Aims: To investigate the additional benefit of acupuncture to pelvic floor exercise (PFE) on the improvement of urinary incontinence and quality of life (QoL) in women.
Methods: This was a single-blinded randomized controlled trial in a tertiary university hospital. Women with urinary incontinence in various severity and types were randomized to receive either a weekly course of acupuncture with pelvic floor exercise or pelvic floor exercise alone for 6 weeks and then followed up for 24 weeks in every 6 weeks. Investigators were blinded to group allocation in pre- and postintervention assessments.
Primary outcome was subjective changes of urinary incontinence symptoms at 24 weeks. Secondary outcomes were episodes and severity of urinary incontinence from bladder diary, severity by Visual Analogue Scale, and QoL scores by validated Chinese short-form of Urogenital Distress Inventory (UDI-6) and Incontinence Impact Questionnaire (IIQ-7).
Results: One hundred seventy-nine women were screened while 137 were randomized. Significant subjective improvement in urinary incontinence symptoms was demonstrated at all follow-up, latest at 24 weeks (odds ratio [OR]: 2.29, 95% confidence Interval [CI]: 1.02-5.12, respectively), with reduced episodes and severity of urinary incontinence after (p < 0.05), and a trend of improvement in IIQ-7 score (p = 0.05). No major adverse events occurred. History of 2 years or longer duration of urinary incontinence symptoms was associated with lower effectiveness of acupuncture (OR: 0.08, 95% CI: 0.01-0.68).