Urinary retention due to functional disorders, with no organic obstruction, is often treated with acupuncture. For postpartum or postoperative urinary retention, successful micturition usually occurs immediately after one session of needling (66, 145). It is probably for this reason that controlled studies on this subject have been neglected. However, there has been a report of a randomized controlled trial on traumatic retention of urine, a condition more complicated than postpartum or postoperative retention. In this trial, the efficacy of acupuncture was remarkably superior to that of intramuscular injection of neostigmine bromide(146).
Acupuncture is not only useful for relieving renal colic, but also for expelling urinary stones (if they are not too large), because it dilates the ureter. Satisfactory results have been obtained in comparisons with conventional medication (7), but it is better to use acupuncture as a complementary measure in conjunction with medication or lithotripsy.
Sexual disorders are often treated with acupuncture, but conclusive results based on methodologically sound clinical studies are still lacking. Acupuncture was shown to be more effective than placebo in the treatment of non-organic male sexual dysfunction, but the improvement was not statistically significant (147). In another randomized controlled trial, acupuncture had a better effect than the control in the treatment of defective ejaculation (no ejaculation during intercourse) (148).
Acupuncture may also be helpful to patients with chronic prostatitis. As shown in a randomized controlled trial, acupuncture was superior to oral sulfamethoxazole in relieving symptoms and improving sexual function (149).
In women, it has been shown that acupuncture can lower urethral pressure and relieve urethral syndrome (150, 151). Acupuncture has also been successfully used as a prophylaxis against recurrent lower urinary tract infections (152).