In addition to sexual problems such as post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD) and persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD), a range of other urological problems linked to antidepressants are increasingly coming into view, and can sometimes be long-lasting after the drugs are stopped. They are likely to be significantly more common than is generally thought, and it’s definitely worth shining a spotlight on the issue.
As with sexual side effects, some of these problems may be difficult to discuss with your doctor, but in doing so, it may help to increase awareness and recognition that these things are happening.
Pelvic floor dyssynergia is a condition in which the pelvic floor muscles don’t relax properly during a bowel movement. In fact, just the opposite happens – everything can seize up when it should relax, causing difficulty in passing a stool. If evacuation does happen, the sufferer can be left with a feeling of incomplete evacuation. This can lead to constipation and starvation in order to avoid the difficulties of trying to defecate.
On December 8, 2017, the media reported the suicide of a young woman who developed pelvic floor dyssynergia after using amitriptyline. The drug was prescribed for migraines, but it’s also an antidepressant which acts primarily as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.
In this case, there appears to have been medical recognition of the fact that the problem was a legacy effect of the medication, with the woman’s GP quoted as saying “This was a recognised but not common side effect of Amitriptyline” and “The problems were normally a reversible side effect but it can take some time, sometimes even months or years to calm down.” This is contrary to the experiences of many people with PSSD and other legacy effects who are commonly told that their problem must be psychological.
It’s unlikely that amitriptyline is the only antidepressant to cause pelvic floor dyssynergia. As with many adverse effects, there are likely to be varying degrees of the problem, meaning that for some people it may be relatively mild but nevertheless still cause discomfort and inconvenience.
Digestive and gastrointestinal issues are common side effects when starting or coming off antidepressants, especially serotonin reuptake inhibitors. In some cases, they can also persist long after the antidepressant has been stopped. Problems can include nausea, bloating, diarrhea, dyspepsia (indigestion), noisy digestion, etc.
These side effects are very commonly misdiagnosed and mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), particularly if the problem occurs during withdrawal when the person is no longer on the drug.
These problems are not surprising in that there is more serotonin in the gut than anywhere else. Serotonin was actually first discovered in the gut back in 1937 and called enteramine, before being later discovered in blood vessels.
Actions on the serotonin system are almost certainly what leads to the initial nausea and cramping that happens after going on an antidepressant, and the nausea and vomiting that can happen during early withdrawal. But in terms of more protracted problems, it’s difficult to say exactly what causes this. The serotonin system may be involved, or perhaps a neuropathy linked to sensory fibers in the stomach, or it may involve disruption of autonomic muscle function that is crucial for normal digestive functioning.
One of us had a male friend who had been on antidepressants and many years ago was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis. Around the time this person was diagnosed, 2002, studies had linked SSRI use to urinary incontinence.
But it has been research on persistent genital arousal disorder that has really linked SSRI use with interstitial cystitis. It seems very common to find women with PGAD also suffering from interstitial cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as restless legs syndrome.
These drugs, and quite possibly others, do seem to compromise autonomic nervous functioning especially on withdrawal. There is a condition called dysautonomia worth researching in this respect.
When not caused by SSRIs or their withdrawal, the paradox is that these drugs are often used to manage this kind of pain, and of course duloxetine (Cymbalta) is marketed in some countries as a bladder stabilizer.
Many antidepressants reduce urinary flow in both men and women – they can cause urinary retention. This was usually blamed on the anticholinergic effect of older antidepressants, but it’s got nothing to do with anticholinergic effects and everything to do with catecholaminergic effects – of which duloxetine has a lot.
It is usual to think only men are affected and the problem is linked to their prostate gland, but this is not the case – as duloxetine shows.
This reduced flow may be accompanied by a sensation that the bladder or urinary tract isn’t fully empty, or the feeling of needing to urinate again shortly afterwards, or some minor leakage after urination. There is typically no pain involved. The problem starts on an antidepressant but has been known to persist indefinitely after the drug is stopped.
Urinary flow can usually be tested in the urological departments of most hospitals. The test is very straightforward and simply involves urinating into a machine connected to a computer which measures the flow rate. If you suspect that you may be suffering from this, it may be worth speaking to your primary care doctor about having it tested.
It would be fascinating to know how prevalent this is in people who have previously used antidepressants. It seems likely that some people may not even be aware that they have the problem unless it’s particularly troublesome, or they may just assume it’s a normal part of getting older or in the case of men that it’s something to do with their prostate, leading in some cases to unnecessary prostate operations.
Interstitial cystitis in men is also likely to be diagnosed as prostatitis in the first instance. It’s only when repeated prostate fluid samples are negative for infection that a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis is likely to be made, and even then a diagnosis of non-infective prostatitis may be made instead.
People with post-finasteride syndrome (PFS) end up with very similar problems. Finasteride is supposed to shrink the prostate so prostatism should be less of a problem, but it’s a common diagnosis in PFS sufferers.
Bladder and bowel problems of this type are also very common in anyone, male or female, taking isotretinoin – both on and after treatment.
Due to altered sphincter tone, antidepressants can cause an effect called retrograde ejaculation. This is where semen is forced back into the bladder during ejaculation rather than being expelled as normal. This may not be noticed until later when the person discovers that their urine is cloudy.
It isn’t clear whether this persists after stopping the antidepressant, or whether it only occurs while on treatment.
Changes in sphincter tone may be behind another problem which is very rarely reported, but certainly happens. In some cases, antidepressants can cause leakage of semen during bowel movements, both while taking antidepressants and long after they’ve been stopped. It may only happen occasionally but it’s probably very disconcerting when it does.
The writers of this post barely knew about any of this a few months ago. There are likely hundreds of people out there with odd, and often embarrassing bladder, bowel and sexual difficulties linked to the use of antidepressants and other medication. We would welcome any reports of other or related difficulties. This can be done anonymously. Every scrap of information will be used to help solve this set of problems.
On reading the article about poor Faye Howard, it was clear she experienced real misery and disability from the bowel condition caused by her “migraine meds.” However, it also seems clear this might never have led her to hang herself, but for a tragic double-whammy: An antidepressant prescription for the emotional stress brought on by her illness. Her GP told the Daily Mail:
“I first saw Faye in 2016 when she presented with abdominal pain and constipation. This was a recognised but not common side effect of Amitriptyline, which she had been taking to treat the migraines she was experiencing. She was advised to stop taking the medication. The problems were normally a reversible side effect but it can take some time, sometimes even months or years to calm down …
“In January 2017 I diagnosed Faye with low mood and anxiety. When she returned from Scotland [apparently in April or May of 2017] I recognised a significant change in her mood and demeanour, and I prescribed her with anti-depressants …
“On the 5th of June I saw Faye and she said she had laid out some pills on the table and so I did a suicide assessment. I assessed her risk of suicide as mild to moderate but she had not reached the threshold for the next stage. I didn’t see it coming at all. The last time I saw her she was really positive about everything.”
Her boyfriend said Faye had “told me she was having thoughts about wrapping her car round a tree or putting tablets out on the table but she explained to me that she would not do it and that it was just a bad moment. I had planned to see her that Friday on my return from Scotland for a meal. When she sent me those text messages on the 29th of June I knew they were serious and I called the police to express my concerns.”
On the Thursday morning [June 29] she came downstairs with a black sports bag and said to her dad: “I am sick of everything and everybody”, and that was the last he saw of her. The day before she’d had words with an unsympathetic manager on her job, and handed in her resignation.
She was found hanged later that same day, June 29, in a local park. Beside her were her cell phone, playing music, a picture of her grandfather, and two packets of antidepressants.
The second set of antidepressants were not named. It seems the GP did not even realize she had been given antidepressants twice. Neither did the Daily Mail, of course. Cause of death: Despair over a crippling physical illness caused by her migraine medicine. I think that may be at best half-right.
If she hadn’t been the beautiful girlfriend of a popular football star, we’d never have heard her name at all. How many more stories are out there, never really heard by anyone?
You put the case so well Johanna – that it takes fame for a person’s anguish to make it to the media. The truth about it is that these drugs don’t care about fame or fortune – they just attack wherever they can.
It was announced in the Welsh Assembly ( the nearest we Welsh get to being allowed to take care of our own matters – health being one) that in one town in South Wales, 1 in 3 of the inhabitants are on antidepressants. It doesn’t give the age range which is a pity – we assume that, maybe it applies to adults only? However, knowing how things seem to be going, it probably applies to the teenagers of the town, I hope that children there are being kept well away from such prescriptions.
How on earth have we let it get to this? It’s rather obvious that with that ratio on ADs the problems surrounding their use is also going to be high. The NHS is on its knees – why can’t those in power SEE that the way forward is NOT by prescribing more and more. Ensuring that people have something to live for – i.e. jobs, would surely make more sense.
The most tragic thing about Faye Howard is that this could have been (relatively) easily resolved with biofeedback therapy. It’s not easy, and potentially embarrassing, but it works.
I have dyssergenic defecation problems too, and I am currently looking to find someone who can do the biofeedback. Antidepressants also cause constipation, which only adds to the problem. If you have it, I can assure you it’s hell. You stop eating, (I’ve lost 16 kilos in 4 months) because you’re too scared about getting blocked up. I’ve already had one bowel obstruction, and I don’t want another. I’ve been labelled as a hypochondriac by my doctors, and it’s difficult to get help once you’ve got that label.
Hi, Tom. I have the same problem, and I’ve been written off as a psycho by my GP. I had tow prostate ops and thats when the problems started, I’m in this ‘frozen’ state and I can’t get out of it. I’ve been to proctologists, gastros, tried osteopathy, you name it. My GP keeps trying to give me antidepressants, and I have to keep pointing out that a side effect is pelvic problems.
I’ve lost weight and don’t eat too, which is counterproductive. I had a bowel obstruction in 2004, and never want to go through that again. I’ve got a feedback device, but here, (In Germany) it’s more aimed at incontinence, the exact opposite of what I have. It sucks trying to find someone knowlegeable enough to deal with this problem.
At nearly 13 years off I still suffer from nausea, bloating, diarrhea, dyspepsia (indigestion), noisy digestion, etc
I’m off Seroxat 6 years in March still suffer lots off symptoms one off these being intermittent spells off irritable bowel excessive wind can’t tolerate any fatty foods or it goes through me in no time not very good for your social life if you have a meal with friends then end having to be excused to then end up weeing out your bum all evening lol .Also two weeks ago after suffering all over body pain that started in August they now think I have fibromyalgia? Could this also be linked to 13 years Seroxat use ? I haven’t taken any tablets for the last five years looked into this fybromyalgia label and the nhs guidelines state they prescribe ssris for fibromyalgia two listed were paroxetine and venlafaxine you could make this s@@t up unbelievable. After a bit off research online seems like a lot off long term ssri users have diagnoses off fibromyalgia could the drugs be causing it no it’s abit off the subject but if anyone has seen any links blogs to this would be interested.
