Recommendations for treating overactive bladder with acupuncture

Chinese authors have reviewed the available research on acupuncture for treating overactive bladder (OAB), analysed its mechanisms of action and provided a suggested therapeutic regimen. They reviewed five RCTs and one comparative study on acupuncture for OAB to discuss acupoint location, treatment course and retention time based on clinical evidence and treatment principles from TCM. The analysis found that acupuncture can regulate bladder function by inhibiting unmyelinated C nerve fibres, modulating the production of nerve growth factors and reducing spontaneous contractions of the bladder’s detrusor muscle. Based on the available evidence, a combination of local and distal acupoints were recommended, with Gongsun SP-4, Guanyuan REN-4 and Taixi KID-3 strongly recommended. The recommended acupuncture treatment course was at least four weeks, with a frequency of no less than once a week and a duration of no less than 20 minutes per session. 

Acupuncture for Women with Overactive Bladder: Perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Related Mechanism. Int J Gen Med. 2023 Mar 28;16:1137-1148.