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Electroacupuncture for stress-related urinary incontinence in elderly women: data analysis from two randomised controlled studies
  1. Biyun Sun1,2,
  2. Yan Liu3,
  3. Tongsheng Su4,
  4. Yuanjie Sun1,2 and
  5. Zhishun Liu1
  1. 1Department of Acupuncture, Guang’anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
  2. 2China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
  3. 3Key Laboratory of Chinese Internal Medicine of Ministry of Education, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine Affiliated Dongzhimen Hospital, Beijing, China
  4. 4Shanxi Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Xian, Shanxi, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Zhishun Liu, Beijing, China; zhishunjournal{at}


Objective To compare the efficacy of electroacupuncture (EA) in elderly and non-elderly women with stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or stress-predominant mixed urinary incontinence (MUI).

Methods This study was a secondary analysis of two randomised controlled trials involving 252 women with SUI and 132 women with stress-predominant MUI who were treated with the same EA regimen. Elderly women were defined as those aged >60 years. The main outcome measure was the proportion of patients with ≥50% decrease in the mean 72-hour urinary incontinence episode frequency (IEF) from baseline to week 6. Overall, 1004 women were recruited in the SUI and MUI trials. In the EA group, those with urge-predominant or balanced MUI at baseline were excluded from the current study, resulting in a sample size of 384.

Results Out of 384 patients with SUI or stress-predominant MUI who were treated with EA, 371 completed the study. After 6-week treatment, the proportion of women who achieved ≥50% decrease in mean 72-hour IEF from baseline was 57.3% (51/89) in the elderly group and 60.70% (173/285) in the non-elderly group; the between-group difference was not significant (3.11%, 95% CI −9.83% to 16.05%; p=0.637). Similar outcomes were observed at weeks 4, 16 and 28. Both groups showed reduction in the 72 -hour IEF, amount of urine leakage (assessed by 1-hour pad test) and International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Short Form score from baseline with no significant between-group difference. No obvious EA-related adverse events were observed during the study.

Conclusion EA may be an effective and safe alternative treatment for SUI or stress-predominant MUI in both elderly and non-elderly women. Age may not affect the treatment outcomes of acupuncture.

Trial registration numer NCT01784172, NCT02047032.

  • electroacupuncture
  • aged
  • female urogenital diseases
  • urinary incontinence
  • stress

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  • BS and YL are joint first authors.

  • BS and YL contributed equally.

  • Contributors BS, YL and ZL had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of data analysis. Study concept and design: BS, YL and ZL. Acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data: all authors. Drafting the manuscript: BS, YL and YS. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: TS and ZL. Statistical analysis: YL. Obtained funding: ZL. All of the authors gave final approval of the version to be published and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding This study was supported and funded by the program of “the 13th Five-year’’ National Key R&D Project (2017YFC1703602; 2017YFC1703506) by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study protocols were approved by independent ethics committees at all participating sites.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request.

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