Can citalopram affect your period?

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In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Can citalopram affect your period?”. By the end of this blog post, we will be able to understand how citalopram causes menstrual problems and affects your period. Here, we will also talk about some tips that can help normalise menstrual issues. 

Citalopram is an antidepressant which belongs to the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs. These agents are known to cause some irregularities in the menstrual cycle. Many women have experienced this, while being on citalopram.

Can citalopram affect your period? 

Yes, citalopram can affect your period. Several research studies have suggested that citalopram and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can affect your flow, the number of days your periods last and the intensity of menstrual cramps. 

SSRIs cause hormonal and other function alterations. It is common for women to notice differences in their monthly cycle. This can include physical symptoms, like tiredness, cramps, or tenderness, or can include emotional symptoms, like mood swings, agitation, or irritability.

This can also include the symptoms of menstruation itself, like changes in flow cycle, quantity of flow, frequency of flow, or even lack of flow is also experienced.

If your menstrual problems are caused by a condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), the use of antidepressants might actually help. 

A 2012 research was based on comparative study. A total of 1432 women were included in the study. The sample was divided into two groups: the antidepressant group, consisting of 793 women and the control group, with 639 women in it. 

The menstruation disorders were checked through gynaecological data. Results showed significantly higher prevalence of menstrual disorders in the antidepressant group (24.6%) than the control group (12.2%). 

The incidence of antidepressant induced menstruation disorder was found to be 14.5%. Hence, the study concluded that menstruation disorders were frequently observed in women taking antidepressants and that it appears to be associated with the use of antidepressants. 

Is delayed menstruation also a symptom of depression? 

Delayed period is itself a symptom of depression. This is because a stress hormone, called cortisol, is primarily responsible for making changes in a woman’s body when she is exposed to stress or depression.

When cortisol levels rise in the body, it affects hypothalamus. It is an organ in the brain that plays an important part in regulating the reproductive system. Because of this increased amount of cortisol, the function of the hypothalamus is affected.

It results in either delaying ovulation, or stopping your periods altogether. Other hormones could also play a role here which can mess up a woman’s monthly cycle.

Make sure you report to your healthcare provider if you suffer from menstrual problems while being on citalopram. Your doctor will determine whether it is a side effect of your antidepressant or your depression is getting worse by the day. 

Are there any other medications that can affect your period?

Not just citalopram or other antidepressants, there are plenty of medicines out there which can negatively affect your monthly cycle. These include:

  • Hormonal birth control 
  • Hormone replacement therapy 
  • Warfarin (Coumadin) 
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.
  • Thyroid medications 
  • Epilepsy medications like valproic acid
  • Chemotherapy 

What underlying health conditions can disturb your periods?

There are several other health conditions that can result in menstrual irregularities. These include:

  • Uterine polyps and fibroids, which are small non-cancerous, often called benign, tumors in the lining of the uterus. 
  • Endometriosis, a condition which occurs when the endometrial tissue starts to grow outside the uterus. 
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is an infection that affects the female reproductive system. 
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is associated with small fluid-filled cysts (sacs) that may form in the ovaries. 
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency, a condition with malfunctioning ovaries. It often results in delaying or stopping your periods.

Other serious conditions include: 

  • Medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders, hypo or hyperthyroidism, or pituitary disorders that affect hormonal balance.
  • Endometrial (Uterine) cancer 
  • Cervical cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Complications associated with pregnancy, including miscarriage. 

When to see your doctor

You should contact your gynaecologist immediately if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • Bleeding during or after sex
  • Bleeding during pregnancy
  • Dysmenorrhea 
  • Extreme menstrual pain and discomfort
  • Chills and fever
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Abnormal hair growth
  • Pimples and acne
  • Unusual discharge from nipples

Such side effects should be reported as soon as you can and you should get yourself thoroughly checked. Your healthcare provider may stop citalopram, if need be. But again, one important thing to mention here is that everyone is affected differently by medications. 

Don’t think that you will definitely suffer from such problems just because you’re reading about it or someone else reported it. Every single human body is different. You and I have different physiological makeup. Drugs will affect us differently. 

Is there anything you can do to normalise your periods?

There are some ways, or say lifestyle changes, that can help regulate your periods:

Maintain a healthy weight 

Try to maintain a balanced healthy weight. Women who are overweight are most likely to suffer from citalopram induced delayed periods as compared to those who have a normal BMI. Similarly, those who are underweight are more susceptible to gynaecological side effects.

When women are overweight and obese, it often disturbs their hormones. The hormonal disturb can cause gynaecological complications and can result in irregualr periods, polycystic ovary disease, early menopause etc. 

Do yoga

Yoga is known to relieve symptoms associated with menstrual problems. A study, which included 126 participants to monitor the relationship between yoga and menstrual health, concluded that 20-40 minutes of yoga, as part of normal routine, can lower hormonal levels which cause irregular periods. 

