Electroacupuncture improved stress urinary incontinence -that’s when a woman can experience an involuntary loss of urine such as when sneezing or coughing – but acupuncture did not increase the likelihood of childbirth among women with infertility, according to two studies published by JAMA.
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is an involuntary loss of urine on physical exertion, sneezing, or coughing. Electroacupuncture involving the lumbosacral region (near the small of the back and the back part of the pelvis between the hips) may be effective for women with SUI, but evidence is limited. Baoyan Liu, M.D., of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China, and colleagues randomly assigned 504 women with SUI to receive 18 sessions (over 6 weeks) of electroacupuncture involving the lumbosacral region (n = 252) or sham electroacupuncture (n = 252) with no skin penetration on sham acupoints. For the electroacupuncture, paired electrodes were attached to needle handles; stimulation lasted for 30 minutes with a continuous wave of 50 Hz and a current intensity of 1 to 5 mA.
Among the randomized participants, 482 completed the study. The researchers found that at week six, the electroacupuncture group had a greater decrease in average urine leakage than the sham electroacupuncture group. The effects persisted 24 weeks after treatment. The incidence of adverse events was low.
“Further research is needed to understand long-term efficacy and the mechanism of action of this intervention,” the authors write.