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  • Writer's pictureAndre Shih

How Learning Acupuncture Can Help a Family Member in an Emergency Situation? - Acute Urinary Retenti

A year ago, our family went out with a few friends for dinner to celebrate Father's Day. It was a small cozy restaurant that we often visit when there is a birthday of the elders in the family. They have the most authentic Taiwanese stir fry dishes. My in-laws love the food and the atmosphere. The owner always joined us for a drink while we were there. It was a happy night. My father-in-law had quite a few beers that night, more than what he's supposed to have, but we didn't stop him. I drove my in-laws and their friends home after the dinner and was happy that they really enjoyed the night.

Early next morning, a phone call woke me up from my sleep. It was my mother-in-law. She told me that my father-in-law hadn't been able to pee all night since they got home and was very uncomfortable and irritated. She said it in a calm voice and was very polite because they don't want to cause us any trouble. I told them I'd bring the needles over and see what I can do. If it didn't work, I had to take him to the ER.

My father-in-law was 82 years old. He was quite healthy at his age. There wasn't any health issues except urinary difficulty due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) for some time, but that was no longer an issue after a few weeks of TCM herbal treatment a year before that.

He explained that his lower abdomen was extremely full but couldn't pee, not even a drop. And he tried it sitting both down and standing up and in every single bathroom in the house. I could tell his frustration.

He didn't have any fever or chills. The only conclusion that I could draw based on his constitution and the circumstances was the few extra beers temporarily damaged his kidneys' function. With palpation, I found his LV-3 and KD-3 were very tender. So I quickly needled those 2 points on both sides. After about 30 mins, he asked me if I could remove the needles. He really had to go pee. He was finally able to empty his bladder.

Bladder is like a hot air balloon. It requires the heat from Kidneys transform the urine into a semi-vapor form. So it can expand and rise. And you are able to hold the urine until it's at normal functional bladder capacity (300-400ml) and force the urine out of the bladder. If the bladder is too cold, it can't expand and rise, you would need to pee frequently with a small amount of urine. Or if there isn't enough heat to transform the urine into semi-vapor form, you might experience that the urine doesn't come out like a stream but more like an running tap.

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