Acupuncture for nocturnal enuresis in children: a systematic review and exploration of rationale

Neurourol Urodyn. 2005;24(3):267-72. doi: 10.1002/nau.20108.


Objectives: This review identified reports of acupuncture for childhood nocturnal enuresis, with the aim of ascertaining whether acupuncture is efficacious and or better than standard therapy for treating enuresis.

Materials and methods: Studies of children of either gender <18 years of age who received acupuncture treatment for nocturnal enuresis, were considered. The primary outcome measure was change in the mean number of wet episodes following treatment. Electronic searching was supplemented by hand searching of western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) journals along with English language alternative medicine journals. Trials were assessed for quality and sources of bias. Meta-analysis was performed and the overall weighted odds ratio (OR) and associated 95% confidence interval (CI) were computed using the fixed effect model; the Forest plot was used to demonstrate results.

Results: Two hundred six abstracts were identified, of which 11 studies were eligible for data extraction. All the trials were of low methodological quality. There was some evidence that acupuncture is useful for nocturnal enuresis when used in conjunction with other treatment that may also include a different form of acupuncture (OR 3.98, CI: 2.2-7.2). When one form of acupuncture is compared with another there was marked heterogeneity, implying that some forms of acupuncture are effective.

Conclusion: This review provides tentative evidence for the efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of childhood nocturnal enuresis. Due to the low methodological quality of studies, evidence to identify, which parameters of acupuncture work best, is lacking. More rigorous trials are clearly warranted.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Enuresis / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional*