Tag Archive | "bladder"

Laser Acupuncture for Young Bedwetters

According to a new study in Turkey, laser acupuncture therapy which is a noninvasive, painless, short term therapy with low cost can be considered as an alternative therapy for young bedwetters.

The researchers wanted to see if they could help kids stop wetting the bed by targeting points on the body associated with the bladder in traditional Chinese medicine.  From their clinic, they recruited 91 young patients who were bedwetters with an average age of 8-9 years old and who typically wet the bed about 4 nights a week.

About two-thirds of the kids received acupuncture therapy on traditional bladder points using a low-power laser 3 times a week for 4 weeks.  For comparison, the other kids received the same treatment using a fake laser.

Of the kids who got the real laser therapy, 40% stopped wetting the bed entirely after 15 days compared to 8% of those with fake laser treatment.  After 6 months, rates of complete improvement were 54% versus 12%.  Also, 6 months after the treatment, kids in the laser therapy group wet the bed on an average less than twice a week compared to 3 times a week in the fake laser group.

But outside researchers were more skeptical that the procedure is any better than current methods used to treat bedwetters such as behavioral therapy (setting an alarm to wake kids up to pee during the night) and medications that make the body produce less urine.

Dr. Steve Hodges, who was not involved in the study, is a pediatric urologist from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina said “there’s a valid scientific basis for nerve stimulation leading to bladder relaxation, and therefore increasing your capacity to hold urine at night but the question is whether you need that.”

Dr. Peter Lipson, who was also not involved in the study, is an internist in Southeastern Michigan said the effect of acupuncture was probably due to chance and challenged whether the bladder points that were stimulated by the laser were medically relevant.  “The diagram on those points does not correspond to any real, physiologic or anatomic thing and there is no way to measure, observe or otherwise verify the existence of these points other than by folklore” he added.

About 5 million U.S. kids over age 5 are bedwetters according to the National Institutes of Health.  Those kids make more urine during the night than their bladders can hold but don’t wake up to use the bathroom when their bladders are full.

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Who is affected?

Incontinence (in-CONT-ti-nunce), according to the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, affects approximately 13 million Americans – 85% of which are women. One in four women will experience episodes of involuntary urine leakage in their lifetimes, and over 50% of all nursing home patients suffer from both urinary and bowel incontinence. This common problem affects men and women of all ages, ethnicities and social backgrounds.

What is it?

Incontinence is the loss of bladder or bowl control, which means that you sometimes have difficulty urinating or controlling the urge to urinate. Incontinence is a symptom of many disorders and conditions. It can accompany pregnancy or childbirth, as well as natural changes associated with aging, pelvic surgery or injury, weak pelvic floor muscles, obesity, spinal cord injury, neurological disease, multiple sclerosis, poliomyelitis and infection. Bladder issues also occur as a side-effect of medications such as anti-depressants and alpha-blockers.

Sufferers experience both physical and emotional discomfort, and many people feel ashamed or embarrassed by their condition.

How does it work?

Your urinary system, which includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra, is affected by incontinence. Your kidneys continuously produce urine, which is transported by tube-like ureters into the bladder. When it is convenient, the circular sphincter muscle relaxes and causes urination. If any part of the urinary system malfunctions, bladder issues can result. The two most common forms are stress incontinence and urge incontinence.

What can be done?

If you think you may have incontinence, don’t worry! The vast majority of people with bladder control issues can be helped or cured with today’s medical technology. Despite this high success rate, one in twelve suffers do not seek medical treatment. It’s important to be upfront with your doctor about your symptoms, so that he or she can formulate the best treatment plan for your specific needs.

Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may recommend a combination of medicine and nutritional supplements, pelvic muscle strengthening exercises, behavioral modification, absorbent products and collection devices. Severe cases may require surgical treatment, but sometimes, simple changes in diet may be sufficient to cure incontinence. Talk to your healthcare professional today to see how you can begin the road to recovery.

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