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Journal of ECT:
doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e3182721270
Case Reports

Menstrual Disturbances During Electroconvulsive Therapy: the Forgotten Adverse Effect: Case Report and Review of the Literature

Sienaert, Pascal A. MD, PhD*†; Geeraerts, Ineke MD*

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Abstract

Background: A transient but robust increase in prolactin levels during and after electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been shown repeatedly. Reports on menstrual disturbances during a course of ECT are scarce.

Methods: The case of a woman treated with ECT for depression that developed menstrual disturbances early in the course of the treatment is presented. We conducted a PubMed literature search, supplemented with an Internet (Google) search using the same strategy, and a hand search of the indexes of textbooks on ECT.

Results: Publications on the emergence of menstrual disturbances during ECT are virtually nonexistent, although some textbooks mention amenorrhea as a possible adverse effect of ECT. The mechanism of ECT-related amenorrhea is unknown but is supposed to be related to the transient hyperprolactinemia.

Conclusion: Electroconvulsive therapy can cause menstrual disturbances. These adverse effects are benign and transient. The exact mechanism remains unknown. More research could help to clarify the possible role of a transient but robust hyperprolactinemia.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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