Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder. It affects 10% of the population. Women are more commonly affected.
The most common types of leaking urine are stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence is when urine leaks out at times when the bladder is under pressure, such as coughing, sneezing, heavy lifting exercising and laughing. Stress incontinence is usually the result of the weakening of or damage to the muscles used to prevent urination, such as the pelvic floor muscles and the urethral sphincter.
Urge incontinence is when urine leaks as a sudden, intense urge to pass urine is needed. Urge incontinence is usually the result of overactivity of the muscles, which control the bladder. It is also known as overactive bladder. Pelvic floor muscle training is one of the treatments used to treat this condition.
Overflow incontinence. This is caused by the bladder not being emptied completely.
Functional incontinence. A physical or mental impairment keeps you from making it to the toilet in time.
Mixed incontinence. Combination of any types above.
There are many causes for urinary incontinence: Some food and drinks such as alcohol caffeine, chilli peppers and food containing high in spice, sugar, or acid. It can be caused by some medical conditions such as urinary tract infection, constipation enlarged prostate in men, pregnancy and childbirth in women etc.
Risk factors for urinary incontinence include gender, women are more likely to have leaking urine, age, older people turn to get more. Overweight, smoking, having diabetes, and neurological conditions.
Acupuncture is effective to treat urinary incontinence. This is proved by research papers. For example, recently Xu et al investigated the effectiveness of acupuncture on stress urinary incontinence. Before treatment a 72-hour bladder diary recorded by participants at baseline (week 0) and then acupuncture treatment was applied and the bladder diary was recorded during the treatment period (weeks 2, 4 and 6) and follow-up period (weeks 15–18 and weeks 27–30). In the bladder diary, the participants recorded in detail the time and frequency of UI, activity that occurred at the time of leak, and the type and volume of liquid intake. 80 women participated the study and they reported significant improvement after 6, 18, and 30 weeks acupuncture treatments.
Another new research paper investigated the effect of acupuncture on stress urinary incontinence. The result has shown that after 6 weeks of treatment, the mean 72-h urinary incontinence episode frequency, proportion of participants with at least a 50% decrease in mean 72-h incontinence episode frequency, participant-reported SUI severity, International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Short Form scores, and participants' self-evaluation of therapeutic effects all improved.
A review has reported that acupuncture can reduce the amount of urine leakage, improve incontinence.
Xu et al PloS One ( 2016) 11(3):e0150821.
Wang W et al World J Urol 2018 Oct 13. doi: 10.1007/s00345-018-2521-2. [Epub ahead of print]
Zilin Long et al Front Public Health. 2022; 10: 827853.