Depression Community
10.5k Members
Avatar universal

SSRI drugs and chronic severe diarrhea

I took high doses of SSRI's for roughly 5 years.  Chronic severe diarrhea began with the first one (Zoloft/sertraline) and has continued.  It became a little less severe when I was switched to Effexor/venlafaxine, which caused a host of other problems.  I have now been off these drugs and back on my original antidepressant, Wellbutrin, for roughly two years and nine months.  The chronic severe diarrhea has never gone away, although the fecal incontinence is not as severe as it was while I was on the Zoloft/sertraline-- then, it was during the day and at night; now it happens primarily at night.  My body is desperately and constantly trying to flush my system.  I am concerned that long term use of SSRI drugs may permanently damage SSRI receptors throughout the body.   Is anyone else out there experiencing this in conjunction with long term use of high doses of SSRI drugs?  Following long term high doses of SSRI drugs?   Thanks in advance for any information that you can provide.
46 Responses
424549 tn?1308519102
This is something I've heard of before. It's not easy investigating something not knowing where to start!

What I've heard of has been SSRI-induced IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I don't know much more than that the body does get used to the reuptake inhibitor, so when you take that away, the body doesn't know quite what to do... That's why it is so important to taper off slowly too I guess.

I'm with you, waiting out an explanation! If you should find that and a possible way to treat it without antidepressants, please keep us up to date!

Avatar universal
Well, I'm glad you have heard of it before!  It makes me feel a bit less whacked.  My theory is that if serotonin uptake receptors are blocked long enough and strongly enough, they start to malfunction or disappear.  Since roughly 90% of them are in the gut, not the brain, this means GI tract has to be affected by SSRI drugs as well as brain/nervous system-- no accident that many SSRI's have GI side effects.   I was diagnosed 30 years ago with IBS but until the Zoloft, it was a problem I experienced only under high stress when I ate foods that I am mildly allergic to-- I have no strong food allergies but am a "generally allergic to the world" person-- and I NEVER had fecal incontinence prior to the Zoloft.   I am a skilled researcher (Ph. D.) and have been all over the net on this question.  I know that sometimes SSRI's are prescribed FOR IBS, although my guess is that they are prescribed more for IBS-Constipation rather than IBS-Diarrhea.  After the GI doc suggested I take Imodium daily this spring, it made no change in my problem in a three week trial, so I stopped it.  I then tested highly lactose intolerant; eliminating milk products for a number of weeks also made no difference in my problem.   Since February I have had many, many tests to try to diagnose this problem and thus far the only aberrant result was on the lactose intolerance test.  Today I am collecting urine for a 5-HIAA test.  I have made a resolution to force my docs to stay on this until they figure it out, because for many, many years, the side effect was simply written down when I reported it, and no doc did anything about it until I demanded action, even though I had been reporting fecal incontinence for years.   Just goes to show that "Other people's side effects aren't nearly as serious as your own."
Avatar universal
While I can't relate to your "long-term" use of SSRIs, I must share with you my harrowing tale of SSRI-induced chronic diarrhea.

Where shall I begin?  Suffering from depression, I was prescribed Zoloft by a psychiatrist.  The first few weeks of it were heaven -- I could focus, I could sleep, I was my best self.  And then the diarrhea started.  This wasn't just an icky visit to the bathroom now and again -- this was a life-altering reaction.  After two to four weeks, losing time at work and losing 10 lbs., the doc took me off Zoloft and put me on Lexapro.  It worked like a charm -- for about four weeks.  Then the diarrhea started again.  He switched me to Cymbalta -- another six or eight weeks, same result.  Immodium made no difference.  (I stopped going to that doctor and stopped taking the Cymbalta.  Big, big mistake -- had awful, terrible agony from stopping Cymbalta cold turkey -- felt like electric jolts in my brain.)  Only this time the diarrhea didn't stop when the medication stopped.  It's abated some since then -- August 2007 -- but has never fully gone away.  I went to a family doctor who put me on Wellbutrin, which I had tolerated well once before.  Eight weeks, same result.  New family doctor, who put me on Zyprexa -- which is used for schizophrenia! -- and it made my brain feel like paste.  He also sent me to a GI doc who barely looked at me and said I had IBS.  I, too, have had the nervous stomach thing, but never as chronic as this.   I asked for a second opinion.  This new GI doc seems a little more with-it.  He also diagnosed me with IBS, but sent me for blood tests.  He said my thyroid level was off.  My family doc retested my thyroid and found nothing wrong.  Also, seeing the diagnosis of IBS, this family doc says the Zoloft-diarrhea thing is a coincidence.  He put me back on Zoloft --  and within 2 weeks I was (excuse my coarseness) shitting myself silly.  