If you are starting just about now, you can seek help for your local gym or can find beginner yoga moves on the internet that you can easily do at your home.

Make exercise a part of your routine 

Exercise can help regulate your periods in so many ways. First, it will help you reach your ideal body weight, in accordance with your height. 

Exercise is actually a part of the treatment plan for Polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOs), which can also cause period related problems and can also make you gain weight. 

A 2021 study showed that exercise can benefit you in the treatment of dysmenorrhea (painful periods caused by excessive uterine contractions) by reducing the intensity and duration of pain associated with the menstrual cycle.

Add some ginger to your diet

Ginger appears to be beneficial for a variety of menstrual problems. It has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. A study conducted in 2014 included 92 women with heavy menstrual bleeding. 

It concluded that daily ginger consumption helped them with menorrhagia (heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding). 

Cinnamon 

Cinnamon is also known for providing comfort during not-so-easy menstrual cycles. Research suggests that cinnamon can help regulate menstrual cycles and is an effective treatment option for women with PCOS. 

It has also shown to decrease nausea, vomiting, menstrual pain and bleeding in women experiencing dysmenorrhea. 

Enjoy juicy pineapples

Pineapple is known to be a popular home remedy for providing relief from menstrual problems. Bromelain, an enzyme present in pineapple, has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It can make the lining of your uterus soft and can regulate your periods. 

Make sure you have enough vitamins

Studies show a link between vitamin D deficiency and irregular periods. A 2014 study shows the benefits of vitamin D in the treatment of PCOs associated menstrual irregularities. 

Vitamin B is also associated with period regulation. Make sure you have a fair share of every vitamin as they all manage our basic physiological functions. In case of deficiency, supplements are preferred to replenish the vitamins first, then it is advised to manage their levels with diet. 

Conclusion

After this blog, we have concluded that citalopram can indeed affect your period. Several research studies have suggested that citalopram and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can affect your flow, the number of days your periods last and the intensity of menstrual cramps. 

Although, research has confirmed that citalopram can affect your periods but it doesn’t mean it always will. People get different side effects, as our bodies react differently when they are exposed to medications. 

Make sure you report to your healthcare provider if you suffer from menstrual problems while being on citalopram. Your doctor will determine whether it is a side effect of your antidepressant or your depression is getting worse by the day. 

FAQs: Can citalopram affect your period

What medications affect the menstrual cycle?

  • Hormonal birth control 
  • Hormone replacement therapy 
  • Warfarin (Coumadin) 
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.
  • Thyroid medications 
  • Epilepsy medications like valproic acid
  • Chemotherapy 

Can citalopram cause irregular bleeding?

Yes, citalopram can cause irregular bleeding. Several research studies have suggested that citalopram and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can affect your flow, the number of days your periods last and the intensity of menstrual cramps. 

Can antidepressants cause irregular periods?

Yes, antidepressants can cause irregular periods. SSRIs cause hormonal and other function alterations. It is common for women to notice differences in their monthly cycle.

If your menstrual problems are caused by a condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), the use of antidepressants might actually help. 

What are the most common side effects of citalopram?

Common side effects of celexa include:

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea or Constipation 
  • Acid reflux or heartburn 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight gain or loss 
  • Excessive sweating or night sweating (nocturnal/night hyperhidrosis) 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Polydipsia or excessive thirst
  • Tremors 
  • Muscle twitching and pain
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Excessive tiredness or fatigue 
  • Insomnia or inability to fall asleep 
  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Dysmenorrhea or heavy periods
  • Flu like symptoms including irritation in eyes and runny nose
  • Loss of libido in both male and females. Males may suffer from inability to ejaculate, while females may suffer from inability to have an orgasm. 

Can depression affect your period? 

Delayed period is itself a symptom of depression. This is because a stress hormone, called cortisol, is primarily responsible for making changes in a woman’s body when she is exposed to stress or depression.

When cortisol levels rise in the body, it affects hypothalamus. It is an organ in the brain that plays an important part in regulating the reproductive system. Because of this increased amount of cortisol, the function of the hypothalamus is affected.

It results in either delaying ovulation, or stopping your periods altogether. Other hormones could also play a role here which can mess up a woman’s monthly cycle.

Why is my period late not pregnant?

Your period may get late because of the following health conditions other than pregnancy:

  • Uterine polyps and fibroids, which are small non-cancerous, often called benign, tumors in the lining of the uterus. 
  • Endometriosis, a condition which occurs when the endometrial tissue starts to grow outside the uterus. 
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is an infection that affects the female reproductive system. 
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is associated with small fluid-filled cysts (sacs) that may form in the ovaries. 
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency, a condition with malfunctioning ovaries. It often results in delaying or stopping your periods.

References

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