Bladder problems, incontinence, and acupuncture & PTNS

Overactive bladder affects 16-18% of the US adult population with a higher incidence in the elderly.  The expense to the healthcare system is approximately $12 billion annually. Incontinence is responsible for up to 10% of nursing home admissions for people adding an adding an additional $6 billion.

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Incontinence is a condition that can lead to depression and  social isolation.

Patients who have not been treated, or who do not respond to standard treatments, are often condemned to a life controlled by their bladder, and this can be devastating for their quality of life. Acupuncture is a very effective treatment for incontinence, and quality of life can dramatically improve, with treatment.


Urologic issues such as overactive bladder, and interstitial cystitis, causing incontinence can be treated using acupuncture. Acupuncture is an effective therapy for Overactive Bladder and the associated symptoms of frequency, urgency and urinary incontinence.

For those patients who have tried pharmaceutical therapy and it didn’t work, or for those who are are unable to tolerate side effects of commonly prescribed anticholinergics, or those who are not candidates for more invasive surgery, and for those who chose this route prior to before mentioned options, acupuncture is a safe and effective method.

In Western medicine, a variation of acupuncture called PTNS, is used to treat incontinence symptoms, and it is considered safe and effective.

Traditional acupuncture is a healthcare method based on ancient principles which go back nearly two thousand years, and it includes the treatment of symptoms, as well as treatment of the underlying condition, therefore it is a cut above simple PTNS treatments, and potentially has a much greater success rate. More studies can be done to confirm this.

The use of electroacupuncture on specific points in the lower abdomen; spine and leg have beneficial effects bladder control for up to 3 months following acupuncture treatment.

A treatment plan will be created at your first appointment, and will likely include 1-3 times weekly visits initially, followed by a tapering off period, and finally a maintenance period will be established.

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