So, here I am now.  I have an two unfilled scrips -- one for Seroquel, and one for Effexor.  I still have depression, and now I feel like I've been victimized twice -- once by the lying pharmeceutical companies, and once by my doctor who insists there is NO connection between SSRIs and my chronic diarrhea.  I am, to put it bluntly, mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!  

Dr. Daniel Amen, of the Amen Clinics, is someone you should check out.  He says that diagnosing someone with depression is like diagnosing someone with chest pain.  Depression can be a symptom, not a disease, and the disease -- not the symptom -- is what needs to be treated.  I'm wondering if you and I both share an underlying condition that would cause this certain reaction to SSRIs.  I, too, am lactose intolerant.  Have you had your thryoid tested?  

Here are my next steps -- I'm going back to the GI doc in August and asking more questions about my thyroid.  I'm insisting that they do more tests, and if I need to go to an endocrinologist, then so be it.  I've just begun taking SAM-e, which is a more natural way to help the seratonin levels.  I've put a fiber supplement into my diet, which helps a bit.  I try not to eat any processed or unhealthy foods.  I try to stay away from sugar.  

I would appreciate it if you could keep me updated on your journey to finding answers.  Please do email me.  Perhaps you and I could piece this thing together!  
Avatar universal
Just wanted to update my last post.  

I've since done some research and found a link between SSRIs and Lymphocytic Colitis.  I phoned the GI doc, and he's scheduled some tests.  I will update again if I find out anything else.  
Avatar universal
Hello.  I am very interested in what you found out about your condition. I too developed severe diarrhea about 6 weeks into taking Lexapro for anxiety. It started out manageable but progressed to incontinence. Imodium didn't help. I became a prisoner of my home after some humiliating experiences in public. I am now weaning myself off the Lexapro to get some relief from the diarrhea. I am down to 2.5 mg every other day (from 10mg daily) and still have the incontinence problem. I am so scared that this will not go away. BTW: I had ulcerative colitis 30 years ago. I was cured by surgery that removed my colon and created an internal pouch from small intestine that was connected to the exit/anus. This  pouch has functioned perfectly for 30 years. About 20 years ago it took on all the functioning characteristics of a colon. (i.e. fecal incontinence has not been a problem). At first I thought it might be my unique plumbing that made me have this problem, but I am finding it is quite prevalent in people taking SSRI's.  If you are still out there, what have you found out?  I hope it's good and that you have forgotten this site because your problem went away.
Avatar universal
Hi Naplis,

I just checked this board after a long hiatus and found your message!  I'm sorry for not posting sooner!

After my last post, I did go to the GI doc.  Based on the article, "Drug Consumption and Risk of Microscopic Colitis" by Fernández-Bañares F, Esteve M, Espinós JC, Rosinach M, Forné M, Salas A, Viver JM., I asked him to test me for microscopic colitis.  The reason it's called "microscopic" colitis is because it can only be diagnosed by doing a biopsy of cells and examining them under a microscope.  It is also called "collagenous colitis" because it is collagen that lines the cells of the colon and prevents them from absorbing things like liquid.  Hence, the chronic, watery diarrhea.

Long story short, I was diagnosed with collagenous/microscopic colitis.  Since then, I've tried to manage it the best I can with diet, medication, and lifestyle changes.

I would urge ANYONE who has chronic diarrhea associated with SSRI use to go to their doctor and insist on being tested for Microscopic Colitis.  DON'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER.  The only way a doctor can confirm this type of colitis is by doing a biopsy of cells and examining them under a microscope.  

You mentioned that you knew of other people who are having this problem.  What forums do you belong to?  I would love to get the message out that THIS is the problem.

