Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Post-Stroke Incontinence Recovery Reported

acupuncture credit urinearystroke

Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment protocol for post-stroke urinary incontinence. The two-arm investigation compared electroacupuncture with manual acupuncture and the study was conducted in three hospitals with strict clinical trial controls. The electroacupuncture group had superior patient outcomes.

Researchers in Yueyang Hospital (affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine), Shaanxi Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Tianjin People’s Hospital conducted a clinical experiment on the efficacy of treating urinary incontinence in post-stroke patients with electroacupuncture and that of routine manual acupuncture. The electroacupuncture treatment yielded superior patients outcomes over manual acupuncture.

Observational parameters in the study involved the following three scales: the Overactive Bladder Symptom Score (OABSS), International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Urinary Incontinence Short Form (ICIQ-UI SF), and the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS). A symptom scoring system was created based on these three scales to evaluate patients’ abnormal urination. Higher scores indicated more severe conditions.

The scoring system specifies frequency of urine leakage, frequency of urinary incontinence, urgency, and nighttime frequency. These indicators are recorded and assessed at T1 (prior to the treatment), T2 (after the treatment), and T3 (three months after the treatment). The amount of leakage was also recorded, with higher scores signifying more leakage. Upon completion of the treatment, all indicators presented more significant improvements in the electroacupuncture group over the regular manual acupuncture group. The discrepancy between these two groups remained remarkable three months following the treatment.

The sample of the study was comprised of 160 patients admitted into the three aforementioned hospitals. The patients were randomized into a regular manual acupuncture group and an electroacupuncture group, with 80 cases in each group. One patient in the electroacupuncture group and four patients in the manual acupuncture group dropped the experiment due to personal reasons. After experiencing a stroke, all patients demonstrated symptoms including a sudden, intense urge to urinate and an involuntary loss of urine. Patients were conscious with normal cognitive function and experienced the stroke 15 days prior to admission to the study. Age range was 40 to 70 years. Urinalysis showed no abnormalities. Those with urological tumors and urinary stones were excluded from the experiment.

Patients from both groups were administered regular pharmaceuticals for stroke. In the control group, patients with hemiplegia underwent therapeutic exercises and manual acupuncture. Treatment was performed for 20 minutes daily, with five consecutive days and a two day interval to complete a course. A total of two courses were administered. Points were chosen on patients’ heads, as well as at the limbs on the paralyzed side.

  • GV20 (Baihui)
  • EX-HN1 (Sishencong)
  • LI15 (Jianyu)
  • LI11 (Quchi)
  • TB5 (Waiguan)
  • LI4 (Hegu)
  • GB31 (Fengshi)
  • GB34 (Yanglingquan)
  • BL60 (Kunlun)

In the electroacupuncture group, the treatment was conducted with patients taking a supine position. Three points were used: CV4 (Guanyuan), CV3 (Zhongji), and KD12 (Dahe, bilateral). Needles were obliquely inserted with a 45 degree angle to the skin. Insertion length was 25 to 40 mm. The needling deqi sensation should reach the bladder, perineum, or urethra. Upon achieving deqi, needles were twisted 45 degrees clockwise ten times per minute for one minutes to hold the qi. Zhongji and left Dahe, Guanyuan and right Dahe, were connected to an electroacupuncture device respectively. Frequency was set at 4/20 Hz, alternating. Needle retention time was 20 minutes. Treatment frequency and duration was the same as in the control group.

Treatment outcomes were quantified with OABSS, ICIQ-UI SF, and IPSS systems. Both groups improvement with significantly better outcomes produced in the electroacupuncture group. HealthCMi experts agree that another investigation employing the local electroacupuncture techniques used in this investigation combined with additional scalp acupuncture may yield important results.


Wang Xi, Yang Zhuolin, Song Qinqin, Tang Kangmin, Ming Shuren, Jiang Fan, Chen Yuelai, Therapeutic Evaluation of Electroacupuncture on Urge Urinary Incontinence Patients after Stroke, China Journal of Traditional Medicine and Pharmacy, October 2022, Vol. 37, No.10.


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