A good case can be made that they are calling fibromyalgia is the damage that the meds have caused
Thankyou David I thought as much how absurd is it that the nhs guidelines suggest the use off ssris to treat it.
Maybe a further risk post could explore this in more detail be interesting to hear people’s experiences food for thought thanks Karl
I have thought the same. My GP just tried to stick the fibromyalgia tag on me. Attribution bias. I’m not having it. It’s BS. The pain and symptoms aren’t BS, but the label FMS is too easy (for them). If all these women have FMS then it’s a public health crisis and it needs to be seriously investigated. It’s like (and it sounds dramatic, but it’s what springs to mind) the labelling of women as witches. All these (largely) women are being subdued. It’s too much of a coincidence that it’s mostly women taking these drugs.
Going through hell after being taken off 25 years seroxat over 5 weeks by nut case Dr of Psy sarsfield court hospital cork has now said I have personality disorder that excuses him from readmitting me under Irish mental law he could no see that it’s agitated depression and severe anxiety and panic
Suscidal on daily basis no one to turn to
Now on prosaic and seroquel but getting worse the affects will last rest of my days ??on this earth
Getting bowell issues and severe exhaustion
I have used amitripityline for about 6 years in,small dose.I stoped,now but after two,months bladder pain bowel movement and like vomiting feeling during morning occured.This withdrawal symptoms experienced in life before.How ever,the withdrawal symptom now come with additional symptom of gout(high uric acid).So is this related to withdrawal amitripilyline?
I would really like to know more about the mechanisms underlying IC vs some of the other pelvic and bladder conditions. My IC will respond to certain treatments that my pudendal neuralgia won’t. That’s actually how I figure out if the bladder symptoms I’m having at a particular time are IC or the neuralgia because there are some symptom overlap between the 2. I always hope it’s IC because there is more than can be done for it, in my case at least.
We want solution for the PSSD
can we support your group?
I can add a couple of personal experiences: Interesting to see that current thinking relates the problems peeing on tricyclics as related to catecholamine dysfunction, not cholinergenic. When I was on a big, big dose of clomipramine back in 2000 I couldn’t pee at all, got urinary retention one weekend, which believe me is a scary feeling. Lowering the dose relieved the matter but I still remember the fright of simply not being able to go, with a bursting bladder. I thought I was going to explode. Interesting too that it’s more common in men. Now I have what would probably be diagnosed as urinary frequency/irritable bladder although it rarely proceeds into full blown cystitis. But – I have many friends who, getting older and a bit inclined to stress incontinence have been referred to the local Bladder & Bowel clinic (financed by ? not sure, but probably one of the companies which market duloxetine and other drugs as a treatment for stress incontinence. Astellas got into trouble a few years ago for direct-to-consumer adverts (forbidden in the UK) on the back of the doors in women’ public loos. ‘Incontinence? Don’t suffer in silence’ etc – with details about duloxetine. I darkly suspect them to be behind the sudden proliferation of nurse-led Bladder & Bowel clinics).
The bowel thing is dreadful. Pooing yourself, or leaking, or constipation so bad you need to pump yourself full of laxatives is one of those conditions which are unutterably distressing but receive little attention or sympathy. On tricyclics I was so constipated I only managed by taking a huge daily dose of laxative. Oddly, olanzapine didn’t block me up – but does many people. However, post all those drugs I’m left with a dodgy gut: wind, cramps, leaks (specially at night) and often the feeling that everything has just slowed down. Or, conversely has become overactive. I can understand why people link symptoms to food allergies.
Strikes me, it’s one of those things that people very rarely talk about and if they do take the problem to a GP – IBS will be diagnosed. My guess is too that the IBS will never be related to drug damage. In the meantime we fart away at embarrassing moments, every time we bend over in my case, change bed sheets all the time and look around desperately for the nearest loo when out, mostly in vain as there are very few. Or kill themselves like poor Faye.
Aside from the IBS and bladder dysfunction,many of these people complain of severe dry mouth,plus a constellation of other side effects ,which suggest anticholinergic effects.Also at least fifty percent of these patients have a history of a dysfunctional gut,plus other complaints such as fibromyalgia,chronic fatigue syndrome,migraine.See my article The Systemic Manufestations Of IBS.
Hi Folks – have you seen the latest news plastered all over about anti depressants with the sensational headlines like :
‘It’s official: antidepressants are not snake oil or a conspiracy – they work’
‘The drugs do work: antidepressants are effective, study shows’
yet if you read the study it looks at a time of 8 weeks and yet they are calling for ‘milllions more’ to receive ‘treatment’
PSSD. My psychiatrist denies it exists, despite my personal experience, and, a 2021 bulletin on PSSD by Health Canada, which forces companies who make SSRI and SNRI ADs, to add PSSD as a risk, in their product monographs. These ADs have been out for 20+ years, and yet PSSD has only been acknowledged in the last 2-3 years.
Well this is depressing Chris.
It looks like antidepressants are officially effective and very safe and should be given to millions more. NOT!
I noticed how the Royal College of Psychiatry are banging their drum again about how great antidepressants supposedly are.
Thousands more will develop PSSD, protracted withdrawal, movement disorders and commit suicide from akathesia caused by these drugs in the coming years.
I am glad i have learnt my lesson (a very hard lesson) about the dangers of prescription medicine, but unless my PSSD resolves, it all seems to be a wasted lesson.
I dont know how we can get the world to wake up and see the dangers of these drugs. There seems to be too many people invested in making sure the dangers are greatly minimised or completely covered up.
It all seems so hopeless at the moment.
I’m incredibly angry with the doctors who gave me these drugs, and with me, that I was so naive.
I am a 24 year old man and probably suffering from pelvic floor problems and maybe also hormonal / neurochemical problems after just 11 pills of Trazodone.
My penis root feels loose, my scrotum is as good as numb, the penis only a little better.
I have barely any libido left and feel emotionally dulled, previously I was a very sexually excitable and emotionally connected person.
The amount of seeds is also reduced, but erections are still possible.
It’s been 6 months since I took this poison and things have not really improved.
I soon have an appointment in the hospital and I’m in contact with a very competent private doctor and hope there is a way out of this hell.
I do not know how long I should live like that as a young man.
Hello, have seen your post is some years ago. I was wondering if things have improved for you? I have had a nightmare from taking Trazodone for a short time and have nearly tapered off now. It has been terrible for me . Hoping for some hope it will pass eventually. Regards.
I have been on Effexor xr for over 20 years and at first, when I experienced overactive bladder including terrible nocturia my psychiatrist didn’t believe me. So I soldiered on, up 3 to 4 times a night, eliminated alcohol, caffeine and acidic foods, but still up 4 times a night.
My new psychiatrist is more open and suggested I switch to Cymbalta. So I titrated the doses down, experiencing terrible withdrawal and then, at 30 mg of Cymbalta I was up only 1 time at night. Unbelievable! What joy! But 30 mg didn’t keep depression at bay and I seemed to be putting on weight. I went up to 60 mg and the nocturia returned with a vengeance. Because of the weight gain on Cymbalta I retraced my steps back to Effexor and here I am, up 4 times a night and at my wit’s end.
I am angry my first psych rubbished my side effect, and now these drugs have been around for awhile we see that overactive bladder IS a side effect for a small group of people. My current psychiatrist is much better but he can’t fix this and I just have to endure it. I am worn out by it all, but at least I have confirmed that the oab is not in my head but has been proven to be a side effect of the SNRI’s on my particular biology. Something to think about at night when I am up ….
Please see survivingantidepressants.org
I’ve stopped taking the antidepresant sertraline after taking it for nine years I’m having alot of bladder problems peeing alot feeling that I want to pee all the time and pain down below when I pee.can you help
This sounds like a legacy effect from the sertraline you were on. No-one understands exactly what is happened and until we do there is no good advice that can be given. The best sense of what might help and what probably doesn’t can likely be found on forums for interstitial cystitis
Urinary retention is a real thing. You feel like having to pee all the time, it can hurt and what’s happening is your bladder is never being fully emptied. I had this happen while taking amitriptyline for my constant pain of 14 years from degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis. I had to quit taking it and if I take anything like it for too long, like Benadryl for allergies, it will start back up. I am at my wits end.I take alprazolam to deal with the anxiety and panic attacks from being in constant pain. I’ve tried everything out there, anti-inflammatories, surgery, epidurals, you name it. I’ve tried it cause dang, a person can only take so much pain, especially now that others abused meds and now those with degenerative diseases, can’t get relief beyond, oh a Tylenol. I’m screwed when it comes to modern medicine because either the side effects could kill me or government is cracking down because of people just looking to get high. Not fair. My life has changed dramatically and I can’t do half the things I used to be able to.
I’ve been off of Sertraline for a while now. I titrated myself from it (my own way since the regimented style made withdrawals like brain zaps, worse) I was on it for 5+ years at a dose of 200mgs a day. I continue to have horrible incontinence but, sporadically. It was an everyday occurrence and now, it’s a couple of times a week. I think that the Sertraline numbs you to life. You get to a point where you don’t feel the full range of emotions that, as a human being, you positively should. I think that, when you start feeling again, it’s almost overwhelming. I believe also that my body was numbed to some extent too. These waves of incontinence will pass. No, I don’t have medical data that tells me this. I have my body. A body that was experiencing crushing brain zaps which have, thankfully, stopped. This too shall pass. I feel like my body is acclimating to being able to feel again.
When I’ve been going and I feel the urge to go and go and go again almost immediately, I actually try to hold off a little bit. It seems like it becomes more comfortable and usually the incontinence will fade for a couple of days. I’m NEVER taking these meds again!
Feel better ❤ you’re not alone
This problem is a real thing and a living hell. I was on SSR’s that caused terrible Constipation and lead to pelvic floor dysfunction. I now have severe digestive difficulties , incontinence, sexual dysfunction and bladder issues. These so called medications are ruining lives. Please be careful. I have been undergoing biofeedback for over 9 months with limited improvement.