In the meantime, are you well?  Have you recovered?  Have you been diagnosed?  
Avatar universal
Hi Chris (& all)
I had been taking SSRIs for about 8 years to control panic attacks & all seemed to be going quite well. Until one day in the shopping centre a few days before my wedding day. Had just eaten breakfast, felt a wave of panic & then omg - complete watery diarrohea all down my legs. No real warning. The most humiliating experience of my life. So embarrassing that I didn't go to the doc about it & figured maybe I had a bug of sorts.

A few months later the same thing happened when I was driving the car. Mostly I'm fine but the fear of it happening again is obviously quite debilitating. I weaned over SSRIs very slowly & been off them about 6 months but my panic attacks are back with a vengeance, particularly following another unannounced incontinence episode a few weeks ago (in the car again ...thank god it wasn't in public....a few minutes later & I would have been at work. I would have just died if it happened there..).

I mentioned it briefly to my GP, who wants to put me back on SSRIs for the panic attacks, but she just looked a bit shocked & that was the end of that. I was too embarrassed to dwell on it myself.

God if it is the SSRIs that have caused this then I am definitely not going back on them & this needs to be publicised as a real side effect!!
Avatar universal
Hi All,

I am in the same boat, have been on and off Prozac for about 15 years (off because I can't stand the diarrhea) and on because I can't stand the depression. Other antidepressants have the same effect.

I have been diagnosed with collagenous colitis, (this was found after a year of having been off prozac, my gut was feeling not that bad at the time) but now I am back on it and going to the bathroom 20 times a day again. I have another colonoscopy due in a few weeks, and we'll see what they say then.

I totally understand about doctors' lack of concern about this, its so frustrating. My GI said "watch your diet" when I was first diagnosed, which means what? I already eat low-fat, low fiber, I have tried no lactose, I have gone a year gluten-free...nothing works while I take the antidepressants. I either have to be depressed or punched in the stomach.

Others have mentioned treatments and medications...what are they? I want to ask for them by name next time I see my GI.
Avatar universal
My GI doctor had me on Lomotil for a long time.  And it was ok.  I balanced out the diarrhea by eating a diet that included Metamucil fiber bars (they helped suck up the extra moisture in my intestines), and excluded fats, oils, dairy, and sugar.  I also drank very little (water or otherwise).  

Basically, I ate veggies, whole grains, legumes, and lean meats and drank Motts for tots juice boxes.  When even that wasn't doing it, when my weight was getting too low, and I was at my wit's end, he finally put me on Endocort -- an anti-inflammatory steroid. (Not like a regular steroid.) He said we had waited too long and I should have started earlier.  

I am now close to finishing my second round and Entocort has done wonders.  I can eat real food and I don't have chronic watery diarrhea up to 20 times per day.  I can go out and have dinner with my husband. My weight has rebounded.  I feel a gazillion times better -- I have energy and I can actually drink fluids like a normal person.  Most days.

I just want to point out that I was completely physically healthy before I started taking the SSRIs, and I am certain SSRIs caused the auto-immune response of collagenous colitis in me.  

Please keep in touch, mytummyhurts.  I am curious to hear if your GI is helpful.  
Avatar universal
I just want you to know that I feel your pain and your embarrassment.  All the while growing up, I was terribly shy and blushed at the slightest provocation.  The thought of telling my doctor I had diarrhea was harrowing.  But something changed for me the
morning that I woke up and couldn't think straight or function because I was dehydrated due to diarrhea.  

Diarrhea is a function of a body that is out of equilibrium.  It's a word.  It's not anything to be ashamed of.  It's no better or worse than a sneeze or a runny nose.  If your GP is dismissing your diarrhea, she is not understanding your problem, and you need to make sure she appreciates the severity of the situation.  It's NOT normal to have such a sudden onset of diarrhea when you are shopping or driving a car or at work.  Is there someone you trust that you can take with you to the appointment?  Someone who will speak for you when you are silenced by embarrassment?  Can you count on your husband?  (Mine is my private warrior.)

If you have collagenous or microscopic colitis, it may be an auto-immune response (meaning your body attacks itself) from the SSRIs -- AND IT WILL NOT GO AWAY ON ITS OWN, EVEN THOUGH YOU'VE STOPPED TAKING THEM.  Collagenous colitis means that the cells lining the large intestine are covered with collagen (like fat), making it impossible for your intestine to soak up liquid.  Instead of being like a sponge, your large intestine becomes like a plastic sleeve that everythng slides through -- undigested and unabsorbed.  That's why it's so sudden, chronic, and severe.  

