Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Digestive Health Support Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
I've suffered from constipation almost all my adult life. However, my constipation got really bad about 6 years ago when I started a low-carb/paleo diet .My stools got dry and defecation was very difficult for me. I also got really gassy and I began to leak gas by accident. For years I thought the reason for my ongoing problems with my bowel was my my diet. I tried paleo, vegan, FODMAP diet etc. without any relief. I tried all the laxatives available on planet Earth: psyllium, magrocol, sterculia, Linzeed, lactulose etc. - without any relief. I got rectocele, cystocele and hemorrhoids and went trough 4 surgeries to cure those and ended up with them again because I just couldn't poop normally. Then I realized that my bowel problem had started when I began taking Wellbutrin for my depression. It hit my like a lightning: my medication was the reason I was unable to defecate normally and was extremely gassy all the time not matter what I ate. I weaned off Wellbutrin and now my bowel is functioning normally again but I am terrible depressed. Wellbutrin cured my lifelong depression and thanks to it I lived the best 6 years of my life and I'm really sad that I can't use it any more since SSRI's nor SNRI's do not suit me and I cannot use them because of their side effects.

Now I am in a situation where I have two terrible options: 1) take Wellbutrin and not feel depressed but suffer from a terrible constipation and leaky gas or 2) have a functioning bowel and be terribly depressed, almost suicidal. Has any of you experienced the same and found any relief to both depression and constipation ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,191 Posts
Yes, constipation is one of the known side effects of antidepressant meds.

I took them on and off, first for about a year or two and then later on for about another year. I didn't have chronic constipation the first time I took them but by the second time? I already did. They just added to the problem, so I don't take them anymore. I find working out about 4 or 5 times a week is the best thing for depression. I just lift weights, nothing too heavy or strenuous, for about an hour per workout.

Good luck and keep us posted!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Hi Pam,

This happened to me as well, minus the leaky gas. Constipation is a known side effect of anti-depressants, but it's usually associated with SSRIs (Wellbutrin is an NDRI) and the severity of the side effect from Wellbutrin (bupropion) seems to be downplayed. It seems to me that most people who experience this side effect on bupropion either see it go away on its own within a month or so or discontinue using the drug in short order because of it. There are very few people I have found that continued the drug anyway so it is nice to come across someone else who took Wellbutrin long-term even with this side effect.

I was on it 5.5 years, off 1.5, and on again for about 9 months now. I had never had any GI issues whatsoever beforehand and got constipation as soon as I started taking it. I put up with it but it got worse and worse over the years, which is why I finally discontinued bupropion. The constipation got slightly better in that 1.5 years but did not go away. For this reason, none of my doctors believe that the Wellbutrin ever caused the constipation which is incredibly frustrating. I went back on the Wellbutrin because I became very depressed again and wasn't interested in life. Wellbutrin has always worked amazingly for me, whereas other antidepressants feel like they do nothing. I've tried about 3 others. The fact that it worked *so* well for me is exactly why I stayed on it early on, despite the constipation.

I understand this feeling of an impossible choice, 100%. I am so, so sorry because it is an awful place to be in. I ultimately decided that my mental health was worth more than the constant discomfort. I've been through extensive GI testing and treatments and still no solution, but I haven't given up. I'm currently on 60mg of Mestinon 3x/day, a heaping capful of Miralax every night, and I just added a cup of Chinese mallow tea each night as well. Things with my GI situation are always up and down so much it's hard to tell if something is improving things or not. I came very close to deciding I would have to give up the Wellbutrin again because it did seem to get worse over the past 9 months I've been back on, but thought through it and decided I would do that when I had completely exhausted the list of treatment options for constipation. I haven't yet, although I've tried maybe 75%-80%. When I get to the end of the list I will have to reevaluate, because despite what my GI doctor says I don't think this is ok for me long-term. I've already developed a rectocele so they can't tell me there are no permanent effects.

Ultimately it's your decision, but I think if you are almost suicidal without the Wellbutrin then you need to seriously consider going back on it or working swiftly with your psychiatrist to try to find another drug that helps that feeling diminish, even if it's not as complete of an effect as the Wellbutrin had. In my opinion treating that level of depression should be your first priority. Depression is so insidious and the problem is that the farther down you slide the more incapable you are of realizing it and making rational decisions. Don't let yourself slip any more, focus on that first.

If your depression is manageable, whether that's without drugs, on a different drug, or on Wellbutrin, then I think you are in a position to try different combinations of constipation treatments and antidepressants to try to find a better balance. You won't be able to do that well while dealing with crippling depression. Every time I think the constipation is too much and f*ck this drug and I'm just going to quit taking it, I think about how difficult it was to do anything while I was off it. I see the scars on my arms from the one time I cut myself and think, I'm never going back there, never, whether I can go to the bathroom easily or not. It's a heavy price to pay for good mental health but ultimately it's one I decided is worth paying. If and when I exhaust the constipation treatment list and potentially try going off Wellbutrin again, most likely to test out another antidepressant, it will be under the close supervision of my psychiatrist and therapist so I'm not in it alone and safeguarded against losing too much progress, hopefully.