Hi Thank you for sharing. Do I understand you correctly that Amitriptyline made you get urinary retention which caused you wanting to urinate the whole time even if only a little urine came out when you did? So if one had to gulp down water, obviously there would be more water but the need to urinate frequently and all of the time would still be there? I am using Amitriptyline for sleep………. started at 10mg and now the Dr put me on 25mg this past week and I find that I am needing to urinate more and more and more with my over active bladder issue that I had before I started taking Amitriptyline but it has not helped this issue in fact given thought I find I am urinating except at night more and more and more in the day. Could this be the reason why? I have only started using it in September 2021 at 10mg as I said now up to 25mg and it does make me go into a deep sleep but when I wake up I have a urgent need to urinate now where as before I never had this? thanks for help
I realise my years of overactive bladder correlate with the citalopram I was prescribed. I also have nocturnia. I feel a constant pressure in my bladder and urge to urinate. I have had urodynamics tests and an ultrasound but nothing has shown up in these. I am young according to consultant, 35 and have never been pregnant. Suggests this is functional but who knows. I have IS symptoms but without the pain.
Aside from that I have experienced a horrendous protracted withdrawal after withdrawing too fast after 11 years of use. I also have “fibromyalgia” type symptoms though my bloods have not shown anything up so far. The whole thing has been a horror show and all this for a drug that still left me with depressive episodes. I will never have a control version of myself to compare it to
On. 25 mg Prestiq loose bowels 2 or 3 times a day. Only. 4 weeks taking. Some time s barely make it to the. Bathroom.
I took 50 mg once. I have mucous stools for about a week.
Hope it goes away.
I was on Celexa (Citalopram) for about 15 years to treat anxiety. I wanted to wean off the drug as I was emotionally numb and after years of therapy needed to use skills I had learned. I took about 2 years to be weaned off if the drug with steady lowering of the dosage from 40mg/day down to 5mg/day. I had many withdrawal symptoms such as the brain zaps, sudden brief disorientation, forgetfulness, sudden need to cry, angry outbursts, confusion and the worst which is still ongoing;14 loos/watery bowel movements a day. The gastrointestinal issues were so bad I was not sleep more than 90 minutes at a time through the night. Going anywhere was a gamble on whether I’d make it to a bathroom in time. In the beginning when I had to go, there was absolutely no waiting. It’s get to a bathroom n-o-w or have an accident. How I made it through work those first 6 months is still amazing to me. I went to my primary care doctor. I had blood tests that came back normal. The stool tests came back normal. I was then sent to a Gastroenterologist. I had a colonoscopy with biopsies taken. Everything came back as normal. No polyps. No disease. X-Rays showed nothing unusual. I said this all started after being weaned off of Celexa. Blank stare from the doctor. Oh, maybe you have a bit if IBS and the medicine was masking it. I said I never had IBS in my life. No issues whatsoever with intestines or stomach prior to that medicine. Doctor said if it continues, come back and we’ll address. In the meantime take 2 heaping teaspoons of Metamucil every day. That did help to clump things together but was still going excessively. I went to a second Gastroenterologist and was given food allergy tests. I thought let’s try and see. I am allergic to some foods but nothing that would cause any noticeable symptoms. This doctor stated that my bowels may be damaged and never return to normal. Over 3 years the daily bowel movements dropped from 14 to about 4. They are still soft/solid and at time watery. I take 1 teaspoon of Metamucil after dinner each evening adn VSL #3 probiotic (nondairy) in the morning. From time to time I do take one Immodium AD pill, but in 3 years I think I’ve taken 8 pills in total. It does not offer a lot of help. I exercise about 3 days/week to help calm down my intestines. I really don’t want to go back on Celexa or any other med. I am hoping that at some point in the coming years my body will correct itself. Frustrating.
I have a very similar story after being on Paxil for about 5 years. I’ve been off for about 15 years now and still have to manage my sensitive bowel movements. It’s by far not as bad as the first couple years, but definitely not the same as before being on Paxil.
I personally cleared some of the same simtoms with the liver cleanse. Look into it. Celexa is messing up with hormons and with liver.
Hi Kenneth. I’ve been going through something very similar with my bowel movements. Have you seen any additional improvement since you wrote this post?
Hi Andy. There have been slight changes in my bowels. I now go anywhere from 1 to 3 times a day. I have to go immediately upon waking in the morning and then again a few hours later but not as urgently. Diarrhea happens from time to time (makes me apprehensive all the time). Mostly, the stools are soft and semi formed. Once every several weeks, I’ll have a “normal ” movement. When that occurs its usually in the evening. It gives me hope that maybe, one day, things will settle down. I still take 1 teaspoon of sugar free metamucil everyday after dinner and probiotic VSL#3 each morning. Both do help to keep things together. I also take one imodium each morning, although I don’t think it really helps much. I have better periods of time where things are more tolerable/manageable. Right now I’m in a rough period of loose stools with brief intestinal pain. I’m working from home during this pandemic since last March, so some of the stress of physically going to work and needing the bathroom have been alleviated. My primary care Dr. just retired so I have to find a new doctor and explain this situation and hope I get better answers or guidance.
I have been in anti depressants for 22 years. On cymbalta for over ten. Finally weaned off a month ago but I have to run to a bathroom about 4-8 times a day. Cramping, pencil stools, watery stools and the gas and bloating is terrible . I don’t know what to do anymore . I am a nurse and this makes life so so hard
Hi Natalie, have you seen any improvements since your post? I am having the same issues since coming off mirtazapine. I’m a mess. 6 bowels movements a day. Burning stomach. No appetite.
Are you any better? I am at low dose of Mirtazapine.75 and have begun having interstitial cystitis. I am tapering Mirtazapine. Want off of it desperately. I am in acute pain all over, muscles, joints and low back. Now my bladder and exterior parts are on fire. My abdomen insides are hurting. Diagnosed with pelvic muscle disfunction. I am miserable.
How are you doing? I’m 6 months into SSRI withdrawl and have what I think is IC
Hello sorry to hear off yours and others on the site enduring these terrible problems. I had serotonin syndrome on three separate occasions within 6 months and had to withdraw immediately. The final withdrawal from sertraline left me with pelvic floor dysfunction and urinary incontinence. I write this just so that you are aware I’m part of this team that no one wants to belong to. In my opinion for what it’s worth I guess we were all susceptible right at the beginning I myself suffer from terrible migraines and cluster headaches each of you sound like you may have a condition / allergy etc thus making you react. My second thought I know when blood was taken from me on a day when I had an antidepressant in my system I felt nothing yet on a sudden withdrawal the pain was agonising really I could have hit the ceiling and bounced off the floor. Not to be to explicit but the pelvic region must be our most sensitive area of the body nerves to this nerves to that. I think as we withdraw fast in my case perhaps slower in yours these nerves fire up and signal back to the brain in any random fashion so we can’t control the pelvic floor or our bladder contracts involuntarily in desperation we try and override by pulling on this muscle that nerve and the whole lot over time goes to pot. Perhaps in people not susceptible their nerves don’t take a bashing they come off and it’s all okay. Not for us though. So what’s the answer then. After 20 years of agony to the point of passing out I started to see what’s out there . I’ve lined my bladder with a high mucilage drink twice a day it’s taking off some pain but I’m still incontinence. So I stopped trying to hold and burning out the wrong muscle poor thing it must be shattered after 20 years. So now how do you retrain to hold when your nerves no longer know how to. I’ve bought a pelvic floor machine been using the pain module for a month now off all of my painkillers first time in 20 years. I’m now using a vaginal probe to retrain the nerves and muscles to coordinate together. This I have to say is v hard showing the extent of damage sertraline did all those years ago. I have a journey ahead but I think I feel as if I’m finally on the right track. Hope some of this helps the others in the team. Take care.
Hi Anne, The symptoms that you faced is happening on me. Have you seen improvement since your post? Please share me
I have been on antidepressants for 17 years. Tried many but, the last one was 60 mg Cymbalta once a day. It was killing me but kept taking it for a little over a year. I weaned myself off of it on January 2021. Now, I have IBS with constipation and loose stool. I can’t digest raw fruits and vegetables anymore. Can’t take metamucil or anything like it. I still suffer from anxiety, irritability, fatigue, depression, pain, mood swings.My lactose intolerance is worse than before the meds. Can’t eat any fried foods, have a hard time with many carbohydrates, chocolate, any foods with oils, guar gums and so on. I’m at my wits end, this is not living. I have thought of suicide many times because who wants a person with all these problems. I also suffer with bloating to the point I look like I’m 9onths pregnant. This is what Cymbalta has done to my life.
I also have a large distended abdomen. I look like I’m pregnant. I am so uncomfortable I can barely be in a sitting position because my ribs are sore from pushing into my large belly. I have no quality of life and have to lay down to get any relief from my abdomen. The Dr.’s have done every test they can think of and now say it might be from going OFF the Cymbalta. I also have diarrhea daily and am depressed and feel hopeless.
I have never heard of such a withdraw symptom. Or if my body can repair itself. No Doctor seems to be able to help me. They suggest I go back on the Cymbalta.
There is a website called cymbaltawithdrawal.com that might be of some help to you. You are not alone
I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through. I strongly recommend Oxy-Powder for chronic constipation. It’s been life-changing for me – non-habit forming + no cramping.
I have been taking Sertraline (25 mg) since the end of November. Over the last month or so I have experienced a few light blood drops coming from my penis when having a bowel movement. A small amount of blood also is released during sex. No blood is secreted when urinating or at any other time. I am 72 years old and am taking a diuretic pill and Zocor, but have always had good PSA results. I’ve had several lab tests that show no blood in my urine. Could Sertraline be inflamming my prostrate and causing the small blood secretions when I have bowel movements?
Semen leakage post bowel movement. I was worried it was cancer, this is a very concerning effect.
I have taken many ssri’s over the years, and am currently on Zoloft. About 4-6 weeks after starting ssri’s I would notice blood in my semen. Sometime just a trace and other times, enough to make me scared that something is really wrong. I go to the urologist and always get diagnosed with prostatitis. I get prescribed some type of antibiotic and I usually stop the ssri and the problem goes away. So I’m 4 weeks in on my zoloft and yesterday, blood in my semen. I have no other symptoms. So what does everyone think? It has to be from the ssri’s right? My urologist said he sees more and more of this.
Two weeks off of cymbalta. In the withdrawal phase, Peeing every hour at night. Same thing when I was on sertraline, Prestiq and it was not to bad when I was on prozoc
Bernice. How are things for you now? I am in exactly the same position with my AD withdrawal. I hope you have managed to find some relief in the intervening months
I have been on Prestiq off and on and the most common side affects I see are difficulty in having an orgasm, restricted urine flow and occasionally semen leak when having a bowel movement
Hi Chris. I had the same inability to orgasm when on Zoloft. I was switched to Celexa and that problem was gone. However I am now off of Celexa 3 years and 8 months after on it for about 15 years. I now have gastrointestinal problems.
