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Nihon Hinyokika Gakkai Zasshi. 1998 Jul;89(7):665-9.

[Acupuncture for urinary incontinence in patients with chronic spinal cord injury. A preliminary report].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Physiology, Meiji University of Oriental Medicine.



We investigated the possible use of acupuncture for the treatment of urinary incontinence caused by detrusor hyperflexia in patients with chronic spinal cord injury.


A total of 8 male chronic spinal cord injured patients with urinary incontinence were treated by acupuncture. Their ages ranged from 20 to 33 years (mean 27). The level of lesion was cervical in 4 and thoracic in 4. Detrusor hyperreflexia with uninhibited bladder contraction was confirmed by urodynamic studies in all of them. Acupuncture was performed using a disposable stainless needle (0.3 mm in diameter, 60 mm in length), which was inserted into bilateral BL-33 (Zhongliao) points and was rotated manually for 10 minutes. The treatment was conducted every week for 4 weeks. Urodynamic studies were repeated, immediately after the beginning of and a week after the completion of the treatment. Urinary symptoms were also checked before and after the treatment.


No side effects were recognized throughout the treatment period. Among 8 patients, incontinence was controlled completely in 3 (38%) and partially in 3 (38%). The average maximum cystometric bladder capacity increased significantly, from 42.3 +/- 37.9 ml to 148.1 +/- 101.2 ml by the treatment (p < 0.05), while the average maximum bladder pressure was not changed.


These data suggest that acupuncture could be a promising alternative for conventional therapies for urinary incontinence caused by detrusor hyperreflexia in patients with chronic spinal cord injuries.

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