Does Lexapro cause gastroparesis? (+ 4 insights)


In this article, we will discuss the possible gastrointestinal side effects of taking Lexapro while also distinguishing these symptoms from gastroparesis. Additionally, we will guide you on managing slow gastric emptying while taking medication and offer advice if you suspect gastroparesis. 


Does Lexapro cause gastroparesis?

No, there is no direct evidence indicating that Lexapro causes gastroparesis. Although some medications, including certain antidepressants, have been associated with delayed gastric emptying, there is no conclusive proof of a causal relationship between Lexapro and gastroparesis. 

If you have concerns about Lexapro’s effects on your gastrointestinal health, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide personalized guidance, assess your symptoms, and suggest appropriate alternatives or treatments. 


What are the gastrointestinal side effects of Lexapro?

Similar to Citalopram, Lexapro may lead to specific bowel problems in certain individuals. These effects include:

  • Nausea: Some individuals may feel nauseous or experience an urge to vomit shortly after taking Lexapro.
  • Diarrhoea: Lexapro use can occasionally result in increased bowel movement frequency and looseness.
  • Constipation: Conversely, some people may encounter infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stool.
  • Indigestion: Lexapro may cause general upper abdominal discomfort, often accompanied by a burning sensation. 

It’s important to note that not everyone taking Lexapro will experience these symptoms. 


How does Lexapro impact gastric health?

Gastroparesis is characterized by delayed stomach emptying due to impaired stomach muscle movement. Although some antidepressants like venlafaxine, amitriptyline, and nortriptyline have been associated with worsened gastroparesis, there is no direct evidence linking Lexapro to the condition. However, Lexapro, as an SSRI, can affect serotonin levels in the gut, leading to gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhoea and constipation (1).

An article discussing the multifaceted role of serotonin in the guy explained that serotonin influences gastrointestinal functions, including motility patterns, secretion, and vasodilation. Additionally, it can slow gastric emptying, trigger discomfort, and induce nausea and vomiting. Highlighting the potential impact of Lexapro on gastrointestinal health (2)


How to manage slow gastric emptying caused by Lexapro?

If you are experiencing slow gastric emptying as a side effect of Lexapro, it is essential to consult your healthcare provider for guidance and appropriate management. They may recommend the following strategies:

  • In some cases, modifying the Lexapro dosage or transitioning to another medication within the same class can help alleviate gastrointestinal issues. 
  • Altering your diet, such as consuming smaller, more frequent, low-fat, and low-fibre meals, can assist in managing the symptoms of delayed gastric emptying. 
  • Regular physical activity and avoiding lying down immediately after meals may improve digestion and alleviate symptoms linked to slow gastric emptying.
  • Your healthcare provider might suggest additional medications or supplements to support gastric motility and alleviate symptoms related to delayed gastric emptying. 

It is important to regularly consult with your healthcare provider regarding any concerns or changes in symptoms to receive personalized recommendations and consistent monitoring, which is essential for ensuring the safest and most effective treatment plan possible.


What are the differences between Lexapro’s gastrointestinal side effects and gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by delayed gastric emptying, resulting in symptoms such as early satiety, postprandial fullness, nausea, vomiting, belching, and bloating.

It is often associated with impaired gastric accommodation and can be caused by various factors, including diabetes, post-surgical complications, or viral infections. Diagnosis typically involves tests like gastric scintigraphy or breath testing to measure gastric emptying time (3).

On the other hand, gastrointestinal side effects caused by Lexapro include nausea, diarrhoea, constipation and indigestion. These symptoms arise due to the medication’s impact on serotonin levels in the gut, affecting motility and potentially leading to digestive disturbances.

Unlike gastroparesis, the gastrointestinal effects of Lexapro typically result from the medication’s pharmacological action and may vary in severity and duration among individuals. 

Management of gastroparesis focuses on correcting nutritional deficiencies, addressing underlying causes like diabetes, and using pharmacological agents to alleviate symptoms. Various novel treatments are developing to provide tailored therapy for patients with gastroparesis. 

While the symptoms of gastroparesis and the gastrointestinal side effects of Lexapro may overlap, the underlying causes and diagnostic approaches are distinct. Understanding these differences is crucial in ensuring accurate diagnosis and effective management for individuals experiencing these gastrointestinal issues. 



In this article, we discussed the gastrointestinal side effects of Lexapro, which can cause nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, and indigestion. While there is no direct evidence linking Lexapro to gastroparesis, it can impact serotonin levels in the gut, leading to gastrointestinal problems. If you experience slow gastric emptying due to Lexapro, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional to address concerns and manage any potential adverse effects of the medication.


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Wang Z, Li H, Kang Y, Liu Y, Shan L, Wang F. Risks of Digestive System Side-Effects of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in Patients with Depression: A Network Meta-Analysis. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2022 Aug 13;18:799-812. doi: 10.2147/TCRM.S363404. PMID: 35992228; PMCID: PMC9386738.


Mawe GM, Hoffman JM. Serotonin signalling in the gut–functions, dysfunctions and therapeutic targets. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Aug;10(8):473-86. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2013.105. Epub 2013 Jun 25. Erratum in: Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Oct;10(10):564. PMID: 23797870; PMCID: PMC4048923.


Camilleri M, Chedid V, Ford AC, Haruma K, Horowitz M, Jones KL, Low PA, Park SY, Parkman HP, Stanghellini V. Gastroparesis. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2018 Nov 1;4(1):41. doi: 10.1038/s41572-018-0038-z. PMID: 30385743.

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