Since taking 1200 mg of gabapentin fgir nerve pain I don’t have to urinate every few minutes in the evening. I have taken antidepressants off and on since 1992 when I was finalizing a divorce. I was just given the prescription and not told when to come back. After one year I felt so baf I left my job and went on Social Security disability for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. When on 20 mg Prozac I couldn’t sit still or concentrate well. I was wired. I finally quit it after 1.5 years. I was then given Effexor 37.5 mg. Then it was one AD after another….never went back to being my old self despite a very good second marriage. I believe these drugs make it so one can never get off them and return to their old self. In my case I was just grieving and should not have been treated like I was depressed. Grief is normal after any significant loss and should be allowed to resolve on its own. I didn’t know why I was crying on my way to work or why I felt like nothing mattered. I thought grief was only when someone died. Heaven help us all!
I have also suffered tremendous loss after losing my mum and my sister.The terrible sinking feeling,the low mood and hopelessness led me back to my GP to ask for help.Citalopram even at a low dose was awful.Churning stomach so bad,i didnt dare cough or sneeze!!!!!!3 weeks in and i’d had enough.So sertraline was next.Jesus christ,i have never wanted to eat so much in my life.As a former anorexic (now finally recovered)the thought of being as hungry as this brings me out in a cold sweat!!!!.To add insult to injury,i can pee for england.How nice!!!.Sick and tired literally.I honestly believe the best anti depressant in the world is Kindness.Simple.No side effects.
I think we just have to truly listen to our bodies and take what docs say with a grain of salt. I started lexapro a month ago, and while it made my depression over health problems more manageable, and lowered my anxiety so I could focus better and read books again, it also seemed to make my prostate flare up. I’ve had issues with this in the past, but usually just for a night or two. This has been for weeks now.
I told the doctor and he switched me to Zoloft, and although symptoms are less, I’m also once again on the starting dose. I pee less often on the Zoloft but I feel the prostate is still irritated. I lose sleep over it still. Both meds are SSRI’s, which just makes me think meds aren’t gonna work for me. Trying to stick it out, but not sure if feeling like a zombie or having a chemical sensation all the time is the right option for me. I’ve tried SNRI’s twice and felt very stressed on them. The SSRI’s are easier to tolerate mentally, but considering the nightmares, gassy butt, insomnia, urinary and prostate problems, not to mention sexual side effects, I don’t think I’ll keep up with them.
venelafaxine cause a bladder cancer i experience 2 times use of effexor and both times my cancer recurrence of bladder cancer
I am a 35 year old female who was on effexor for 3 year and Prozac for 5 years. Since I have been off I have experienced major digestive problems virtually everything seems to make me sick I also notice my moods coinside with the digestive issues. I suffer from all over joint and muscle pain to the point where I cannot sleep on my sides at all as the shoulder and hip pain is too intense. I also suffer from zero sex drive which is destroying my relationship. And to top it off I still suffer from the depression I originally went on the meds for accept now I have severe anxiety which I never had before. I do not enjoy social settings the way I always did and find myself turning down holiday invites.
I feel your frustration. I’ve been weaning off Effexor since last summer. What a nightmare. At first I did it so slowly I didn’t notice a lot but when I went from 75mg to 37.5 which has taken months I started to notice aches and pains, sleepless nights and now as I lowered it again my bowels have just gone crazy. I’m so frustrated with the Doctors. She had put me up to 150 mg early last year Jan 2019. I became suicidal and had nightmares so went back down to 112.5. In the summer of 2020 I told her I didn’t think they were working anymore and so she told me she did not want to add another medication as she could medicate me till I didn’t feel anything and that I needed to feel things. She was right, so that inspired me to start weaning off. I have been working with a pharmacist who practices both traditional and holistic health and she has been a God send. As my dose lowered she introduced me to a supplement called Neurapas made up of Valerian, St Johns Wort and Passion flower. But my dose of Effexor had to be very very low to avoid contraindications. Neurapas has helped me immensely. Pharmacists are far more knowledgeable on drugs than Doctors. My dear old Doctor who retired told me that years ago. I truly believe Doctors leave us on these meds far too long. I curse the day I ever heard the word Effexor! All the best to you. Don’t give up maybe see if you can find a really good pharmacist like I did.
Trying to get off antidepressants has been a nightmare literally. Bowel issues galore! Nausea, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain. Doctor says I have IBS. Lots of joint , muscle pain in back especially. Fibromialgia? Was on Paxil for 5 years then Effexor XR for close to 15 years. Been off for 7 months and with all the pain and stomach issues been so depressed and irritable. It seems like I will never recover.
I’m three months off Zoloft and I’m in hell. It’s when I lay down at night my guts feel all wrong. At what point do I go back on Zoloft just to get relief?
As with you Wend, after year on anti depressants first Ssri for anxiety then amitriptaline for back pain . I’ve been off ssri 2 yr and amitriptaline over 6 months and the amount of gastrointestinal/ digestive issues are pushing me to go back on them . That’s all my dr ever suggests when I tell her my tummy and bowel issues are causing so much anxiety . It’s a no win situation. . I’ve attended counciling and other that scoring full points on the suicidal sheet they haven’t got a clue . I just wish I could find a doctor who was in the know . !
I just found out about the specific side effects of coming off of zoloft within the last couple of months. I have been on it since I was 18. No one told me about the sexual problems it would cause. ED and or no completion. I was told that it was because of my depression, so they would prescribe me Viagra or Cialis. I am 35 now. I have been on Zoloft for 16 years. Almost half of my life. Recently divorced. I have been trying to quit zoloft for the last 2 years. The ED and lack of arousal led to my marriages down fall. After being single for a year, I got a new girfriend and I committed to getting off of Zoloft. Talking with my Dr. we tapered down from 200 MG to 100 MG over over a few months period. It was at that point that I was no longer able to “finish” with my new girlfriend, even with the viagra. But what was more surprising was that I could not urinate. I remember it was just this past December 2019 that I fell asleep on the toilet, waiting to urinate. I could no longer sexually perform, and I lost another promising relationship. It was that exact week that I decided to figure out what was going on with me. And I came across this article saying that there is a risk of Pelvic floor dyssynergia. And reading the comments (from people who are years removed from SSRIs) I feel I will never be the same. I am still young. I was told through my college years that I had ED because of my depression. I don’t think there was anything wrong with me to begin with. I let my grades slip in high school to party and have fun. The next thing I know I’m on this medicine that I’ve now been on for half of my life. I tried to quit once. I moved to Korea to teach English for a year. Everything hit me like a truck. The urinary problems, the ED, the anxiety, the constant wondering what is wrong with me. It was 2010. I skyped my Dr. which was pretty amazing technology 10 years ago, and he told me they were going to give me a 6 month supply of Zoloft. (I had been in Korea 6 months already at the time).
I just don’t get it. I look back at the beginning and Junior year of high school and I felt normal and had feelings about life and excitement. Now, after reading the article for the 5th or 6th time, I finally decided to comment. And I’m not happy. I feel like this life was pushed upon me by Dr’s who didn’t know what they were prescribing. I look to the future and all I can see is a regiment of pills for the next 50 or so years, and none of them are going to fix what has been done. I don’t care about gut problems. But one person said they were still having issues 2 years after quitting. It’s just not fair. I really felt normal and now I know that I’m not and never will be. I lost a marriage over this drug. I lost another great girl who was just trying to help out. I don’t want 50 more years of this.
Has anyone had problems with bed wetting while stepping off these medications? I was put on Citalopram (Celexa) when I was 18, (now 24,) and have wet the bed twice since starting the tapering off process. Like many others here, I approached my doctor about my anxiety and without much consulting he put me on it and just kinda left it there all these years. I recently saw a new doctor and we decided to see about some stepping off and trying to deal with the problems without medication. Started the tapering process 2 weeks ago and have wet the bed once each week.
I’ve also been suffering from fairly severe gastrointestinal issues ever since being on the medication. I’ve always assumed it was due to my anxiety, and my doctor prescribed me with IBS. I’ve never been lactose intolerant, but recently dairy had been destroying my insides along with my normal day to day stomach problems.
Lastly, the last few times my wife and I have had intercourse I’ve noticed that I’ve had issues staying erect, and I can only imagine that it is from the medications.
Clozapine is a drug that is well known to cause people to wet the bed. From what we know about how it acts it seems likely that citalopram withdrawal could affect the same systems that lead clozapine to trigger this problem – so yes, it is definitely possible your drug is causing this.
This is a good example of the kinds of problems Pelvic Floor Dysnergia can cause
I took escitalopram (lexapro) for a couple of years and I decided to quit them about 5 months ago. Ever since then my digestive problems have been SO bad, I can barely function anymore. I feel extremely bloated, gassy, constipated, nauseous etc… I don’t remember having that before I started taking escitalopram. Escitalopram effects the serotonin in your brain which in return effects your bowels. I don’t know if its ever gonna get better again or if my bowels are permanently damaged. I’m considering starting escitalopram again just to get rid of the IBS.
I was suffering from PTSD and was prescribed escitalopram 10 mg. I was 21 years old then,took this med for about 1 year. Then stopped suddenly, which was a mistake i later learned, learned the hard way. a few weeks went pretty okay, with additional tremors and mood swings, but these vanished completely afterwards. A month later probably, i started to go to toilet more frequently than ever before. Not so problamtic though, no sensation of incompleteness at all. Hell, one day after passing stool i felt like something remained, that squeezing sensation was so painful and unsettling i can’t explain with words. Took bisacodyl for relief, nothing works. That persisted for a few days before consultation with a GP. He prescribed me with some anti cholinergics, didn’t work the way they should. He suspected IBS.After some time, it felt little bettwr but i suffered from constipation, i knew something is not quite right. Goggled down everything i could imagine, i wanted a solution, suffering was so intense i had my brain stuck on my gut, oh those cramping would go insane whenever i was anxious or in fear or excited. after a few months, i talked with my aunt, she told me to consult with an ayurvedic physician. I opted for it, i was not sure though but was hopeless. He prescribed some medication and also told me to go to gym as well. I couldn’t join gym for some personal reasons not mentioning here. Btw, medication alone helped me, the symptoms went worst to bad in a few months but still problem was there, he again told me to go to gym. Gradually i felt better, not quite better but my life got normal. But it didn’t solve my problem completely, sometimes it hurts, my colon and rectum dysfunctions a lot.
