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Mixed Results on Acupuncture for Incontinence, Infertility

WEDNESDAY, June 28, 2017 -- Acupuncture received mixed reviews in two new studies -- one focusing on stress incontinence and the other on polycystic ovary syndrome-related infertility. The research was published in the June 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For the incontinence study, researchers randomly assigned 504 women to 18 real or sham electroacupuncture sessions. The average age of the women was 55, and the half-hour appointments occurred over six weeks. At six weeks, women who received the real acupuncture had less urine leakage, the researchers found. These results persisted for another 24 weeks without treatment. Measuring incontinence over 72 hours, the researchers also found that nearly two-thirds who received real acupuncture had had a decrease of 50 percent or more in the amount of urine leakage.

The other trial involved 1,000 women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: real acupuncture plus clomiphene; sham acupuncture plus clomiphene; real acupuncture plus a placebo drug; and sham acupuncture plus the placebo. The drug or placebo was taken for five days each menstrual cycle, for up to four cycles.

"The use of acupuncture with or without clomiphene, compared with control acupuncture and placebo, did not increase live births," the authors write. "This finding does not support acupuncture as an infertility treatment in such women."

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Posted: June 2017

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