If this is what is happening to you, I URGE you to INSIST on seeing a gastroenterologist (a GI) doc.  When you get to see him/her, DON'T let him tell you that you have IBS.  IBS is a "syndrome" of exclusion -- they are supposed to rule out a whole host of other problems first.  Please find and take this research article with you:  "Drug Consumption and Risk of Microscopic Colitis" by Fernández-Bañares F, Esteve M, Espinós JC, Rosinach M, Forné M, Salas A, Viver JM.  YOU MUST INSIST!!!  Tell him you want to be tested for microscopic or collagenous colitis.  If he won't, find someone who will.  There are a lot of overworked doctors out there who want to dismiss you with a convenient diagnosis, hand out the pills, and move onto the next patient.  You MUST take charge of your health care.  

Let me know if there's any way I can assist you, on_the_up.  You'll be in my thoughts.  

Avatar universal
The problem is that chronic SSRI use causes a downregulation of reuptake pumps, the proteins that bring serotonin back into the cell.  This means even after stopping the drug you may still have elevated serotonin.  Also the post synaptic receptors become downregulated/desensitized. I'm not sure if this reverses or not... Maybe for some but not for others.    I have a little bit of this problem but not as severe as the people here.  

One option to try to block the overstimulated serotonergic receptors with a drug like Remeron, which has its own problems or try a drug that increase norepinephrine like a tricyclic, strattera, or reboxetine.  Taking any serotonergic drugs will just aggrevate this problems.  Just keep in mind that drugs that boost serotonin cause diarrhea and drugs that boost norepinephine(noradrenaline) cause constipation.  
Avatar universal
Hmmm...I wonder if I should bring what you said to my GI doc.  He seems to think that the SSRIs may have triggered an auto-immune response.  I'm not sure I could qualify as a "chronic SSRI user."  It was only 6 weeks into my treatment when the symptoms began!  

I just wonder if there is a link between serotonin and acetylcholine that causes this response.

Off to do some research!
Avatar universal

Just saw my GP doctor who put me on Lexapro 5 weeks ago, I mentioned my gastric upset and she says not to worry unless I have bloody diarrhea. She increased my dose! Reading all this info about an immune response and Micrscopic colitis has me worried. I was dignosed with generalized anxiety disorder, the lexapro is helping with the anxiety, but at what cost? I think the side effect out weighs the benefit!  I do not want to be a slave to the bathroom the rest of my life, I think I will tapper down and stop all together.  Any thoughts?
1291268 tn?1274814522
Discus the side effects with your doctor.  Tell her how you feel.  
Sometimes it's hard to tell medication side effects from anxiety symptoms.  
The medication effects will frequently subside in time.
If they are too much for you to tolerate then discus switching meds with your doctor.
Avatar universal
I don't know if GPs have a great understanding of inflammatory bowel diseases, so if you have concerns, my advice is to ask for a referral to a GI specialist.  Collagenous/microscopic colitis is something my GP had never heard of, and it is different from ulcerative colitis (of which bloody stool is a side effect).  

The problem with collagen lining the intestines is that it's like a layer of fat which keeps the intestines from absorbing anything well -- including liquids and foods.  Hence, the chronic watery diarrhea 20+ times a day (every time I ate or drank ANYTHING.)  I NEVER passed blood, and I was still very, very ill.  My GP would have kept telling me nothing was wrong if I had not persisted myself.  My other doctor would have kept me on SSRIs if I hadn't insisted on stopping.

Just keep in mind that your GP probably has 2000 or more patients and you have but one body to carry you around this earth.  

