Pelvic floor disorders, including chronic pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse impact quality of life for nearly 1 in 4 women, according to Jennifer H. Fang, BA, of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. As the search for new treatments continue, Fang decided to identify the quality of current literature regarding the efficacy of acupuncture as treatment for these disorders.
For the review, Fang searched PubMed and Scopus databases using various search terms. The results were independently screened by 2 reviewers and ultimately included 17 papers.
According to the findings, 8 of the 17 studies involved acupuncture’s impact on chronic pelvic pain, which included 7 randomized controls trials and 1 qualitative study. All of those demonstrated a reduction in perceived pain intensity, but 3 studies concluded no difference when compared to control groups. Urinary incontinence, Fang said, was studied in 7 of the 17 articles. All of those were randomized controlled trials, and 16 of them concluded acupuncture as at least non-inferior to other conservative treatments.
The remaining 2 studies involved the topic of pelvic floor dysfunction—1 was a randomized controlled trial and the other was a clinical trial. Both, Fang noted, found acupuncture to significantly reduce symptoms.
Fang concluded that, although higher-powered randomized controlled trials still need to be conducted, current research indicates acupuncture may be a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of pelvic floor disorders including chronic pain, incontinence, and pelvic floor dysfunction. She also noted that acupuncture may be a viable alternative for patients with pelvic floor disorders whose symptoms are refractory to other conservative measures.
Fang J. 7513: Acupuncture for Pelvic Floor Disorders: A Literature Review. Presented at: AAGL’s 51st Global Congress on MIGS; December 1, 2022; Aurora, Colorado.