Incontinence and urinary tract disorders commonly arise as one gets older, especially for women over 50. One reason the risk for incontinence increases as we age is because the bladder lining starts losing elasticity which, in turn, reduces its ability to store urine. This can result in frequent and urgent bouts of urination. If this occurs at night it is called nocturia.
In some cases, coughing, sneezing or pressure on the abdomen may cause an involuntary voiding of urine, known as leakage. Those suffering from incontinence also endure a greater risk for repeated urinary tract infections (UTI).
A UTI occurs when bacteria enters the urinary system through the kidneys, urethra, ureters and/or the bladder. Although signs and symptoms vary according to the location of the bacteria, some common signs include the urgent, persistent urge to urinate, burning on urination, and cloudy urine. These conditions not only signal a malfunction of the urinary tract system, but may lead to social isolation and/or loss of self esteem.
Fortunately, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can address bladder health and reduce the symptoms of incontinence. The July 2005 edition of Obstetrics and Gynecology detailed a study called Acupuncture for overactive bladder: a randomized controlled trial. The study aimed to compare acupuncture treatments versus placebo acupuncture for an overactive bladder.
Out of the 85 women initially enrolled, 74 completed the four weekly sessions. The researchers concluded that women who received four weekly bladder-specific acupuncture treatments had significant improvements in bladder capacity, urinary urgency and frequency, and quality of life as compared with women who received the placebo acupuncture treatments.
To maintain bladder health, increase water consumption and avoid irritants such as coffee, orange juice and most soft drinks, which can stimulate the bladder. Kegel, or pelvic floor exercises, can tonify the muscles used in urination.
If you struggle with bladder health or continence contact All and One Acupuncture in northeast Portland to how acupuncture can help you.