I hope you can find a balance that makes sense for you. Please take care.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've been of Wellbutrin for a couple of months now and I poop normally every day. What a relief ! I am still depressed but try to manage without any medication. My constipation with Wellbutrin was so frustrating and made my life so difficult especially when traveling that I can't start using it again no matter how depressed I get. Regarding depression I sincerely loved Wellbutrin. It cured my depression, cheered me up and thanks to it I lost a lot of weight and had a very nice figure (it suppressed my appetite and cheered my so much that I started exercising every day and ran 10 km a day). I wish there was another anti-depressant with the same benefits but without the annoying side effect affecting the bowel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
839 Posts
I just wanted to clear up the notion in this thread that "antidepressants cause constipation". And the false notion that SSRIs cause it but NDRIs do not normally. This is false information.

Many of the antidepressants, specifically SSRIs, can really help ease constipation. SSRIs increase the concentration of serotonin in the gut, and serotonin strongly influences motility. More motility = more bowel movements. The strongest drug avaible for IBS-D is called Lotronex, and guess what it does? It blocks serotonin in the gut. The exact opposite of what an SSRI does.

Constipation in the antidepressant world is most commonly associated with Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA). The actual biochemical action of tricyclics cause constipation due to their anticholinergic activity. Tricyclics are prescribed to patients off-label for treating IBS-D. Wellbutrin (NDRI) is also well-known for causing constipation. But it's uncommon for an SSRI or SNRI to cause it.

Some people do react abnormally to medications that typically wouldn't cause constipation, but at that point it's all down to our individual biological response, not the general action of the medication.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
151 Posts
I have been on Wellbutrin for 3 months and my constipation has gotten worse. I was managing my IBS C with magnesium and 2 stool softeners. I would take Linzess on the weekends to clean out because I could not take it during the week (too unperdictable). I was going great but my depression became unbearable. I stared on Wellbutin 100 SR and I have trouble sleeping so I take trazadone at night. I have trouble with GERD so I take Zegrid in the morning. I am trying my best to accommodate Wellbutrin but it causing havoc with my IBS C. My mood was dark before Wellbutrin (not sudicidal, but very negative and no energy). I dont want to get off of it, but if I cant solve the constipaiton Im off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
Personally if I had to choose between the two I'd stay off the anti-depressant and have a healthy bowel. There are many other ways to deal and cope with most forms of depression (psychotherapy, physical exercise, supplements, meditation, diet, etc) and as long as you have your physical health you can vigorously pursue one or all of these things.

I've suffered from severe chronic constipation for the past year and a half and its actually caused me to suffer from depression and even be suicidal at times. I'd do just about anything to get rid of this and if all I had to do to solve the problem was stop taking some crappy medication I'd do it in a heartbeat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
Hi , is anybody still active on this thread? I have had the same experience with SSRI s and posted about this at least twice on this forum.

However , I did not get any replies , because I think that only a handful of us experience this side effect

I can corroborate that my digestive issues started after two months on fluoxetine/Prozac, I never connected the two until 7 years later after trying everything else and failing

If anybody is active on the thread please do reply , I would really appreciate your help.

I have realized that only a handful of us have this side effect on SSRI/antidepressants which is why most people will not agree with us neither will doctors.

Please reply if you are still here so we can discuss this further !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,876 Posts
Hello. Glad to know I am not alone. I have bipolar disorder and IBS-C. Depression makes my bowels worse. Having said that bipolar disorder meds gave me constipation. I went to GI doc to get tests done..... colonoscopy, endoscopy, blood tests and MRI...all of them came normal. They could not see my entire colon as there was stool. The GI doc put me on prucalopride (Motegrity) 8 mg daily. But he told me to cut down slowly. He also told me that after few months it will stop working. I started this med last October and sure enough it stopped working in March. So now my depression n mania was under control but constipation continued. I tried Homoeopathy and Herbal meds but they did not work. Then a member on this board recommended to try Dulcolax. So from July this year I am taking prucalopride 8mg and 3 dulcolax tabs every third day at night. This has helped me to tackle constipation. I am also taking Licab400 mg Lithium carbonate.... twice a day, Brintellix 10 mg once a day. Lesoride 50mg once a day. Qutipin 400 mg SR once a day. Pacitene 2mg once a day for hand tremors. First three meds are for bipolar disorder. Am also taking clorotrin .25mg once at night for anxiety. I have been hospitalized 4 times for depression. Once admitted to rehab where I made a feeble attempt to commit suicide with a thin towel. I have also had ECT done. I have been to hell and back. I am in India. Was in US for 7 years and there the docs didn't help as I didn't have insurance. I wouldn't wish this on anybody. Really rough life!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
@GJMody :Thank you for sharing my story . I think we are on the same boat. we have been frantically trying multiple cures for our IBS (mine is IBS -D and IBS-A) while your is IBS-C) while the culprit is hiding in plain sight . I think our psychotropic medication is screwing up our bowels and as long as we are on this medication we will not find relief.

I wish and hope some of the others who have started this thread would see our posts and help us out. I hope they can advice us and tell us whether things will improve once we stop the medication or the damage caused by these medications permanent .

I have bad feeling that the damage maybe permanent after reading about people's experiences on the website listed below .It was started by a doctor and tells you about the risks of SSRI/Antidepressant

https://rxisk.org/bladder-and-bowel-problems-after-antidepressants/
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top