Normally, you can control the muscles that keep urine in the bladder so you go only when you want to. But sometimes you may leak urine when you don’t want to. Leaks may happen once in a while or more often. This condition is called urinary incontinence.

The two most common types of urinary incontinence are urgency incontinence and stress incontinence.

Overactive Bladder

According to the research by Tim H. Tanaka (Ph.D., Japanese L. Ac.), Acupuncture has traditionally been utilized to treat a variety of urinary bladder dysfunctions and symptoms.

Research studies have suggested that acupuncture may be effective in treating chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome, preventing recurrent urinary tract infections, and relieving recurrent cystitis and overactive bladder. The exact mechanisms by which acupuncture works for certain individuals with urinary symptoms are unknown. However, it has been suggested that acupuncture elicits autonomic responses that exert a modulation effect on the nerves that control bladder function. In addition, acupuncture has been shown to positively influence the immune system and psycho-emotional status, and these effects may also benefit certain individuals with urinary symptoms. Here, I primarily discuss how acupuncture works in the management of overactive bladder symptoms.

What Is Overactive Bladder?

Overactive bladder is a condition characterized by urinary urgency, with or without urgency incontinence, usually with urinary frequency. A diagnosis of overactive bladder is made based on the patient’s symptoms and is appropriate in the absence of a proven infection or other obvious pathology. Overactive bladder is caused by the bladder muscles’ contracting before the bladder is full.

Symptoms of overactive bladder and explanation of terms;

Urinary urgency: The sudden, strong need to urinate immediately.
Urge incontinence: Leakage or gushing of urine that follows a sudden, strong urge.
Urinary frequency: Bothersome, frequent urination occurring eight or more times a day or two or more times at night.
Nocturia: Awaking at night to urinate.

Rationale of Acupuncture Treatment for Overactive Bladder

Acupuncture has been used to treat urological conditions for thousands of years, particularly in East Asian countries. In the West, the usage of acupuncture has greatly increased over the last 40 years. In the majority of cases, acupuncture has been used as an alternative or complementary treatment.

In recent years, however, acupuncture has also been used by urologists as a primary treatment for overactive bladder. Not many people, including general healthcare practitioners, are aware of this fact. Even patients who are receiving the treatment may not know that they are receiving acupuncture. This is because most of the time the therapy is not referred to as acupuncture; instead, it is introduced in different terms, such as “percutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation” or “Stoller afferent nerve stimulation,” which is one of the neuromodulation techniques.

If you think you have urinary incontinence Please Contact Us.  You can get more information on how acupuncture can help your urinary incontinence. We can help you determine the best course of acupuncture and moxa treatment.