Can Pristiq mess with your period? (+3 tips)

In this article, we will discuss the effects of Pristiq on the menstrual cycle. We will evaluate the reasons for changes or alterations in the regular periods due to Pristiq. Furthermore, we will look into ways and alternate methods to bring back the regular period for women taking Pristiq. 

Can Pristiq mess with your period? 

Pristiq may mess with your period. Pristiq and other antidepressants tend to affect your period to an extent. However, Pristiq is not commonly linked with causing irregularities in the menstrual cycle but its effects may vary from person to person. 

Pristiq is an antidepressant belonging to the serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) drug class which blocks the reuptake of these neurotransmitters thus, increasing their levels in the brain. Pristiq is FDA-approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder and related conditions (1).  

Some women may experience menstrual irregularities such as heavy bleeding, severe pain, spotting, and increased or decreased duration of menstrual cycle length. Some may also experience nausea and vomiting with painful cramps (2). 

What does research suggest?

A research study was conducted to evaluate the relationship between antidepressants and menstrual abnormalities in women. The study included 1432 women divided into two groups (3). 

One group of women having 732 participants were given different antidepressants while the other group was the controlled group with 632 participants. They were evaluated for menstrual irregularities based on gynaecological descriptions (3).

However, the results of this study indicated that members of the first group who took antidepressants had a higher prevalence (24.6%) of developing menstrual irregularities while the control group showed results in (12.2%) of participants (3). 

Based on the results of this study, it can be evaluated that antidepressants tend to cause abnormal or irregular periods in women. Some SSRIs, SNRIs including venlafaxine (the parent compound of Pristiq), and other antidepressants involved in this study showed results with irregular periods (3). 

As per the research study, SSRI antidepressants, including sertraline, citalopram, fluoxetine, and escitalopram are commonly associated with causing various menstrual irregularities. However, the study showed a similar incidence of menstrual irregularities in women taking SSRIs and SNRIs (3). 

Do mental health issues interfere with the menstrual cycle?

Mental health has a profound impact on the monthly menstrual cycle of women. Periods are regulated by the hormonal levels in the body whereas, in mental health conditions there is an alteration in various brain chemicals (4). 

The relationship between menstrual functioning and psychopathology displayed that women who were depressed had irregularities in their menstrual cycles. These women had low estrogen levels, irregular cycles, and were at the risk of earlier perimenopausal transitions (4). 

However, studies also confirm that hypothalamus-pituitary gonadal axis (HPG) which regulates the uterine and reproductive cycles was permenantly altered due to stress and depression in depressed women resultin in menstrual irregularities (4).

The menstrual fluctuations were also observed in maniac and psychotic patients. Studies have shown maniac or psychotic symptoms in patients during or before menstruation displaying the effects of mental health issues on periods (5).

How to improve Pristiq-induced menstrual irregularities?

Following are some ways to improve and avoid menstrual irregularities caused due to Pristiq:

Seek medical help- If you are experiencing menstrual irregularities such as painful, missed, long, or short periods while taking Pristiq, then seek help from your doctor. 

Consult your healthcare provider and discuss your signs and symptoms to get a better evaluation and treatment of your condition. Your healthcare provider may reduce the medication dose or switch to another antidepressant for better outcomes.

Lifestyle changes- By opting for some healthy lifestyle choices, you can get rid of menstrual irregularities. You should adopt the following lifestyle habits in your life and experience profound changes in your menstrual health: 

  • Healthy diet
  • Physical activity
  • Mindful exercise
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Sound sleep
  • Hydration
  • Avoid stress 

Rule out the real cause of menstrual irregularities- It is important to figure out the real cause of menstrual irregularities. Proper gynaecological and radiological examinations should be conducted to evaluate the real cause of abnormal periods.

There could be many underlying conditions such as abnormal hormonal levels, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hypothyroidism, eating disorders hyperthyroidism, diabetes, birth control pills, and use of intrauterine devices (IUDs) may be a major cause for irregular periods.  

Therefore, your healthcare provider needs to perform all the required tests and properly rule out the exact cause behind menstrual irregularities before stopping or switching from Pristiq. 

In the end, I would advise you to keep observing and monitoring yourself for any abnormal side effects because not all patients experience similar changes while taking antidepressants. If you experience any abnormalities while taking Pristiq, then consult your doctor. 

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Naseeruddin R, Rosani A, Marwaha R. Desvenlafaxine. [Updated 2023 Jul 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


Abnormal Uterine Bleeding [Internet]. [cited 2023 Apr]. Available from:


Uguz F, Sahingoz M, Kose SA, Ozbebit O, Sengul C, Selvi Y, Sengul CB, Ayhan MG, Dagistanli A, Askin R. Antidepressants and menstruation disorders in women: a cross-sectional study in three centers. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2012 Sep-Oct;34(5):529-33. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2012.03.014. Epub 2012 Apr 24. PMID: 22534402.


Barron ML, Flick LH, Cook CA, Homan SM, Campbell C. Associations between psychiatric disorders and menstrual cycle characteristics. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2008 Oct;22(5):254-65. doi: 10.1016/j.apnu.2007.11.001. PMID: 18809118; PMCID: PMC2588420.


Handy AB, Greenfield SF, Yonkers KA, Payne LA. Psychiatric Symptoms Across the Menstrual Cycle in Adult Women: A Comprehensive Review. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2022 Mar-Apr 01;30(2):100-117. doi: 10.1097/HRP.0000000000000329. PMID: 35267252; PMCID: PMC8906247.

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