p.s. After my diagnosis, I left my incompetent GP and asked my GI doc to recommend a new GP.  I'm very happy with his choice.  Also, I've treated my depression with diet and exercise and talk therapy, and it's helped a lot.
Avatar universal
I am having diarrhea after 8 weeks of Zoloft. I have it everyday, up to 4 times a day. I am in school, and Often I have to leave class to use the bathroom. I also wake up first thing in the morning and have to run to the bathroom. If anyone says that Zoloft does not cause diarrhea, they can kiss my ***, and that goes to all the stupid "doctors" out there!
PS. My doctor prescribed this to me and NEVER mentioned that I might get diarrhea. Why are Doctors so STUPID?
Avatar universal
i to have gone thru the rigormortas of convential treatment but have not been able to control my 3 yr journey with microscopic colitis make sure anyone with the symptoms you have get scrapped when you have a colonoscopy as i had to have it done after numerous barium tests i'd also recomend you get teted for gasteoperisis as well as though i also had humiliating episodes to they found it took me three days to eliminate the barium even though my toilet was becoming my best friend ouch also what i have found to help better then any steroid and less of its own nitemares is ixfaxin 3xaday for 2weeks then 2 every couple days but then i start getting better and skip my maintence and then have to go back on it for 2weeks as it takes that long i also have to take pancreas and probiotic daily it helps this isnt something that just goes away especially medicaly caused stop taking  your steroids an it'll be back i did not no much about the ssi but have taken them also on an off before this came on all my research does say not to take with colitis or any form of nsaids i was also thrown out of my drs establishment over my helping myself as they werent doing anything to treat it i was so lucky to find one who admits he has no answers but lets me try things i've come accross in my research  but be wary of things for ibs like belladonna as it can increase your risks for glacoma as well as benedryl,an melatonin  better off with a muscle relaxer and or a straight pain pill and yes one that may cause constipation  i'd take that anyday
well i just wanted to no where you find the article that should be taken to the dr doesnt comeup anywhere??????***@****
glad i'm not alone but sad we have to go thru all this as it is disableing but not bleak
Avatar universal
oops forgive my grammer mistakes as i am not a typer and didnt check befor sending i'll try to b more careful but i hoped i can help someone not suffer so much
Avatar universal
This article might be of great interest to those suffering from SSRI related diarrhea.

Avatar universal
Glad I found you people.  I believe I'm in the same boat.  At wit's end.  Took zoloft  for about 8yrs. Experienced more frequent loose stool over the years.  Blamed it on gallbladder removal in 99. Then this Sept had a seizure in my sleep and was prescribed Tegretol (carbamazepine) so I started that along w/100 mg of zoloft I had been taking and after about 3 weeks into taking both....BAM! My gut was a mess!!  All diarrhea all the time. I now spend most of the morning in the can .  Lots of pain and pressure.Nausea too. Neuro doc. said carbam. should not do that....But I wonder if putting the 2 meds together was the trigger? I'm now tapering off zoloft and switching to Keppra (for seizures.)  Not sure if I'm feeling much relief yet!! (Been a few weeks into this)  How come I was into the docs over the years w/diarrhea complaints and none of the docs ever told me Zoloft was one of the worst SSRIs for causing d.??? Also in last couple years having problems w/insomnia...Docs never told me about that side effect either!!! Just gave me Ambien!!  I want my bowel back to normal!!  Help...Been through all the fiber and probiotic self help. Not much luck just more gas!!.. Been having to take up to 4 Immodium tabs a day!!  And poopin right through them...Getting to be afraid to leave the house or eat or drink for fear of it all running right through me..Had stool cultures and blood tests all normal so far... waiting very impatiently for my GI appt Jan. 3!!!  Which is just for a consult so I'm thinking it will take a few MORE months to actually get more in depth tests/biopsies done!!  I'm tempted to go to the emergency room to be seen sooner since this MISERY has been going on already for 3 months!! I cant live this way...I'm afraid I have some kind of colitis now that I'll be stuck with for life!!  BTW, I'll have to be on antiseizure med for at least a couple years.  Going to try to stay off SSRIs. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated  Thanks, amc69
Avatar universal
I totally agree with you all!!  I was put on Paxil and thought I was gonna sh.* my brains out!
It was frightening and I was so weak from having constand diarrhea that I passed out several times and had to stay in bed to recover from all this.

Lexapro was fine, no diarrhea, except it made me soooo sleepy and drowsy that I couldn't function. So much for all these SSRI drugs.  
Avatar universal
This is my 15th year on zoloft, for social anxiety/phobia. It has made my life much more functional. After five years I became pregnant and went off zoloft.  I resumed taking it after giving birth.  This time it worked great as before, however, now I have chronic diarreha.  This is year 8.  I was put on codeine and immodium.  I no longer take the codeine as it makes me sleepy.  I take up to 2 immodium daily, and that only allows me to have soft stools, rather then pure liquid.  

