The team looked for relevant studies in databases such as PubMed, EMBASE, CENTRAL, and Web of Science. They also conducted a search using local databases in China, Japan, Korea, and Russia. They found 23 studies that investigated how electroacupuncture affects postoperative urinary retention. These studies included 1,861 patients in total.
The team found that electroacupuncture has therapeutic effects on those with postoperative urinary retention. These effects included increased bladder capacity, reduced discomfort during urination, and decreased residual urine volume, which eliminated the need for catheterization.
The researchers also found that electroacupuncture produced better results than other therapies, such as exercise and meditation. Electropuncture even caused fewer side effects and was comparatively safe as a treatment.
“Further research is needed to understand [the] long-term efficacy and the mechanism of action of the intervention,” the researchers wrote in their report. “Large-scale, long-term RCTs with rigorous methodological quality are needed to clarify the role of [electroacupuncture] in [postoperative urinary retention].”
People with urinary retention are unable to empty their bladders completely. The condition can either manifest as acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). A person with acute urinary retention cannot urinate at all even if her bladder is full, causing great discomfort and pain. In some cases, the condition can be life-threatening and requires emergency treatment. A person with chronic urinary retention, on the other hand, is able to urinate but is unable to fully empty their bladder. People who have this condition may not know that they have it until it causes complications, such as urinary tract infection (UTI) or urinary incontinence.
Urinary retention can be caused by many things, such as:
Many patients experience urinary retention after surgery. Being given anesthesia to block pain signals and intravenous (IV) fluid to address any potential blood loss often results to this. The combination of anesthesia and IV fluids can lead to a full bladder afterward with no way of discharging. For most people, normal bladder function is restored once the effects of anesthesia wear off.
A recent study published in the World Journal of Anesthesiology took a closer look at postoperative urinary retention. In this systematic review of literature, researchers from different institutions in India found that postoperative urinary retention is surprisingly common: Over 70 percent of the cases they investigated involved some degree of the condition.
Aside from electroacupuncture, there are other ways to manage urinary retention that don't require popping another pill.
Learn more natural ways of improving bladder health in women at WomensHealth.news.