Can you update us on how things are going for you? What worked? I’m really struggling with constantly going to the bathroom after coming off mirtazapine
Michelle – I am the same with the mirtazapine withdrawal. How are you now? I hope things have rectified for you
I was on Prozac for eight years. I decided I wanted to wean myself off so that I could safely have a baby someday. I weaned off over a couple of months and was fine for two weeks. Then by the second week my digestive system has been all messed up. The first three weeks were filled with horrible nausea, diarehha, gas, and pain. I thought by then it would get better since it would all be out of my system. Boy was I wrong… The symptoms just kept continuing. Doctors don’t understand the effects of getting off of these drugs. I had blood tests, abdominal ultrasounds to look for gallbladder problems, and hpylori test. All tests came back normal. I decided the symptoms were too bad so I gave up and decided with my doc to go back on an ssri and try lexapro this time. Another mistake… After less than a week on it I developed horrible acid reflux. Went to another doc who said I just have acid reflux and that’s it. So now I’m on 40 mg protonix for acid reflux or Gerd. Now I weened off of Lexapro and am going back on Prozac. All because I have given up and just want my life back. I have a Hida scan scheduled to see if it is my gallbladder just not functioning right. But I’m sure after spending thousands of dollars on doctors, it’s all going to just be this ssri thing in the end. So frustrating!
Does anybody have poop issues from coming off of doloxetine
I was on low dose mirtazapine for 10 months To help deal with GI issues, body pain, anxiety and weight loss. It did the job but not 100%. Decided to go off due to the extreme weight gain. Weaned down a month ago. First week was ok. Second week I was extremely anxious. 1 month later I have GI issues but primarily I’m pooping up to 6-7 times a day. It seems like the anal muscles can’t relax and I am not emptying fully, even tho I’m pooping a lot each tome. Stools vary from loose to formed. Dr said my “condition” and anxiety is back and wants me on amitriptaline. I don’t want to start a new med. yes I am extremely anxious bc of this bowel issue. I am so afraid to leave my house bc I keep going to the bathroom. My poor children are wondering what is going on. Will this get better?? I really am a mess and would appreciate any words of advice from anyone who has experienced this. What has worked for others to overcome this problem?
I was on 20mg Citalopram for about 8 years. I did not feel the need of taking it anymore so my “doctor” advised me to reduce the dose from 20mg to 10 mg for a few months and then from 10 mg to 0 mg.
Accute withdrawal symptoms (brain zaps, diziness, nausea, irritability) kicked in after 3-4 days and lasted for about 1,5 months. However after about 2,5 months I started to have really concerning gastrointestinal issues – diarrhea, sharp pain in the stomach and in the bowels, indigestion. I went trhough all possible medical checks – the only test which came back positive proved that my pancreas does not produce enough digestive enzymes… No need to mention that I NEVER ever had any similar issues before…
I’m 100% sure that there is a link between taking Citalopam and my current state and it is very frustrating how little we – and the doctors – know about this topic…..
Sofiebear, please be sure to file a report online or over the phone with the FDA as well as the drug company. This site also has instructions for how to get your doctor to help you properly report thes side effects. I think GI problems from SSRIS are greatly under reported due to people not making the connection between their symptoms and the drug as well as not properly reporting it. The hope is that will more and more reports piling up that notive will be taken and a solution will be found.
Thank you for the article. I dont know how long i have searched for something that would tell me interstitial cystitis symptoms can be caused by withdrawal of SsRIs. I was on Zoloft 50mg for 8 years for PMDD. I didn’t want to be..at the time i saw no other option. I weened off (probably too fast but I didn’t know proper way) over two months and was done by late December 2020 and since January have had symptoms. Praying for healing as i know see a functional nurse who is guiding me to heal my gut. Every day is hard and it is hard to have hope one day I will feel better and be healed.
I too am going thru the exact same issues. Stopped my meds in June and now in July have IC symptoms. Waiting to see a urologist but my symptoms are getting worse. What has helped you? I would really like to hear about ways I can get help. I’m really struggling and I can’t go on like this
Have you received any help? What has worked for you? I’m in the same position and need help. Everyday is hard.
My daughter has been taking Sertraline for 2 months and has had very loose bowel movements for nearly 3 weeks now. Should she come off it? I’m very worried.
If she doesn’t come off it, everything will only get worse. I wish someone had told me that when I was experiencing problems first being put on sris. 11 years gone in the blink of an eye. Anyways, her body is reacting negatively on them for a reason. It’s saying ‘stop, I can’t deal with this.’ Coming off should be done carefully, depending on how long she’s been on them. The doctor(s) will probably say to just tough out the symptoms, and that she’ll only get them when starting (not true), or to try another drug that does the same thing. Also not a good idea.
Wow, I didn’t realize you said how long due to brain fog, another symptom of antidepressants. (I’m currently in withdrawal.) They say 10% every 2-3 months for long-term users (years), but Idk about 3 months. You should both do research and decide what’s best. If willing to take her off the drugs, doctor(s) would probably say cold turkey, but it’s already made changes in 3 months, so that would not be a good idea. survivingantidepressants.org is a forum that has good info, although no one can join rn, otherwise I would’ve, lol. But just know that if she comes off, there is probably no permanent damage. The same cannot be said if someone is parked on those things for years. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself the same things I’m telling you, when I was 14 and experiencing the same thing, diarrhea 3 months in. Little did I know that is only the tip of the iceberg… Anyways, good therapy is a better substitute than drugs that make you a zombie and give you a boatload of physical side effects. I’ve been on different doses of nearly every sri/ssri over the years, and they all do the same thing. I don’t mean to sound scary, but it’s true. I became a completely different person. I never wanted to engage with anyone and just lied in bed all day. I stopped showering and brushing my teeth. I became suicidal. I barely graduated high school because attendance was such a problem. I dropped out of college. I can’t do things for myself anymore, although now things are improving, slowly, since I’ve been off all meds for 7 months. I try to do things, I realize I have to, I feel like a person again, I want to be a part of human society, though this virus done messed everything up, lol, so I’m mostly stuck at home waiting for it to go away. Sorry for the giant wall of text 🙁
I’ve been on Wellbutrin for 2 weeks and then Effexor XR for 2 weeks after Wellbutrin made me so anxious bit was worse than my initial panic attack. Constipation became horrid and I needed laxitives to assist. Then the bladder/peeing issue popped up and I realized my pelvic floor was not doing it’s job. I also had ejaculation issues. I stopped the Effexor and am now on day 5 with some withdrawal but it’s manageable and my bladder and bowel systems are improving greatly though I had a back ache on my right side today that spooked me but it eased with an Advil. These drugs are not helpful and can do great damage!
I have been on and off SSRIs for the past 5 years or so. 2 years ago I had insane digestion problems. My digestion basically stopped functioning and I was so bloated I looked pregnant. I was unable to have bowl movements. So much so I wouldn’t go for days sometimes a week and when I did, it was not substantial. This was during a withdrawal from Zoloft. I went back on an SSRI this time prozac and the higher the dose, the better my digestion. When I slowly taper down, my digestion and depression gets worse. Going off entirely will almost surely send me back into a pit of indigestion and severe depression. Does anyone know any doctors who are experts in tapering off SSRIs??
There is no such thing as an expert in tapering off SSRIs – some of the problems you outline here explain why – there are a host of things that can happen like your bowel problems that no-one understands and that need work arounds specific to the person with that particular problem. You need a good someone – a doctor who listens and can prescribe something that you and s/he agree might be worth trying would be good but could be someone else.
Where can you find such a person – chances are you won’t. Its not because there aren’t people around but no-one has managed to put together a map/network of where they are
Do not go off the antidepressants when you’ve been on them for years. It is a huge mistake. My whole digestion system failed . My anal sphincters are gone. I think the anti drug experts ought to study the consequences if going off them.
Tapering does absolutely nothing. I’m going to end up in a nursing home because I listened to these dangerous experts. Repeat do not go off them!
How long were you on the antidepressants? And how long did you take to taper/wean off?
Which experts did you listen to?
Hope you are well
If your still struggling jake, I suggest you find a homeopathic doctor as everything they use and prescribe is natural and simply aids the body in regulating itself and healing in a natural way. It’s worth a try at the very least. I used one 5 years ago when on citalopram, which caused a constant urge to urinate. And again now I’m dealing with the same problem after taking them again for a year.
We can get better. All of us.
I was on venlafaxine for 3weeks. First 7 days 34.5 then a week of 75 mg. That is when the constipation started. I am off them now but still constipated after 7 days. Why is this? Help please.
My partner developed severe anxiety and panic attacks about 12 years ago. The GP put him on up to 3 mg clonazepam and 20 mg citalopram daily. Helped at first–then developed what was diagnosed as IBS. Became increasingly constipated over the years. Evidently developed tolerance to the 3 mg clonazepam and 20 mg citalopram, so GP added 2 mg alprazolam and 20 mg more citalopram. So–a total of 5 mg benzos and 40 mg citalopram! (How is it that a mere GP can prescribe so much psych medicine?!?) Within a couple of years, my partner had turned 67 and was showing clear signs of being overmedicated. Managed to reduce his benzo burden by 65% (down to 1.75 mg clonazepam daily) and tried to reduced citalopram gradually but wound up freaking out and updosing back to 40 mg daily. Now, at age 68, his constipation is so bad we thought he had a bowel obstruction. Two xrays in the past 6 months show no obstruction. He is now on Metamucil 2x daily, Miralax 2x daily, an occasional bottle of Magnesium Citrate or an odd dose of bisacodyl or milk of magnesia. Constant gas, bloating, constipation. I would say he should try again to taper down the citalopram, but it sounds like that might not help, and might even make the constipation worse! It’s like the SSRI has completely destroyed his bowel motility. Even diarrhea would be an improvement over not being able to poop at all. What the hell is the solution to this? They need to quit prescribing this poison!!!
Probably best to withdraw if possible. There are a lot of people who get IBS diagnoses after some years on an SSRI
I’m very glad to have found this website , a big thank you to the creators. I would really like to share my story about SSRI usage.
I had a severe anxiety/panic/OCD attack in 2013(at 26 years of age) and i was put on Prozac. I have always been an anxious person but i have never had IBS before this episode. About a month and a half into the treatment , I experienced a lot of relief from the anxiety but I started experiencing IBS-D symptoms and no doctor told me it could be connected to my SSRI . 6 years on this drug(even though i have reduced my dosage), even to date ,I still experience IBS-D on a daily basis. Whenever I ask any doctor whether it could be because of SSRI , they shrug it off and completely ignore me. The irony here is many people are recommended SSRI to “treat” their IBS .