Also been on wellebutrin for a year now.  I have decided to wean myself off zoloft, and pray the D will go away.  Fear my phobia may return, but hoping the wellebrutrin will be enough.

I cant stand it anymore.  The first five years I had only occasional bouts of D and then assumed it was due to something not agreeing with me.

My doctor is wonderful, however, she too has never connected my D to ssri.  The only way I know for sure its cause is SSRI induced, is because of others like you all who are looking for the same answers.
Luci :)
Avatar universal
i have experienced that most all antidepressants will cause diarrhea.  The only one that i've taken that didn't have this effect was zoloft. For whatever reason my doctor has switched me off zoloft to try other ones like lexapro, prozac, and some others. but all of these have caused severe diarrhea.  Its been almost a whole year now and I still haven't really found the right antidepressant pill for me that doesn't have weird side effects.

1128565 tn?1316724743
Sounds like these SSRI's have effected your gut we store serotonin in our gut. These tablets give terrible withdrawals and I have had the withdrawals from effexor and it
effected my gut I had IBS symptoms from coming off effexor I had it for months even now
it effects me some days more than others.
Maybe with you switching onto different tablets even though they were in the same group it has upset your gut. These tablets are fat soluable and store in our system for a long long time especially worse the higher the dose.
I do hope you improve I feel so sorry for the ammount of time you have suffered with this.
Good Luck !!
Lorraine xx
Avatar universal
I have had opposite issues.  After discontinuing antidepressants (prozac) after many years of use, I began experiencing diarrhea, am only, but causing me to run to the bathroom 4 - 5 times over a period of 2 - 3 hours each morning.  I could not make the 15 minute drive to my office without a stop in a gas station bathroom and when none could be found it meant a return home to change clothes!  I since began taking antidepressants again due to the death of my parents, and the diarrhea has continued.  I hate taking any medications but had hoped that at least my diarrhea would end with the antidepressants (my sister takes zoloft and becomes constipated with use).  I have decided to go off the antidepressants again and try acupuncture and other natural means.  I do have an appointment coming up with a new GI but an tempted to cancel because they DO NOT LISTEN!  I don't know how to stress to them what a disability this is...perhaps I should make my appointment for early am - then they would get the picture......
Avatar universal
Yes, demand these tests, and then make sure you have a bazillion bucks to pay for them all, because that's what it's gonna cost you. i don't have that kind of money and am one of the trillion americans that cannot afford to pay $650 per month for medical insurance, because i don't make that much money to begin with. Yes...if you have insurance..go for it. i wish i had that option.
Avatar universal
I am a 34 year old female. I have suffered with microscopic colitis for 2 years and have been on Bupropion SR(wellbutrin) for 10 years.  I have diarrhea episodes 3-5 times morning and night, and anytime I eat.  Therefore, I am exhausted, stressed, and under my comfortable weight.  
Doctors don't have anything to say about the colitis.  Pepto Bismal was my gatrologist's recommendation after my colonoscopy. I don't have insurance. The gastrologist's office visit was $100, they did the procedure for $300, and when I got the lab bill I was able to have them discount it by 1/3 of the price.
Recently, I decided to try some new vitamins with B-12 and ginsing. My anxiety was crippling, so I have successfully stopped taking the wellbutin. I'm hoping to heal my stomach by adding sauerkraut and Greek yogurt to my diet.  My diarrhea is slowing down, and I am feeling more myself for the first time in years. Trying to understand the connection of colitis and anti-depressant.  Still smoking cigarettes. The anxiety from Wellbutrin seemed to make me want one more. Good luck to us all!
Avatar universal
Thanks Chris! this is very enlightening
Avatar universal
So glad to have found this site. I have been having diarrhea attacks for four weeks since upping my dosage of sertraline. Twenty times a day is not unusual. Obviously does not do wonders for social life.  It seems from what posters have experienced that this chronic severe diarrhea results in long-term gut problems. Has anyone found a way of healing their gut naturally rather than taking more, counter-balancing drugs which cause other side effects? Thanks for any advice.
Avatar universal
i had complete uncontrollable diarrhea in my car. why my car doesn't smell is beyond me. i am just recovering from pneumonia and the antibiotic induces diarrhea was out of control, had to use puppy pads and go w/o lower clothing
