Electroacupuncture for postmenopausal women with stress urinary incontinence: secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial

  • Weiming Wang
  • Yan Liu
  • Shaoxin Sun
  • Baoyan Liu
  • Tongsheng Su
  • Jing Zhou
  • Zhishun LiuEmail author
Original Article



The efficacy and safety of electroacupuncture was compared to those of sham electroacupuncture for the treatment of postmenopausal women with stress urinary incontinence (SUI).


This study was a secondary analysis of a multicenter, randomized controlled trial that recruited 504 women with SUI and randomized 349 postmenopausal women to receive 18 treatment sessions of electroacupuncture or sham electroacupuncture over 6 weeks, with a 24-week follow-up assessment. Treatment response was defined as a 50% or greater reduction in urine leakage, as measured by a 1-h pad test at week 6.


Of the 349 randomized women, 332 completed the study. The response rate was 61.0% in the electroacupuncture group compared to 18.9% in the sham electroacupuncture group (difference 42.5%; 95% confidence interval, 33.3–51.7; p < 0.001). After 6 weeks of treatment, the mean 72-h urinary incontinence episode frequency, proportion of participants with at least a 50% decrease in mean 72-h incontinence episode frequency, participant-reported SUI severity, International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Short Form scores, and participants’ self-evaluation of therapeutic effects improved in both groups, with significant between-group differences. Treatment-related adverse events occurred in 2.1% of women during the 6-week treatment.


Electroacupuncture may effectively and safely relieve urinary incontinence symptoms and improve quality of life in postmenopausal women with SUI.


Acupuncture Urinary incontinence Stress Postmenopause Woman Randomized controlled trial Electroacupuncture 



We acknowledge the volunteers for their participation. We thank Medjaden Bioscience Limited for editorial assistance.

Author contributions

WW: project development, data collection, and manuscript writing. YL: data analysis, data management, and manuscript writing. SS: project development, data collection and management. BL: data management and manuscript revision. TS: project development, data collection and management. JZ: project development and data collection. ZL: project development, data analysis, and critical review of the manuscript. All authors approve the final version of this manuscript to be published and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.


This study was supported by the program of the “12th Five-year” National Science and Technology Pillar Program (2012BAI24B01) by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Research involving human/animal participants

The study protocol was approved by independent ethics committees at all participating sites.

Informed consent

The participants’ informed consent was obtained from each patient before the performance of any study-specific procedures.

Supplementary material

345_2018_2521_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (561 kb)
Supplementary material 1 Detailed protocol of original research (PDF 560 kb)
345_2018_2521_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (17.7 mb)
Supplementary material 2 Ethics committee approval files (PDF 18126 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weiming Wang
    • 1
  • Yan Liu
    • 2
  • Shaoxin Sun
    • 1
  • Baoyan Liu
    • 1
  • Tongsheng Su
    • 3
  • Jing Zhou
    • 1
  • Zhishun Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Acupuncture and MoxibustionGuang’an Men Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Basic Research in Clinical MedicineChina Academy of Chinese Medical SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Acupuncture and MoxibustionShaanxi Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese MedicineXi’anChina

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