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Urinary Retention: Acupuncture Treatment


Urinary retention can have both functional and obstructive causes. Functional causes include relaxation of the bladder detrusor muscle due to surgery, childbirth, or tension contraction of the external urethral sphincter. Obstructive causes include conditions like prostate enlargement leading to compression. Numerous clinical reports have shown that acupuncture can be effective for urinary retention caused by various reasons, particularly for non-obstructive or functional urinary retention.


Acupuncture is most effective in treating functional urinary retention, such as postpartum urinary retention, which is more common in women who have had difficult or prolonged labor. The mechanism behind acupuncture's effectiveness in treating functional urinary retention seems related to reducing bladder neck pressure and urethral closure pressure.


Acupuncture also has certain effectiveness for urinary retention caused by organic obstructions. Long-standing urinary retention can lead to a relaxation of the bladder sphincter, exacerbating the retention and creating a vicious cycle. Acupuncture can increase the tone of the bladder sphincter, thereby improving urinary retention. Additionally, acupuncture can have some effect on certain obstructive causes of urinary retention, like prostate enlargement, but typically requires a course of treatment to show significant improvement.


In summary, acupuncture offers a non-invasive treatment option for urinary retention, particularly functional urinary retention. It can also complement other treatments for obstructive urinary retention, helping to alleviate symptoms and potentially reducing the severity of the condition.

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