Efficacy of transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) in women with provoked vestibulodynia: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
Morin, Annie; Léonard, Guillaume; Gougeon, Véronique; Waddell, Guy; Bureau, Yves-André; Girard, Isabelle; Morin, Mélanie
Université de Sherbrooke. École de réadaptation
Université de Sherbrooke. Département d'obstétrique et de gynécologie
SubjectRandomized clinical trial
Abstract: Background: Provoked vestibulodynia is the most common form of vulvodynia. Despite its high prevalence and deleterious sexual, conjugal, and psychological repercussions, effective evidence-based interventions for provoked vestibulodynia remain limited. For a high proportion of women, significant pain persists despite the currently available treatments. Growing evidence suggests that the central nervous system (CNS) could play a key role in provoked vestibulodynia; thus, treatment targeting the CNS, rather than localized dysfunctions, may be beneficial for women suffering from provoked vestibulodynia. In this study, we aim to build on the promising results of a previous case report and evaluate whether transcranial direct-current stimulation, a non-invasive brain stimulation technique targeting the CNS, could be an effective treatment option for women with provoked vestibulodynia. Methods/design: This single-center, triple-blind, parallel group, randomized, controlled trial aims to compare the efficacy of transcranial direct-current stimulation with sham transcranial direct-current stimulation in women with provoked vestibulodynia. Forty women diagnosed with provoked vestibulodynia by a gynecologist, following a standardized treatment protocol, are randomized to either active transcranial direct-current stimulation treatment for ten sessions of 20 minutes at an intensity of 2 mA or sham transcranial direct-current stimulation over a 2-week period. Outcome measures are collected at baseline, 2 weeks after treatment and at 3-month follow-up. The primary outcome is pain during intercourse, assessed with a numerical rating scale. Secondary measurements focus on the sexual function, vestibular pain sensitivity, psychological distress, treatment satisfaction, and the patient’s global impression of change. Discussion: To our knowledge, this study is the first randomized controlled trial to examine the efficacy of transcranial direct-current stimulation in women with provoked vestibulodynia. Findings from this trial are expected to provide significant information about a promising intervention targeting the centralization of pain in women with provoked vestibulodynia.
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