as it is i have lots of icky soiled clothes. i use too much toilet paper, am afraid of stopping up the toilet, so piles are thrown in the trash. i bring extra clothing
when i am in the restroom trying to clean myself i have to take off my blouse because i cannot contain the poop. have been on zoloft 16 years and its just getting worse. chewable immodium, prep h wipes always with me.am looking at adult diapers but they look, feel and sound like baby diapers. i wake up with anal incontinence, not a lot but i wipe in my sleep and wake up with soiled and stinky hands. i am weaning myself off zoloft--
will try to manage depression w/exercise, sunlight and zanax.i want to feel clean again.
Avatar universal
I'm glad I ran upon this. I've been experiencing the same problem now for a long while. They have been changing up my meds trying to find something to help me. I'm currently on Lexapeo and have been having major bowel problems. I just recently went to the Dr about the problem actually and had to take back 5 stool samples. I've not gotten any results back yet, but I guess I will see what he has to say and keep pushing the issue until something is figured out. I don't know how much more my sore bottom can take.
Avatar universal
I'm in a similar situation right now. What did you find out?
Avatar universal
SSRI user with chronic Diarrhea for two years, I might have found the cure : Magnesium and B6 vitamin. I guess the SSRI depletes your body of magnesium and B6, that might have been the cause all along.
It really does the trick. I have no more diarrhea and I can eat everything. My bloating is also gone I lost 9 pounds in two weeks, all water.
It works for me
Avatar universal
Hi!  Am having chronic diarrhea/bloating taking Prozac.  Just wondering, your post says that magnesium and B6 has helped.  Are you still taking your S.S.R.I and these two supplements have helped or have you gone off of your S.S.R.I and have eased your diarrhea taking the two supplements you'd mentioned?  Am so hoping you reply...just for curiosity's sake, which S.S.R.I are you taking/were you taking?  Thanks, Annie.B.H.  
Avatar universal
Hi Annie,
I am still taking my SSRI (zoloft 100 mg) . Magnesium and B6 have eased my diarrhea. Although it is not completely gone. I just need to go to the bathroom once a day or every over day. In my case it's a huge improvement. My bloating is under control, but I really need to pee more than usual. I guess it's a good sign. I take 400 mg of magnesium and 60 mg of B6 a day
Avatar universal
Oops! I forgot to tell that I take magnesium and b6 pills 4 times a day. I read that you can take up to 1000 mg of magnesium a day.
Avatar universal
I am a 17 year old boy, I was diagnosed with possible IBS about 2 years ago, ever since then i have been put through tests and seen about 20 doctors, none have given me any good advice or given me a straight answer on what is actually wrong with me, i now take loperamide as i found it is the only tablet which stops my diarrhea but for the last year i have been feeling really depressed which has made my stomach really bad, I went to the doctors about it and they prescribed the anti depressant Lustral which after 2 hours of taking my first tablet has given me really bad diarrhea and the only time i've had it this bad is when i had to take laxatives before a colonoscopy, i would just like to know if anyone could give me any advice or ways to stop my diarrhea from being so bad, i am going to stop taking the lustral tomorrow but today has been torture already, i should also add that taking loperamide is not helping the diarrhea at all, any help will be appreciated
Avatar universal
Holy crap! I've been taking Zoloft since September (3.5 months) and the last week and a half has been a diarrhea nightmare. Thankfully I've been home on leave from work since I have only seconds to make it to the bathroom. Immodium is not helping at all. It's worse than having the flu! Tonight I'd almost had an accident in my car; by the grace of God I was able to park the car and run through a Starbucks to their bathroom and just made it. I expect to have an interview next week and I don't think an offer will be forthcoming if I $#!t myself during it. I can't live like this, I'd rather be depressed. Will begin weaning myself down from 200mg starting tomorrow and get some magnesium and B6 as well. And to think people call these "happy pills!"
480448 tn?1426952138
You would be better off starting your own new thread as this one is very old.  You'll get more replies.

Has anything changed?  Have you increased your dose of the Zoloft recently?  I find it odd that your diarrhea just started.  If you weren't having those symptoms on the Zoloft until now, I would doubt that the Zoloft is the cause.

One thing to check is if the pharmacy has changed the brand they've been giving you.  I know people have reported new symptoms (like diarrhea) when they were switched to a different brand.  If that hasn't changed, I'd look for other causes before assuming it's the Zoloft and making any changes right away.

