The efficacy of different forms of acupuncture for the treatment of nocturnal enuresis in children: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Explore (NY). 2021 Nov 24;S1550-8307(21)00243-3. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2021.11.008. Online ahead of print.


Background: The efficacy of different forms of acupuncture for the treatment of nocturnal enuresis in children is not known.

Objective: To determine the efficacy of different forms of acupuncture, such as manual acupuncture, laser/electroacupuncture, acupoint injection, and moxibustion, for the treatment of nocturnal enuresis.

Methods: A literature search was conducted on Medline, EMBASE, Web of Science, CINAHL, PubMed, Physiotherapy Evidence Database, and Scopus from database inception to September 2020. The Cochrane risk of bias tool was utilised to evaluate the risk of bias in each included study. The quality of the evidence was evaluated using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation tool.

Results: Thirteen trials (n = 890) were included. Meta-analyses revealed significantly greater numbers of children reporting improved nocturnal enuresis in the moxibustion (p = 0.004), acupoint injection (p = 0.020), and laser acupuncture (p = 0.001) groups than in the control groups. Meta-analyses showed no significant differences in the numbers of children reporting the complete cure of nocturnal enuresis between laser acupuncture and desmopressin (p = 0.57).

Conclusions: The review identified moxibustion, acupoint injections, and laser acupuncture as effective treatments for nocturnal enuresis in children. However, the evidence for these interventions is limited and of very-low-grade quality. The effects of laser acupuncture compared with desmopressin remain inconclusive.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Laser acupuncture; Moxibustion; Nocturnal enuresis.

Publication types

  • Review