Please please help me, please advice? What should I do ? I have had to stop working due to persistent IBS . If i taper the drug , will i get relief from IBS ? After reading the information on this forum , seems like the damage done to your system is permanent. Has anybody had similar experiences? Please please advice!
No-one knows the answers to these questions
Thank you Doctor for your reply . I understand that there is not enough information out there to answer all these questions we patients have .
However , if I may ask you , do you think there is even a remote possibility that this “IBS” is induced by the SSRI ?
The reason I ask is there are a lot of people on these forum who seem to have experienced IBS as a result of “stopping” or “withdrawing” from SSRI/antidepressants. But I am yet to come across somebody like me who seems to have had the onset of IBS while I am still on the SSRI.
I would really appreciate any insights you may have on this ! I would also completely understand if you decide to refrain from commenting.
Either way ,thanks in advance Doctor
I’m sure it can be caused by SSRIs and prostatitis, interstitial cystitis, and a few other bowel and bladder conditions can be too. What is less clear is how to treat it once it starts. But if we find a treatment for PSSD or for withdrawal I think they will make a big difference to these conditions too
Hi Kenny, I began passing clear mucus two days after starting Fluoxetine (Prozac) and then developed diarrhea. My doctor lowered the dose and prescribed other SSRIs but all gave me diarrhea. I discontinued all SSRIs after about a month. The diarrhea improved a bit, but then slowly became worse again. It was so bad that I couldn’t eat one bite of food or drink water without having diarrhea. I didn’t have health insurance at the time and happened to find a doctor in the area who was affordable. After listening carefully to my story she agreed that the SSRIs most likely caused the problem and made me a homeopathic remedy from my left over Fluoxetine. I had no clue what homeopathy was and thought I was being scammed. But, I improved greatly within 2 weeks. Unfortunately, some of the symptoms have returned and I’m now trying other remedies, but it did get me over the very worst of it.
Thank you for your response. I am very surprised that even though you were on the SSRI for as less as a month , you still developed the digestive issues. I was on them or 6 years and I always assumed its the long term usage that causes “permanent” damage. Good luck with your journey to recovery….
Since we share some similar symptoms I’d like to keep in touch with you. Will you join a Facebook group called GI Problems After Discontinuing Antidepressants?
Yes , please share the link to the fb group.
Here you are, Kenny:
I believe it’s the only group that comes up under “GI Problems After Discontinuing Antidepressants”
I was on Prozac for 15 years and suffered IBSD every day.. came off them and has never been right since digestive system I don’t think will ever be normal again
How long since you’ve come off them ?
Hi kenny I have sent a reply I was on Prozac for 17
Had D every day since. Just passed of by GP.. I read where it is what the capsules is made of so asked for medication instead it work the D stoped. Then I cam of them altogether. Boy have I suffered since my digestive system has never been right again, but I refuse to go back on them…
Kenny I have now been of fluoxetine for 18 months still have problems with bowel
Thank you for your response Mary . I’m off Prozac for 6 months now(I took the medication for 6 years) , but my digestive issues persist. After reading all the comments here ,I’m afraid that the damage done by the medication is permanent.
Bobbie I am 65 have suffered with Health Anxiety for years, I was put on fluoxetine 17 years ago with In no time I started with D went on for years then I read that the capsules coursed it so went on medication which eased the D.. I decided I had had enough when GP told me to up the dose, no thank you so started weening of them 16 months ago after 2 weeks of coming off them I had D for 3weeks none stop..that did stop.. since then I have had camera.. out come was small polyp removed Diverticular normal for age.
But my digestive system is still all over… D from time to time some times I go 5 times a day. Constant discharged me. My anxiety some days is so bad.. but what do we do I’m now going to try herbal med.. I will never take antidepressants again never, no matter what…
I was diagnosed with Microscopic colitis through a colonoscopy biopsy. My main symptom is diarrhea
My doctor believes it was induced from my use of Cymbalta.
Hello Kristen, may I ask if your doctor has any scientific evidence that connects antidepressants to digestive problems, microscopic colitis, IBS-D, etc.? I’m gathering all of the articles I can find on the matter. Most doctors dismiss this potential connection, so I’m very curious to know why your doctor believes this. Also, have you discontinued use of antidepressants?
Thank you Dr. !
I stumbled upon this Web page out of a desperate search for information about a possible link between Prozac/Fluoxetine and bloating, constipation, and other symptoms of bowel obstruction and irritation.
For most of the nine months (between March 2020 and now) that I have been on Prozac, I have experienced some of the most godawful digestive issues of my life. From feeling full all the time, excessive passing of wind and belching, to a never ending inability to move and empty bowel as I usually did, the range of syndromes of an unhealthy alimentary canal kept me worried and frantically looking for ways to restore normalcy to my digestive system.
It got to a point where I dreaded eating because everything I put in my mouth appeared to irritate my bowel from the moment it landed in my stomach. Cooked and uncooked food rotted in my fridge, as a result. I imagined all manner of possible explanations for what was happening to me, from the benign to the truly frightful, such as abdominal cancer. I went to bed bloated and woke up even more bloated, with a balloon-like gaseous pot belly.
Throughout these distressing and stressful months, none of the medical providers — nurse practitioners, nurses, primary care physicians, and psychological counselor –that have attended to me even once brought up Fluoxetine as a possible cause of my painful and worrisome bloating. It was me who pointed to this possibility but they quickly discounted the suggestion.
But because I understand my body and always listen to what it’s trying to tell me, I decided to go with my gut instincts and investigate the link between Prozac and bloating. The peer-reviewed medical/scientific literature on such a link is very thin. A causal link between Prozac and ascites is mentioned in the literature. But not anything closely matching my symptoms. Then I widened my search to include more sources and anti-depressants. And voila, the door was blown wide open. That’s how I got here.
It is near insane that medical professionals do not pay sufficient attention to the feedback of their patients on how they are responding to prescribed drugs, especially when those patients are pointing to a possible link between serious conditions and the medications they are taking.
@ Vukoni Lupa-Lasaga : Looks like we are the exact same case , my post happens to be exactly above yours . I stopped my medication(prozac) recently (after 6 years of usage) in the effort to try and heal from the digestive issues. But the digestive problems have not improved in-spite of stopping .Have you had any luck with your digestive problems since you wrote this post ?
I took setraline for about threeb weeks and my penins problems began. it turned me from a horny God to a cripple. what angers me was that i never wanted to take it but my doctor assured me her words were “trust me i am a professional” i did n it was the worst mistake i ever made. i lost libido n till today i cant ejaculate as much semen as i once did its been two and half months now.
to add insult to injury i was then prescribed mirtazapine which i was told may counter what the setraline had done. 2nd biggest mistake i took that for roughly two weeks n became constipated been like a month now n i cant go naturally wih=thout laxido
i am screwed. i am scared i will never be the same.
i feel so ashamed and disappointed with myself for not being strong enough to battle my issue without anti depressants.
I pray to God that it all goes away am only 34 n havent even enjoyed life properly.
Just thought I’d add my experience.
Been on citalopram 20mg for around a year and the last week or 2 i started experiencing a constant need to urinate no matter how many times I went. Its been 3 days since I last took one and the feeling has started to improve I would say.
This also happened to me 5 years ago when I was on citalopram and had my dose upped from 10mg to 20mg.
Now I’m just going cold turkey i refuse to put another one of these things into my body.
For anybody having trouble I would suggest a homeopath as that’s what worked for me last time I came off and will be using the same homeopathic Dr, again this week.
I’m 28 and never had any health troubles so this for me proved a point with the citalopram causing my troubles.
Thank you Peter & others posting! Besides some of these other devastating symptoms after discontinuing use, I’ve also noticed a very “cold” sensation. Perhaps it has more to do with how I felt before I started taking medication, but I now feel a very icy coldness that doesn’t go with the real temp outside. Homeopathy & prayer are good suggestions! Just my two cents…
I too experience the cold sensation before and have always attributed it to my anxiety. It used to happen a lot when I was anxious, which was practically every day. The meds did help for a time when I needed them but I feel so foolish to have put myself through this again. I have seen slight improvement in the past week. I’ve been through the constant peeing sensation before and it lasted 8 months last time as I didn’t realise it was the citalopram causing it. It does get better with time, it’s just absolute hell to go through, uncomfortable all the time and can’t enjoy anything. My mood swings have been so bad the last few weeks. I’m currently waiting a response from my homeopathic doctor as what to do next. It’s a long process but we CAN recover from these drugs. I suppose the longer we take them the longer it takes our bodys to adjust back to normal sort of thing. We will get there. All of us.
How are you now Peter??
I just thought I’d add this link to see if it helps anyone understand a bit more what, SSRI’s in particular, do to our bodys.
I’m still a firm believer of the longer your on them the worse your problems.
I also have looked into certain chemicals etc which are suppressed during the time we take SSRI. I’m not a doctor by any means but from my research I have found that a supplement or foods that boost choline can help get our bodys back to the normal state. I have purchased a supplement called “Alpha GPC.”
Particularly the bladder issues people are having, like myself.
I will post any changes once I’ve taken it for a week or so.
I realise that you posted over a year ago and was just wondering if the Alpha GPC has worked or is improving bladder issues?
Look forward to hearing from you.
For your own good snd through my terrible experience, don’t go off these pills if you’ve been taking them a long time. I’m talking 20 plus years. Maybe if you’ve been taking them for a little while it will help. My neurotransmitters did not come back. In my case that was a total myth. I’m have done many problems it’s not funny. My quality of life is totally gone. I have terrible digestive problems, horrible emotional problems, classic depression. It’s horrible . Just stay on them . I can barely walk . Don’t listen to people who say if you wait long enough your brain will balance itself. That’s a myth and a lie.
I was on them for a year. And a year the last time I took them around 5 years ago and ended up with the same symptoms I’ve got now. I’ve ditched the meds and I won’t put another in my body ever again no thank you.
I’m sorry to hear how things are for you but everybody is different.
These neurotransmitters can heal and restore normal function, given enough time and nourishment, supplements etc. I’ve put a lot of time into research and refuse to give up hope.
Nootropics also help, I have seen improvement since the initial on set but not quite there yet. Still a long road ahead.
Do you still have the pills? If you find a homeopathic doctor they can make a remedy from the drug which may reverse your symptoms.
Thanks for helping me understand that gastrointestinal issues are common when you are stopping the use of antidepressants. With that in mind, I will inform my sister so that she is aware. She should seek a doctor to help her out with this once she experiences it to prevent her from being affected especially her daily activities.
