Acupuncture appears to improve overactive bladder

July 21, 2005

Women receiving four weekly bladder-specific acupuncture treatments experienced significant improvements in bladder capacity, urgency, frequency, and quality of life compared with women receiving placebo treatments in a study appearing in Obstetrics & Gynecology (2005; 106:138-43).

Women receiving four weekly bladder-specific acupuncture treatments experienced significant improvements in bladder capacity, urgency, frequency, and quality of life compared with women receiving placebo treatments in a study appearing in Obstetrics & Gynecology (2005; 106:138-43).

The randomized, placebo-controlled trial enrolled 85 women who were assigned to either receive an acupuncture treatment expected to improve bladder symptoms or a placebo acupuncture treatment to promote relaxation. They underwent cystometric testing, completed a 3-day voiding diary, and completed the urinary distress inventory and incontinence impact questionnaire before and after four weekly treatments.

The researchers said that women in both treatments arms had significant decreases in the number of incontinent episodes without a significant difference in the change between the groups. Women in the treatment group had a 14% reduction in urinary frequency (p=.013), a 30% reduction in the proportion of voids associated with urgency (p=.016), and a 13% increase in both maximum voided volume and maximum cystometric capacity (p=.01).

Both groups also experienced improvements in the urinary distress inventory and incontinence impact questionnaire scores (54% decrease for treatment, 30% decrease for placebo), according to the researchers, from the Oregon Health and Science University, Portland.