February 05, 2012
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?
According to the International Continence Society, overactive bladder is a condition characterized by urinary urgency, with or without urgency incontinence, usually with urinary frequency and nocturia. 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.
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