Does Lexapro make period cramps worse? (3+ symptoms)

In this article, we will discuss whether Lexapro causes period cramps worse or not. We will also discuss what research suggests on this, the effects of Lexapro on the menstrual cycle, potential symptoms of period cramps and alternative medications and other non-pharmacological approaches for managing period cramps while on Lexapro.

Does Lexapro make period cramps worse?

Yes, Lexapro can make the period cramps worse in some individuals as a side effect. However, it is important to note that individual responses to medication can vary and some people can experience side effects that others do not. (2,3)

Lexapro is an antidepressant which belongs to the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works by increasing the levels of a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin which helps improve mood and reduces the symptoms of depression and anxiety. (1)

If you’re concerned about the potential impact of Lexapro on your period or if you’re experiencing increased cramps, it’s important to discuss this with your doctor.

How does Lexapro increase period cramps?

There is no clear evidence that Lexapro (escitalopram) directly makes period cramps worse. However, the way Lexapro affects the menstrual cycle or cramps might be related to the fluctuations in serotonin levels. (4)

Serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter targeted by SSRIs like Lexapro, plays a vital role in various body functions including mood regulation. It is also involved in the regulation of pain perception and may affect the functioning of the reproductive system, this means Lexapro can increase menstrual symptoms such as heavy or irregular blood flow and increased cramps. (4)

It’s important to remember that people can react differently to medications and various factors like stress and hormonal changes can also influence how someone experiences their period. Always consult with your doctor for accurate medical advice.

What does research suggest?

According to research, a group of 1432 women from 3 centres and 4 hospitals took part in a study. They were split into two groups, one group taking antidepressants like Lexapro (793 women) and the other group not taking antidepressants (639 women). They reported on their menstrual cycles. (2)

The study found that more women in the antidepressant group (24.6%) had menstrual issues like irregular or heavy bleeding with increased cramps, compared to the group not taking antidepressants (12.2%).

The antidepressants most linked to menstrual issues were paroxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Lexapro. The results suggest that menstrual disorders are often associated with taking antidepressants and they increase the intensity of period cramps at least in some women. (2)

What are the symptoms of period cramps while taking Lexapro?

Some common symptoms of period cramps while taking Lexapro and also, in general, may include: (5)

  • Pelvic pain or discomfort: You can feel pain in your lower abdomen and it can range from mild to severe.
  • Backache: Some individuals may experience lower back pain during menstruation.
  • Thigh pain: Pain or discomfort can sometimes radiate to the thighs.
  • Nausea: Some women may feel nauseous or even experience vomiting during their menstrual period.
  • Diarrhoea or constipation: Changes in bowel habits can occur in some individuals.
  • Headache: You may experience headaches sometimes along with period cramps.

What medications you can take for period cramps while on Lexapro? 

If you’re taking Lexapro to treat your depression or anxiety and meanwhile you’re experiencing excessive cramps during your periods, Here are some general suggestions that might help:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or Naproxen (Aleve) can help relieve the symptoms of menstrual cramps that you may be experiencing by reducing inflammation and alleviating pain. (7)

Acetaminophen: Acetaminophen like Panadol or Tylenol, is another over-the-counter option for you to take during menstrual cramps.

Heat therapy: Try applying heat to the lower abdomen, it can help relax muscles and reduce cramping. You can use a heating pad or take a warm bath, whatever suits you for this purpose.

Exercise: Doing some moderate exercise regularly might lessen the intensity of your cramps. (6)

Hydration: Stay well hydrated for your overall health. Warm drinks like herbal tea can also be comforting.

Dietary changes: Some people may find relief from eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and magnesium. (6)

Remember, it’s always best to talk to your doctor before trying new things, especially if you are on medications like Lexapro, as they can guide you on the best approach for your situation.


In this article, we have discussed the increased intensity of period cramps while taking Lexapro which is an antidepressant. We have also discussed the indirect link between the menstrual cycle and Lexapro, the symptoms of period cramps and the effective management approaches to reduce cramps while taking Lexapro.

In my opinion, finding effective ways to manage period cramps while on Lexapro is very important for maintaining overall well-being. Have open communication with your healthcare provider and discuss any discomfort or concerns related to both medication and menstrual symptoms.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!


Find a supportive therapist who can help with Depression.

Discover the convenience of BetterHelp, an online therapy platform connecting you with licensed and accredited therapists specialized in addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Complete the assessment and find your ideal therapist within just 48 hours.


AskYourPharm is user-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp’s services after clicking through from this site