Good luck to you!
Avatar universal
Took my first ever Zoloft pill about 4 hours ago and I have been on the toilet for the last 2 hours. My stomach is all cramped up and I'm worried I'm going to crap myself of I go to sleep.
480448 tn?1426952138
If you've been going non stop for hours, you need to let your doctor know.
Avatar universal
Hi, I was on Celexa for almost 14 years...and I should have had counseling that first year and weaned off pills but I didn't really know that's how it's done. We all need to address what's really bothering us and get off these pills quick if possible by making positive lifestyle changes. These pills probably do more harm than good and don't make that big of a difference I found.  I had a horrible time getting off of Celexa and had anxiety attacks like never before.  Started to feel more normal if that's possible after the pills have messed with my body and brain, but I still had too much anxiety.  Also, I was getting bad ringing in the ears from the Celexa besides gaining 20-30 lbs. while on it, so if I wasn't depressed before I sure am now!  Well, I decided to try Zoloft and took one pill, then I couldn't sleep soundly last night, and then today I had diarrhea all day long.  Actually I didn't mind loosing the extra 3 lbs. but I don't want diarrhea to last a lifetime either, so I won't take anymore after reading all these posts.  I ordered some herbal supplements people have said work for anxiety.  I'm sure my depression stems partially from going into menopause, having had poor relationships, my job change, finances, weight gain from bad eating habits, and too much stress in my environment.  It's not just a "lack of serotonin in the brain" as they want you to think - pills don't take away problems without giving you new ones I've learned.  Good luck to everyone in finding something natural which works better and practice gratitude for the good you do have in your life.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the advice. I have been waking up to diarrhea and having to change the sheets! My GP put me on Lexapro and the diarrhea started about two weeks later. She switched me to Prozac then ordered a blood test. They found that I am a poor metabolizer of CYP2D6 *4/*5. So she switched me to Zoloft and I'm having the same outcome, yep diarrhea! The blood test is called CYTOCHROME P450 2D6 GENOTYPING. I have approval to see the GI doc so I'll find out more later. As someone else stated it would be great if this thread was updated.  
Avatar universal
Hello. I know this is a VERY old thread, but I wanted to share my experience. I had been put on Lexapro years ago. Chronic diarrhea ensued. I stayed on it for a few years and was switched to Cymbalta. The diarrhea stayed. I, like a few of you, was diagnosed with collagenous colitis. No treatment worked. In october 2014, Cymbalta put me in critical care with serotonin syndrome. I was taken off cold turkey. The diarrhea still never stopped. Another doctor decided to test me for something called c diff. It was positive. Nasty nasty gut bacteria. It has taken me a year to fight it with some very unusual treatment. The diarrhea is gone. I go only once per day now. Research has shown that Prozac and Remeron up your risk for this infection extremely. Stands to reason, other SSRI meds would do the same. If you are still having diarrhea, I URGE you to DEMAND to be tested for c diff.
Avatar universal
I just found this and have had chronic diarrhea for years.I have also been on ssri drugs for years.I have an appt with GI in 1 week and I am going to insist on a lot of tests.thanks for posting everyone.
Avatar universal
I did not see any mention on this thread - concerning fecal incontinence - about 'sacral nerve stimulation' via a device by Medtronic called InterStim - http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/DeviceApprovalsandClearances/Recently-ApprovedDevices/ucm249208.htm - a pacemaker-type device with leads hooked up to the sacral nerve plexus at the base of the spine to help control bowel functions [or bladder functions where indicated]. Also more info at - https://www.austinurogynecology.com/interstim-fecal-incontinence/ - with links to further information. The device has a good reputation for effectively controlling bowel or bladder function, but it involves a somewhat expensive surgery and correct placement of the electrode in the sacral nerves. Good graphics here: https://www.austinurogynecology.com/interstim-faqs/

There is a small failure rate with some risk involved; my impression is that success involves the competency of the surgeon in placing the electrodes properly.
Have an Answer?
Top Mood Disorders Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
15 signs that it’s more than just the blues
Discover the common symptoms of and treatment options for depression.
We've got five strategies to foster happiness in your everyday life.
Don’t let the winter chill send your smile into deep hibernation. Try these 10 mood-boosting tips to get your happy back
Smoking substitute may not provide such a healthy swap, after all.
How to lower your heart attack risk.