An overactive bladder syndrome occurs when the bladder contracts suddenly without you having control and when the bladder is not full. There is no cause that can be found for the repeated and uncontrolled bladder contractions. Symptoms include sudden urgent desire to pass urine, going to the toilet often (more than 7 times a day), waking to go to the toilet more than once at night, leaking of urine before you can get to the toilet.
Conventional treatments for patients with overactive bladder syndrome are physiotherapy that incudes pelvic floor exercises and oral medications like anticholinergics or beta agonist. Behavior modification measures are limited. Oral medications are effective in 60% of these patients, but there are serious side effects. The side effects outweigh the benefits of the treatment, and can require patients to then undergo surgery.
Here are some top studies about the effectiveness of acupuncture on patients with overactive bladder syndrome.
There are many studies about posterior tibial nerve stimulation for treatment symptoms of overactive bladder, has been published recently.
In 2012, a review of 30 studies of “percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation” demonstrated moderate to marked improvement of bladder symptoms. It reduced the number of urinations per day, episodes of leaking of urine, the number of urinations at night. It also increased the volume of urine. Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation is a technique that involves insertion of acupuncture-like needle close to the tibial bone on the leg, which is in fact an acupuncture point Sp 6, innervated by posterior tibial nerve. After the insertion, the nerve is stimulated by an electric current for 30 minutes.
Between 2011 and 2013, in a clinical study conducted by a research team at Whipps Cross University Hospital and University College of London Hospital, acupuncture was proven to be effective and did not show any side effects for controlling overactive bladder syndrome, with the rate of 79% of patients in the study showing clinically significant improvements.
- David R. Staskin et al. Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation: A Clinically and Cost Effective Addition to the Overactive Bladder Algorithm of Care. Curr Urol Rep. 2012 Oct; 13(5): 327–334. Published online 2012 Aug 15. Link
- Li C et al. Acupuncture in the management of overactive bladder syndrome. Link