Could you list some journal citations for the GI vs IBS issues you discuss above? I’d like to have something to take to my doctor. Thanks!
The post was written over 3 years ago. In clinical practice its common to see cases like this. Whether this is written up is something you’ll have to chase. Its worth looking at the protracted withdrawal and PGAD literatures. Many of these problems happen routinely but don’t get written up. We are publishing a paper imminently on enduring vision problems after antidepressants – thousands of people have been affected by this for decades but there are almost no articles.
But one group of people can only do so much. If you find something on your search, perhaps you could note the references here.
Has anyone had any luck on getting their bladder or digestive issues resolved? Anything. Please help. I started on lexapro for about a year then ended up changing to cimbalta because the brain zaps were to severe when I would forget to take the lexapro for 1 day. I didn’t feel like the cimbalta was working for my anxiety as well so I’m now on deloxutine and my bladder and digestive issues are awful. I just turned 30 years old and I feel like my lower stomach is on its way to complete failure.
I have been off sertraline now for 5 days after really suffering on them over a short 3 week period… I also suffer with IBS but I’m getting cramp and discomfort in the lower abdomen for the last few days and passing number 2 is happening but not as it should be.. I’m taking buscopan to stop the spasms but really that’s temporary and laxido drink once a day just to try and settle it all
Is this normal? How long will it last
I have been on sertraline for 12 weeks after three weeks started to have diahorea wasn’t unduly concerned as it was a side effect however after another three weeks and still had diahorea upset stomach and felt awful rang gp he said it wouldn’t be the sertraline and I did a stool test for infection that came back clear next week did stool test for blood thankfully that was clear but still left me unable to go out because of needing the loo and bad gas Im having a virtual colonoscopy on Wednesday 22nd September which I’m not looking forward to I came off the sertraline on Thursday so for two days I haven’t taken any and although the stools were loose still they were formed and only went once yesterday and once so far today I know the correct way is to reduce them gradually but I decided to go cold turkey I realise that the diahorea may not be anything to do with the sertraline I just wanted to see for myself I certainly will not be going back on it anyway so it’s a waiting game so fed up with it
@Olwen Roper : What were the results of your colonoscopy ? Did you find anything ?
Hi kenny haven’t had results yet I had it on the Wednesday and they said I would get results in 2/3 weeks however on the Friday morning two days after I missed a telephone call from the surgeon at the hospital didn’t realise until 3pm tried to call him back as requested but he wasn’t there absolutely dreadful weekend thinking the worst called early on the Monday only to be told he had gone on annual leave till the 4th October so another waiting game I have not taken anymore sertraline that’s 16 days now bowels have improved no diahorea for over a week stool firm sometimes soft but much improved no issues with upset stomach and burning and no dreadful taste in the mouth I don’t know how much the sertraline contributed to this but certainly the upset /burning stomach and awful taste was the bowels aren’t as they were before sertraline so I am waiting to see what consultant says many times over these last few months I felt has thought was dying I don’t ever want to go back there this is just my experience of sertraline it seems to suit some people
Thanks for your response. You hit the nail on the head. Some people don’t have any such issues , they have no side effects to the medication .Unfortunately a minority of us are having it and its going unreported. No doctor will agree its caused by the antidepressant but we all know our bodies and we all the know the truth. Sad state of affairs .
I appreciate your sharing. I have been off Sertraline for about 5 days and today the constipation and gas have begun. Have have suffered from IBS since my early 20’s (in my 40’s now). I only took the Sertraline for about 6 months and although it did help with my recurrent heartburn, I did notice my bm’s changed from being super regular to very sporadic. Now that I am going through withdrawal, the bloating and constipation are rough. Hoping that this will pass and that I will find another way to deal with my IBS and anxiety/depression issues. I really don’t want to take AD’s ever again either.
@Olwen :I do not know if you are still active on this website. Just wanted to check back with you if your bowel movements have gone back to normal post stopping the meds and if your colonoscopy returned any results ? I have a colonoscopy scheduled soon and would appreciate if you could share what your results were .
I was on Paxil for 12 years starting at age 28. I tapered off over a period of 18 months, dropping just 1-2mg and waiting for the withdrawal effects to go away. During my tapper I started to have stomach issues, mostly loose stool, cramps, and the feeling of incomplete evacuation. It would go away and then come back every time I dropped my Paxil dosage. When I finally got off the Paxil completely the stomach issues remained. It has been 6 months now and I still have issues every day. It has really negatively impacted my quality of life but not to the point where I would go back on Paxil.
Some things that have helped. Metamucil 2x per day has made things more consistent. Exercise definitely helps. I take a probiotic but I don’t really know if it’s helping or not. Stopped eating gluten probably helped the most. Overall my stomach feels very sensitive to different foods.
One of the worst things is the health anxiety I have worrying about my stomach issues. I was already susceptible to anxiety, hence the Paxil. I worry about my stomach issues all the time.
I do feel like things are starting to get better, but slowly.
Kristen Marino, thank you for sharing this. I actually recently read about another woman who discovered she also developed microscopic colitis post antidepressants. I finally have a colonoscopy scheduled to see if I also have MC. My doctor diagnosed me with IBS-D saying the colonoscopy would most likely be unnecessary since due to the negative results of blood and stool tests, but this makes no sense to me as MC can only be diagnosed through Colonoscopy with a biopsy. It’s also the gold standard for ruling out Crohn’s disease. Have you reported this to RXisk.org as well as the FDA? Dr. Healy has a post on this website regarding adverse drug reaction reporting. There are several steps, but one of the most important seemed to be you and your doctor reporting to the drug company DIRECTLY, and telling them you and your doctor are willing to be queried. I plan on doing this myself if I do have MC and if my doctor will agree. You are very fortunate to have a doctor who acknowledges the connection to the Cymbalta and MC, so I think you have a good chance of them working with you on this. Apparently of you report to the drug company directly they are required to investigate.
It is chilling to read down the list to see a number of my ‘over 50’ symptoms. My doctor at the time (into trying new things) put me on a lot of different antidepressants to try and help me cope with trauma/ptsd on and off over a twenty year period. I did not stay on any of them long (believing that talking therapy and similar would be of most use). A number of ‘Catch 22s’ in my case came about because I did not recover in a handful of sessions, but could not access more sessions or qualify for a sick note without agreeing to take various medications. I sometimes get symptoms for bladder infections but test negative, then have no symptoms only to turn yellow and be quite I’ll. Many ailments on this list I have experienced over the years have been diagnosed as psychosomatic or anxiety related. I have not had any antidepressants in about eight years but i still have intermittent bladder and bowel niggles that I can pinpoint starting when I took an antidepressant that the doctor warned ‘May cause a bit of constipation’. Nine years on and I still get bouts of problems that have no cause that are like IBS/sensitive bladder. Uncomfortable, unpleasant but not big enough to bother my doctor with. Would be interested in a follow up about this.
I had broke up with an irrational ex partner and had experienced the wrath of her relatives which caused considerable anxiety.
I was prescribed Sertraline with a warning from the Doctor that she did so with caution that these tabs can cause harsh side effects. After two weeks I returned to the doctor as I couldn’t sleep and was lucky if I got three hours a night, affecting my concentration at work.
I was given a citalopram prescription which caused considerable stomach problems.
These persisted long after I had given up on these tablets, the doctor diagnosed me as having IBS. I accepted that for two years, despite the pain and discomfort only being partially reduced by buscopan. It was like Russian roulette going out to work, never quite knowing what my stomach would be like. I had bouts of chronic diarhea with no clue as to when it was coming.
The doctors just didn’t seem to care if I’m honest, I felt like they didn’t empathise or see how life limiting my condition was so I looked online to research just what was going on.
On reading lists of symptoms I discovered my issues were most likely Bile Acid Malabsorption.
The symptoms are greasy looking stools, a painful acidic kind of diarhea and pain with excessive wind. After going to the doctors again and being prescribed colestid I finally got a treatment that worked. It’s not as good as being normal but it’s a hell of a lot closer than what the IBS treatment was.
I’d like to know exactly why these treatments caused my issues, it seems clear to me that the only possible cause could be the ssri’s. I imagine there could be 100s or 1000s of people out there suffering the same way I was who could be driven to believe their life was unbearable by it, it truly made me feel like I was permanently damaged.
P, will you please message me on FB? https://m.me/leia.valentina.984
I have had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome for over a decade. A little over 3 years ago 1 hr into a flight my legs swelled up badly & I was given no explanation, but it led to a Fibromyalgia diagnosis. As part of my pain management I was given several antidepressants, which is common practice apparently, it’s been a disaster. I lasted 1 day on Paroexetine before I got told never to try another SSRI- it was a month of hell getting over that immediate reaction.
A few month later in the new year, after codeine failed to control the pain, I was given Noretriptyline- I lasted 6 weeks, and the constipation & bladder pressure since has been long lasting.
Another few months later I was given Amytriptiline- I lasted 3 weeks & spent the whole time begging to get off it, tricyclics have berries ruled out for me. The constipation & bladder pressure stuck & I was forced to endure.
My GP ran tests & ultrasounds over next few months, since the side effects remained, and then finally in 2021 I saw a gastroenterologist- had a colonoscopy & got an IBS-C diagnosis, despite having no previous history of symptoms of IBS or constipation.
I got referred onto a Dietician & changing Diet achieved nothing, nor did PPI meds.
Then I got put onto Venlafaxine in August- I managed 2 days & paid for immediate reaction for weeks- SNRI’s have also been ruled out. Interestingly my stomach went crazy after this- my constipation actually disappeared, but my stomach’s capacity to digest food suddenly decreased drastically- I ended up only being able to eat a third of my normal food amount.
I ended up having a gastroscope in December & GERD diagnosis was made. Struggled with getting diet right for a few months, was so desperately hungry, but couldn’t eat much.
Tried out Gabapentin & Amytriptyline cream over December as well- for pain relief- it gave me terrible stomach cramps- even though I used it on my feet & legs, stopped using it after 2 tries.
Finally got some relief from GERD & stomach volume symptoms mid-Feb, for some reason the symptoms literally disappeared overnight.
Unfortunately, the constipation has come back badly now. My best guess is whatever tweaks the SNRI somehow made to my nervous system/stomach to reverse the Tricyclics have run their course, and apparently the tweaks those Tricyclics made are back-
Sorry to be so long winded, but any ideas or suggestions? This is hell.
