Electroacupuncture Therapy for Urinary Retention in an Elderly Patient

Nur Khasanah, Wahyuningsih Djaali, Yoshua Viventius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Urinary retention is the inability to urinate voluntarily and difficulty in urinating even when the bladder is full. Acute urinary retention is most common in men aged 60–80. In the past 5 years, 10% of men older than age 70 and almost a third of men in their 80s have experienced acute urinary retention. Risk factors include prostate enlargement, increasing age, African-American race, obesity, diabetes mellitus, high alcohol consumption, and lack of physical activity. Treatment for urinary retention is mainly urethral catheterization, but it can be uncomfortable for a patient in the long term. Case: A 68-year-old man was unable to urinate voluntarily for 3 months and was diagnosed with urinary retention caused by a hypotonic bladder and was initially given a catheter. The patient then received manual acupuncture therapy in acupoints ST-28, CV-3, CV-4 and CV-6, and electroacupuncture (EA) therapy in acupoints SP-6, SP-9, BL-23, BL-25, BL-31, BL-32, BL-33, and BL34, with a continuous-wave, at a frequency of 2 Hz. Acupuncture therapy was carried out for 12 sessions, twice per week. Results: After 5 sessions of acupuncture therapy, the patient’s urinary retention was resolved. He felt the urge to urinate and was able to urinate voluntarily even after removing the catheter, He also experienced an increase in his quality of life, as shown on an EQ-5D questionnaire with an increased score from 50 to 80. Conclusions: A combination of manual acupuncture and EA in an elderly patient can be a safe choice to reduce or resolve symptoms of urinary retention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-112
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Acupuncture
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • elderly patient
  • electroacupuncture
  • urinary retention


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