Acupuncture for Overactive Bladder
Acupuncture is used to treat a very broad range of issues beyond pain. Acupuncture initiates changes in the brain, glands, muscle tissue and elsewhere contributing to a host of chemical and biological changes in the body. Animal studies help us to find out the deeper changes that are happening with acupuncture that are largely expressible only by positive symptomatic changes in humans. In this study, researchers from the Guiyang College of TCM in Guiyang China used rats with overactive bladders to find out the effects from acupuncture on that system.
Knowing that clinically acupuncture has been shown helpful for patients with a wide range of urinary/bladder issues including overactive bladder, understanding how it is helping in western terms may be useful to develop better treatments. Using rats stimulated to have overactive bladders, researchers used sacral-vertebrae points to look at the physical and biochemical responses from acupuncture in bladder activity and in neurons related to bladder activity around Barrington's nucleus (also known as the Pontine micturition center or PMC).
Researchers found that in nearly 65% of the rats simple sacral acupuncture for only 1 minute suppressed bladder contractions for 27-2347 seconds and they found significant changes in bladder activity related neurons, in all but a small percentage leading to less activity in the bladder. Researchers conclude that acupuncture in these areas suppress bladder contractions and decrease bladder activity related neurons in and around Barrington's nucleus and that these changes are mediated by GABAergic systems.
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