Hi Jennifer, I hope you don’t have long lasting bladder pressure any more, and I hope you do not have IBS-C any more. However, if the long lasting bladder pressure is painful, or present 24/7 or your bladder doesn’t seem to empty right: please go to a urologist, if you have not already.
I don’t want to scare you and I am not a doctor but I have Interstitial Cysititis; the way you described your bladder sensations is eerily familiar.
My pain primarily presents as constant bladder pressure, it started 48 hours after I was prescribed an antidepressant.
IC is a diagnosis of exclusion, however it can coexist with overactive bladder. If someone has symptoms of both it can take longer for the IC to be diagnosed. There are treatments for IC (not enough since this disease was only properly defined in the 80s)— medications, diet changes (no spicy or acidic food), PTNS, physical therapy medical marijuana, or a combination may help reduce your pain. Also IC unfortunately is more likely to happen if you are assigned female at birth.
And if anyone else is reading this comment and has these symptoms my advice is the same.
Also as others may have said the forum surviving antidepressants can provide information and support.
Thank you for responding, and for the great advice- I’ll look into it all with gratitude.
I’m so sorry to hear that you have been struggling with this issue- any kind of bladder pressure really is impossible to ignore & can be so painful. I really hope it gets better for you.
I still have both the IBS-C & bladder pressure- the bloating & distention (I can gain up to extra 4 inches around the waist on a bad day) which come with IBS-C for me seems to be the cause/source of my bladder pressure. When the bloating is less the bladder pressure can actually disappear for me. Sadly the bloating seems tied to a very low stomach volume, not particular foods, which I can’t maintain, especially with constipation.
Do you know if bloating can be a factor/cause of Interstitial Cystitis? Is it a factor for you? Or anyone else?
I’ve had my bladder & other internal organs scanned & checked, and no abnormalities thankfully.
The bloating is a really large part of this for me- it even delays my period, for up to 3 days, when the bloating is bad, and makes it even more painful. A hotpack & low stomach volume are so far the best advice I can give for this particular issue, if it’s affecting anyone else.
I have been on of Escitalopram for 3 weeks. (I have been on Escitalopram 20 mg for four years.) A year ago I started to leak urine while sleeping. I started to taper down slowly in 9/2021. My nights started to get worse and worse.
I have dificulties to hold urine. When I have the feeling that I must need to pee, it’s a like a minute away, when I have to pee.
Nights are the worst because urine is leaking and I’m waking up in wet sheets. Amount is not that much, c. 15 – 30 ml. But enough to be uncomfortable.
I’m not sure that this is related to Escitalopram but I’m starting to think so. I was wondering if there is any change this could stop now since I’m of my medication (3 weeks), or should it allready have stopped if it’s due to Escitalopram?
This is likely Interstitial Cystitis. It is linked to halting SSRI antidepressants. It should clear up over time.
Thank you for responding. I was wondering that is Interstitial Cystitis always linked with pain?
I have more like irritation. But my lower back and hips feels a bit sore.
This is one to take up with Interstitial Cystitis support group and ideally pursuing the issue of SSRI linked IC. There are almost certainly very similar Prostatitis issues for men in addition to IC also – that get misdiagnosed as infective and mistreated.
Who knows how many of these irritability, pain syndromes, there are in various different organ systems, linked to SSRIs
I came off Effexor XR 37.5mg in June 2021. Almost immediately after finishing the taper, I started peeing a ton at night. I could barely lie down without feeling like I had to pee. I had pre-existing lower urinary tract symptoms, but they were never anything like this! Especially in the early mornings, I get up and pee, and as soon as I lie back down I start feeling bladder pressure again.
I ended up checking myself into pelvic floor physical therapy, but that only made things worse. I’m still dealing with these symptoms, and now they include hesitancy as well.
Could protracted Effexor withdrawal be causing this constant urge to urinate, at least partly?
Antidepressants and their withdrawal can cause Interstitial Cystitis – which can lead to symptoms exactly like this.
I had a phone call from my MS nurse in mid March. She asked me how I was in myself and I said I hadn’t been sleeping well and felt down etc. The MS nurse recommended a wellbeing service run by the NHS which offers various therapies and counselling.
A while later my GP surgery contacted me about a letter they received from the MS nurse, and booked me a phone call with a GP. It was a brief phone call at about 9am. The GP prescribed sertraline, even though I told him I wanted to research the side effects. He gave me 2 weeks supply to start off with. I have been undecided whether or not to take them, and haven’t started them. I have now read this page and many of the comments. I want to thank everyone who has commented on this page. I have decided not to start the sertraline. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
If anyone is interested the service the MS nurse recommended is the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Wellbeing Service. The leaflet says that there are self-help resources on their website (but I haven’t tried them yet).
I was put on citalopram this week, I only took them for 2 days and my doctor told me to stop as I couldn’t urinate properly on the 2nd day. It’s been 2 days since I took my last tablet and I’m still experiencing hesitation & a feeling of my bladder being full, will this go away over time?
Just a quick note: I ended my taper off Celexa/Citalopram in 2018 after twenty years on the drug (it never worked and I couldn’t get off it in my earlier attempts at cessation).
I was in P.A.W.S. after I stopped and it was then that developed many of the physical complaints described in this forum. Now, roughly four years after stopping (eight years total since I started my taper), I have very few of these ailments. I think the withdrawal I’ve been living with for years now has finally lifted. I’m still not 100%, but who ever is? And when we are 100% when do we ever actually take the time to note it? I’m doing well!
I think “homeostasis” best described where I am. I’m finally getting eight hours of sleep a night. When I get two hours of deep sleep I’m in a wonderful mood. I’m dreaming deeply and remembering the past, both good and bad, but the bad now doesn’t linger and cause the “doom” to rise within me.
I went through periods of profound despair/mental illness getting to this point and I want you to know–if you’ll allow me to state the usual cliche–that If I can do it, you can too.
Here’s to healing!
Thanks a lot for sharing this!!!!
Thanks, because I feel hopeless. I wish I knew what these drugs did – I know now. My trust in doctors is forever broken.
To dr David Healy – any antidepressant, which couldn’t provoke voiding difficulties/urinary retention, is exist?
if you have developed thse problems after a long time on antidepressants – then maybe there is nothing except perhaps a stimulant. If more recent, then you need to avoid noradrenaline reuptake inhibiting drugs.
The greatest myth in all of mental health is that anticholinergic drugs cause this problem
To Dr. Healy:
I developed urinary urgency and frequency + some urethral pain after 4 days on 37.5mg venlafaxine. I’ve stopped cold turkey under the guidance of my psychiatrist but reading all these comments has scared me. I’m afraid that I gave myself IC by taking this medicine and I’ll never be the same again. Please help me, do these side effects go away? If so, when? Do you think they’re permanent? Please help Im very very scared I’ve been crying about it for 3 days.
To anyone that developed IBS after stopping SSRI, did it ever go back to normal for you? It’s been about 6 months since I stopped with no signs of getting any better, and I fear I’ll have to live the rest of my life like this.
David, I developed IBS-D in 2016 after being on SSRIS for a month. I still have IBS-D and have tried many, many things to cure it or at least manage the symptoms to where I can enjoy a more normal life. I would recommend 2 things to you. 1) bring your pills to a homeopathic doctor and ask if they will make you a remedy to counteract the effects of the pills. I tried this and for 2 months I was completely normal again. Unfortunately for me, the improvement was not permanent because I probably waited too long after developing symptoms to treat them. 2) I recently have been seeing a nurse who practices and acupressure technique called NAET that has been slowly helping my symptoms improve. Currently, I can only eat 8 foods, but will be trying to add new foods back into my diet with the help of the NAET. If you’re interested, I can update you in a couple months if I’m able to expand my diet.
I’m a female 41.
I was on Lexapro for almost 3 years. In the end of it I started to wet the bed. And it continues still after 8 months after weaning of the medicine.
I sometimes have sudden urge to pee day time and have to run immediately to the toilet, even if the amount of pee is minimum.
Sometimes I can hold (a good amount) it several hours.
Night time is when problems begin. I try to double void before going to bed. After I go to sleep I often wake an hour from that – and I peed myself (like 20-30 ml). I’m normally a heavy sleeper, but have those nights when I havent slept that good and then noticed that I feel some kind of light squeeze down there and then it dribbles pee. (So it doesn’t come out all at once.)
This can happen once a night or several times a night. And everytime I go to the toilet to clean my self I usually pee at the same time. The bedwetting amounts are quite small (like 20-30 ml) and I don’t have much extra pee in the bladder when I pee after the accidents.
Ant this is only when I sleep. And often only once a night, an hour from when I go to sleep.
This has been on going over a year. From first it was couple times a month until it was every night struggle. It has been a bit better the last half year) after I begun hormone replacement therapy) and it’s now happening about half of the month. (Covid messed a bit and it got a bit worse after that!)
Gynecologist did an ultra sound and made a pelvic exam and everything ok, exept for several years of vaginal atrophy.
I wonder still if this has something to do with Lexapro!?
I have been using BUBROPION 2x 100mg for over 5 years. 2 Years ago I was diagnosed BLADDER Cancer, beware of WELBUTRIN.
The doctors in my area must have gotten their licence out of a cereal box because they were ignorant enough to tell me it was a-okay to quit cold turkey any antidepressant and that withdrawal syndrome would only last a week or two. Almost 7 weeks off Cymbalta 30 mg and I’m still sick like a dog, extreme nausea, daily bouts of diarrhea and dizziness. When will I ever feel normal again? I’m not even 30, I can’t live like this indefinitely.
I’m a 39 year old male and have been taking Paxil for over a year. Here recently I have been experiencing weird things happening. After bowel movement I have noticed clear discharge from the penis. I also get this weird feeling in the perineun area like contacting.
I’ve been on celexa since I was a teenager ( I am now 37). Celexa caused an irregular heartbeat so I had to get off of it. However my doctor told me take away 10mg every week (I was on 40mg) which I didn’t know was way too fast because I trusted that she knew how to properly get me off the medicine. After getting completely off it, my hair was coming out in blobs, and then I noticed I was in a permanent state of arousal which wouldnt go away no matter the situation. I later learned from reddit this is a condition called pgad (persistent genital arousal disorder) which can be brought on from antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Shortly after I developed bladder problems so things are all messed up down south. I’ve been suffering with these symptoms close to 8 months even though I’m back on 20mg of celexa. There is way more to this story but thats the summary. I am beyond mortified and disgusted by our mental healthcare system. I can’t believe the number of testimonies I have read from people suffering due to incompetent doctors. I feel like if everyone got together there has to be something that can done to get these stories out there.