls of the bladder) or nerve stimulation. Surgery can also be an option when these treatments do not work.

Acupuncture is another treatment for SUI. It involves inserting needles into the lower back.This aims to stimulate the muscles of the bladder. In electroacupuncture, the needles used have a current in them. This current should stimulate the muscles more than traditional acupuncture. 

Methods & findings

349 women who had previously gone through menopause were included in the study. These women were divided into two groups. Group 1 had electroacupuncture. Group 2 had traditional acupuncture. Groups received 18 treatment sessions over 6 weeks. Patients response to treatment was assessed for a 50% reduction in urine leakage. Assessment was made by a 1 hour pad test. Patients were also assessed by a bladder diary and incontinence questionnaires. 

17 patients did not respond to treatment. In the electroacupuncture group, 61% of patients responded to the treatment. In the traditional acupuncture group, 18.9% of patients responded to treatment. Incontinence episodes decreased more in the electroacupuncture group. Bladder diaries and incontinence questionnaires also showed a better SUI improvement in the electroacupuncture group. Side effects occured in 2.1% of patients and were mild in nature. 

The bottom line

This study concluded that SUI symptoms improved the most in post-menopausal women who had electroacupuncture. 

The fine print

The authors note that the cost of treatments was not assessed. This may affect a patient's decision to choose electroacupuncture. 

What’s next?

If you are interested in learning more about electroacupuncture to treat SUI, contact your doctor. 

Published By :

World Journal of Urology

Date :

Oct 13, 2018

Original Title :

Electroacupuncture for postmenopausal women with stress urinary incontinence: secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial.

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