Does Effexor cause bloating? (5+ factors)

In this article, we will explore whether Effexor causes bloating. Additionally, we will also discuss what the research suggests, contributing factors, what to do if you experience bloating, and what other gastrointestinal side effects may be caused by Effexor. 

Does Effexor cause bloating?

Effexor may not directly cause bloating, but it may be associated with constipation, which is a common side effect of Effexor. Constipation is comprised of feelings that you have not emptied your bowels, you need to push hard, trying to defecate without success, or you have a hard stool. 

Due to these difficulties in bowel movements during constipation, gases are produced inside the stomach which may cause pain and swelling in the abdominal region, termed as bloating. Gastrointestinal side effects are well known to be related to the use of antidepressants (1). 

Constipation may be experienced by many patients using Effexor for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Effexor, also known as Venlafaxine, belongs to the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) class of drugs. Effexor is approved by the FDA for treating conditions such as depression, social anxiety disorder (SAD), and cataplexy.

Additionally, Effexor may also be used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, nerve-related problems with diabetes, and various pain-related issues. Effexor works by blocking the reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in brain cells (2). 

What does research suggest?

According to research studies, most antidepressants are linked to gastrointestinal side effects that are related to treatment. Effexor has also been found to cause constipation, which may be characterized by bloating in some patients (3). 

Bloating is a common condition that may be linked to specific foods, stomach sensitivity, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, or drug-related side effects. Bloating is the swelling of the stomach, which might be painful for some individuals (4). 

Although Effexor causes gastrointestinal side effects, it may also be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A research study suggested that Effexor is effective in reducing the symptoms of IBS, such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or constipation and it also improves mental well-being and overall quality of life (5). 

What are the contributing factors to bloating while taking Effexor?

Although Effexor is not directly associated with bloating, some factors may contribute to bloating while taking Effexor: 

  • Individual sensitivity
  • Underlying stomach problems such as IBS, celiac disease
  • Consumption of foods that cause bloating
  • Obesity 
  • Hormonal changes, such as before menstruation  
  • Lack of physical activity

How to manage bloating with Effexor?

To manage bloating with Effexor, you may try the following tips: 

  • Eat small and frequent meals.
  • Increase fibre content in your diet and use probiotics that improve your gut health.
  • Avoid foods that are high in fat and food groups that can cause bloating such as kidney beans, a few lentils, chickpeas etc (6).
  • Engage yourself in some kind of physical activity such as walking, yoga, and aerobics.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and flush out toxins from your body.
  • If there is any bacterial infection causing constipation and bloating, your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics. 
  • Antispasmodics can be used that helps to relax the gut muscles, reduce the cramps, and promote smooth bowel movements. 
  • Prokinetic agents such as Benzamide and Cisapride can be used which helps to speed up gastric emptying (7).   

However, if your bloating and constipation persist, please reach out to your healthcare provider. 

Does Effexor cause other gastrointestinal side effects?

Effexor may also cause other gastrointestinal (GI) side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, or abdominal pain. However, it is important to note that not everyone taking Effexor may experience these GI side effects (2). 

These GI side effects may also be associated with the early phase of Effexor treatment, and you may feel better as your body adapts to the medication. Some patients may take a few days to adjust to Effexor, while others may take a few weeks to settle down depending on individual factors. 


In my opinion, Effexor may not directly cause bloating, but it is associated with constipation, which is a common gastrointestinal side effect of the medication. Antidepressants are known to be linked with gastrointestinal side effects. 

If you experience bloating while taking Effexor, consider some modifications in lifestyle and eating habits which may make you feel better. However, if any side effect persists or worsens, please reach out to your healthcare provider. 

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