Transcranial direct current stimulation effects on menopausal vasomotor symptoms

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Abstract

Objective:

To assess the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) compared with tDCS-sham on vasomotor symptoms of postmenopausal women.

Methods:

Postmenopausal women (N = 30), aged between 45 and 68 years, with at least four episodes of vasomotor symptoms per day, were recruited from a specialized outpatient clinic at a tertiary hospital in the south of Brazil and through a media call after inclusion and exclusion criteria were ensured. Active and tDCS-sham were administered over the motor cortex position (anode electrode) and contralateral supraorbital region (cathode electrode) for 10 consecutive days, except weekends. The number and intensity records of hot flashes were evaluated for 7 days before and along 30 days after the intervention. The Women's Health Questionnaire and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale were applied to assess the quality of life and the depressive symptoms, respectively.

Results:

The frequencies of hot flashes per day happened in a similar way in both groups, with a reduction in the first 3 weeks after the intervention. There was a return in hot flash frequencies to baseline in the fourth week (week 0: 79.0 ± 6.2 and 75.8 ± 6.0, week 1: 61.6 ± 9.6 and 57.0 ± 7.8, week 2: 56.8 ± 8.9 and 55.9 ± 7.1, week 3: 56.8 ± 8.9 and 54.2 ± 7.2, week 4: 64.9 ± 10.7, 70.1 ± 8.9; tDCS-sham and tDCS groups, respectively). In the tDCS group, a trend towards a conversion of intensive hot flashes into mild ones was observed.

Conclusions:

Our results suggest that the tDCS technique showed small trends on postmenopausal vasomotor symptoms, justifying searches for more effective methods by which tDCS could reduce hot flashes.

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