Does Citalopram increase estrogen? (+3 effects)

In this article, we will discuss whether Citalopram increases estrogen levels. We will also discuss research studies and what one should do if this side effect occurs.

Does Citalopram increase estrogen?

Citalopram does not necessarily increase estrogen levels. This side effect is not considered common, but it has affected some people including both men and women.

Citalopram is an antidepressant which produces its effects by altering the neurotransmitter (serotonin) in the brain, which results in improving depression and anxiety symptoms (1).

Estrogen is a steroidal hormone mainly associated with the female reproductive system. It is also associated with many other functions in the body particularly maintaining bone and cardiovascular health (2).

Citalopram is not generally associated with an increase in estrogen levels. However, individual responses to medications can vary. If you have concerns about changes in hormone levels or other side effects while taking Citalopram, it is important to discuss them with your healthcare provider for proper guidance and testing if necessary.

How does Citalopram increase estrogen?

Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It may affect other neurotransmitters, particularly in the prefrontal cortex.

The exact mechanism of increased estrogen levels due to Citalopram is not well-documented. However, Citalopram may indirectly affect hormone levels by affecting the body’s stress response through the HPA axis, potentially affecting estrogen levels (1).

However, Citalopram is not directly associated with increasing estrogen levels but may impact reproductive health in some patients. Citalopram rarely causes high levels of estrogen in men, which can trigger the growth of breasts in men (3).

Women, on the other hand, suffer in more ways as Citalopram can ruin their menstrual cycle because of its effects on the levels of estrogen. Reach out to your healthcare provider if you think Citalopram is affecting your hormone levels.

What does research suggest?

There aren’t enough research studies to explain why and how Citalopram affects estrogen levels and who is more susceptible to it.

One study indicated that six common antidepressants including Citalopram can affect hormone levels, especially steroids like testosterone and estrogen at concentrations close to what’s typically found in the body (4).

They might affect estrogen and testosterone balance, potentially impacting how the hormone works. This suggests a need for more research to understand potential risks for people using these medications (4).

The good thing is that this side effect is seen to be reversible when Citalopram is discontinued. Overall, more research is required to fully understand the incidence of this side effect and how common it is.

What are the effects of increased estrogen levels?

Increased estrogen levels may cause many effects. Some of them include (2):

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Uterine cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Breast cancer
  • Insulin resistance
  • Weight gain

Increased estrogen levels do not necessarily cause such effects but may also result in worsening of some conditions. Therefore, if you suspect any abnormal symptoms related to estrogen levels, seek medical help.

How to manage increased estrogen levels due to Citalopram?

To manage estrogen-related side effects of Citalopram, it is important to take the following steps:

Consulting healthcare provider

Citalopram is generally a safe medication and may not affect every patient. However, if it is affecting your hormone levels reach out to your healthcare provider.

They may either reduce its dosage and frequency or suggest an alternate antidepressant medication that does not cause an abnormality in your hormone levels.

Your healthcare provider may also recommend you get your hormone levels tested to assess your health condition properly. Through hormone testing, any abnormalities in your hormones can be detected to provide effective treatment. 

Always remember not to skip the doses or discontinue the medication without medical supervision as it can lead to discontinuation syndrome further worsening your condition (5).

Lifestyle modification

Another way to manage increased estrogen levels due to Citalopram is by improving your lifestyle. Improve your lifestyle by making healthier choices. Consider taking healthy low-fat, and nutritious meals and avoid alcohol intake which may exacerbate and cause hormonal imbalance.

Include regular physical activity and focus on maintaining a healthy body weight. Reduction in body fat can help in decreased secretion of estrogen from your fat-storing cells.

Manage and limit your stress levels by indulging in mindful and stress-relieving exercises. Limit or avoid substances like caffeine, stimulants or recreational drugs.

In my opinion, Citalopram is not directly linked to an increase in estrogen levels. However, individual responses to medications vary. I would suggest always keeping track of your symptoms related to hormone change and informing your healthcare provider for proper guidance and treatment plans.


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