Cystitis which occurs in the absence of an infection is called interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome.
About Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. The most common types of urinary incontinence are:
- stress incontinence, when urine leaks out at times when your bladder is under pressure, for example when you cough or laugh
- urge incontinence, when urine leaks as you feel a sudden, intense urge to pass urine, or soon afterwards
Stress incontinence is usually the result of the weakening or damaging of the muscles used to prevent urination, such as the pelvic floor muscles and the urethral sphincter.
Urge incontinence is usually the result of over-activity of the muscles which control the bladder.
Urinary incontinence is more likely to develop where there is a family history of incontinence, after vaginal birth, and with obesity and increasing age.
Acupuncture for Cystitis and Urinary Problems
Research about the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of cystitis is limited, but studies In Norway have indicated that acupuncture may help cystitis by reducing inflammation, pain and swelling and enhancing neurological function.
A survey of 52 patients with interstitial cystitis (Holford & Tucker, 2010) reported that “acupuncture was perceived to be very effective in treating IC, reducing symptoms of pain, frequency, urgency, and nocturia by around half.”
Acupuncture trials for a range of types of urinary incontinence have shown positive outcomes.
A World Health Organization Review of Controlled Clinical Acupuncture Trials (2003) lists: recurrent lower urinary tract infection, traumatic retention of urine and urolithiasis (Bladder Stones) among conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed.
Treating Urinary Problems
Judy Bowen-Jones Lic Ac BSc Hons Ac MBAcC
Holford, E and Tucker T. (2010) An Investigation into the Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis with Acupuncture. Journal of Chinese Medicine, 99, 26-32.
World Health Organization. Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials (2003), 87pp. Full report http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/pdf/s4926e/s4926e.pdf
Research Fact Sheets
For more information see the British Acupuncture Council Research Fact Sheet below.