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Acupuncture restores urine flow blocked by enlarged prostate

Research found acupuncture can reduce urinary retention caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
A total of 70 patients diagnosed with urinary retention secondary to prostatic hyperplasia (aged 48-64, average course of disease about 3.5 years, bladder residual urine volume 50-80 ml) were randomly assigned to electroacupuncture treatment (n=39) or medication (finasteride plus herbs) control group (n=31), respectively.

Patients in electroacupuncture group received daily session of acupuncture treatment at 10 acupuncture points for 21 sessions whereas patients in the control group take medication for 3 weeks.
Effects were evaluated before and after the treatment course in terms of prostate volume (PV) and bladder residual urine volume (RUV) using doppler ultrasound. The total treatment effective rate for each group was derived as the percentage of patients who achieved at least an effective treatment tier of improvement. The treatment efficacy was rated:

  • Significantly effective: Complete or significant absence of symptoms (including urinary urgency, urinary frequency, difficulty urinating, interrupted flow and nocturia). RUV≤10ml. Significant decrease in the size of the prostate detected via ultrasonography.
  • Effective: Symptoms showed improvement. RUV≤20ml. Decrease in the size of the prostate detected via ultrasonography.
  • Not effective: Symptoms showed no visible improvement. RUV≥50 ml. No change in the size of the prostate detected via ultrasonography.

Acupuncture produced a 94.9% total effective rate. Similarly, the medication regimen achieved a 96.8% total effective rate. In the acupuncture group, 30 out of the 39 patients significantly recovered. In the drug plus herb group, 23 out of 31 patients significantly recovered.
The researchers note that modern studies demonstrate that stimulation of these acupoints with electroacupuncture regulates micturition, specifically contraction of the bladder detrusor muscle and opening of the internal sphincter. They add that modern studies also document that acupuncture eliminates congestion or edema and relieves urethral pressure.

Liu YL, et al. Observations on the therapeutic effect of electroacupuncture on urinary retention due to prostatic hyperplasia. Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion 2017(11):1318-1320.

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