Everything You Need to Know About Wellbutrin Constipation

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Medications are vital in the treatment process when managing mental health conditions. Wellbutrin, also known as bupropion, is a commonly prescribed antidepressant that has been effective in alleviating symptoms of depression and aiding smoking cessation.

This medication is also prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and major depressive disorder. Wellbutrin is researched in clinical trials because of its efficacy in treating various mental well-being problems.

However, like any medication, Wellbutrin is not without its potential side effects. One such side effect that users may encounter is constipation.

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Wellbutrin Constipation: What You Need To Know

Constipation refers to unusual bowel movements or difficulty passing stool, which can cause discomfort and disrupt daily life.

In this article, we discuss if and why Wellbutrin can cause constipation, ways to alleviate it, and address common questions and concerns surrounding this issue.

Understanding the connection between Wellbutrin and constipation is crucial for individuals taking or considering this medication to make better-informed decisions about their mental health treatment.

It is vital to note that Wellbutrin SR and other forms of this medication come with a boxed warning for suicidal thoughts and ideation. The Food and Drug Administration requires this.

Why Wellbutrin Can Make You Constipated

The exact mechanisms behind why Wellbutrin can cause constipation are not yet fully understood.

However, it is understood to be related to the medication’s impact on the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract.

Wellbutrin affects the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain- dopamine and norepinephrine, which can indirectly affect bowel movements.

Is Wellbutrin Constipation Avoidable?

Because constipation is a possible side effect of taking this drug, it may not be entirely avoidable.

However, the good news is that there are methods that can assist in reducing the risk of constipation while taking the drug.

Read also: How Effective Is Wellbutrin for Anxiety Treatment?

Can Stopping Wellbutrin Cause Constipation?

Interestingly, some individuals may experience constipation after discontinuing the use of Wellbutrin. This is thought to be due to the sudden withdrawal of the medication, which can disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.

That said, it is essential to consult a healthcare expert before making any changes to one’s medication regimen to ensure a smooth transition and minimize potential side effects and withdrawal symptoms.

How To Relieve Wellbutrin Constipation

Whether a person is experiencing constipation while taking Wellbutrin or after the fact, there are several steps they can take to find relief.

Firstly, it is crucial to consult with their healthcare provider before trying any remedies to ensure they are appropriate for their situation.

Next, consider these suggestions as they may help alleviate Wellbutrin-caused constipation.

Increase fiber intake: Consuming fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can add substance to the stool and boost regular bowel movements.

Stay hydrated: Consuming adequate water throughout the day helps soften the stool, making it less challenging to pass.

Exercise regularly: Engaging in physical activity stimulates the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, promoting healthy bowel movements.

Adjust medication: If constipation becomes severe or significantly affects a person’s quality of life, a healthcare provider may consider adjusting their Wellbutrin dosage or exploring alternative treatment options.

More Common Side Effects of Wellbutrin

In addition to constipation, Wellbutrin can potentially cause other side effects. These side effects are usually temporary and may diminish as the body adjusts to the medication. That said, typical adverse reactions include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Hair loss
  • Insomnia or changes in sleep patterns

It is important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, which may vary in severity from person to person.

If any side effects persist or worsen over time, it is advisable to seek medical attention for further evaluation and guidance.

Mild Side Effects of Wellbutrin

Besides these common symptoms, some individuals may experience milder side effects while taking Wellbutrin. These side effects are generally not cause for concern but should still be monitored:

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Upset stomach

Serious Side Effects of Wellbutrin

In rare cases, there are potentially severe side effects associated with Wellbutrin that require immediate medical attention. These side effects include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Rash, itching, swelling
  • Severe dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Severe headache
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • High blood pressure

If an individual experiences any of these severe adverse effects, it is essential to seek medical help immediately.

Severe Constipation Associated With Extended-release Bupropion Therapy

Mild digestive side effects are common when taking Wellbutrin. However, the drug can sometimes cause severe constipation due to the extended-release formulation of bupropion, the active ingredient in Wellbutrin.

This severe constipation may lead to bowel obstruction or other complications. It is crucial to be aware of this potential side effect and promptly report any persistent or severe constipation to a healthcare provider.

Relieving Constipation Caused by Antidepressants

It is not uncommon for antidepressant medications to cause constipation. The underlying mechanisms can vary, but generally, antidepressants affect the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, which can impact the digestive system, and, therefore, bowel movements.

If a person experiences constipation while taking an antidepressant like Wellbutrin, the following strategies may help relieve the symptoms:

Fiber supplements: Besides eating fiber-rich foods, adding fiber supplements, such as psyllium husk or methylcellulose, to one’s daily routine can help soften the stool and promote regular bowel movements.

Probiotics: Taking probiotic supplements or consuming foods rich in probiotics can help maintain a healthy gut flora, potentially alleviating constipation.

Gentle laxatives: Over-the-counter laxatives, such as polyethylene glycol or lactulose, may temporarily relieve. However, it is crucial to use them as directed and avoid prolonged use.

Why Antidepressants Can Cause Constipation

As previously mentioned, antidepressants can affect the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, impacting the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.

This can lead to a slowdown in intestinal contractions, resulting in constipation.

Apart from this, some antidepressants can cause dehydration or reduce the sensation of needing to pass stool, further contributing to constipation.

Other Possible Causes of Constipation

While Wellbutrin and other antidepressants can contribute to constipation, it is also essential to consider other potential causes.

For example, other factors can influence constipation as well, such as:

Low-fiber diet: Low fiber diet can make it difficult to pass stool. Incorporating fiber-rich foods can help alleviate constipation.

Inadequate fluid intake: Insufficient hydration can result in more challenging, dryer stools that are difficult to pass. Staying hydrated is vital to maintaining regular bowel movements.

Lack of physical activity: A sedentary way of living can contribute to constipation. Regular physical activity helps stimulate the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, promoting healthy bowel movements.

Medications: Aside from antidepressants, medicines such as opioids, antacids containing aluminum or calcium, and certain blood pressure medications can also cause constipation.

Constipation Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of constipation can help differentiate it from other gastrointestinal issues. That’s why it’s important to know common symptoms of constipation, which may include the following:

  • Infrequent bowel movements (fewer than three times per week)
  • Difficulty passing stool
  • Hard or lumpy stool
  • Abdominal discomfort or bloating
  • The feeling of incomplete evacuation following a bowel movement

Relieving Constipation

Aside from the strategies listed above, there are additional measures that can help relieve constipation, regardless of its cause:

Establish a routine: Set aside time each day for a bowel movement, preferably after a meal when the gastrointestinal tract is naturally stimulated.

Toilet position: Sitting in a squatting position on the toilet can facilitate easier passage of stool. Placing a small stool or platform under the feet can help achieve this position.

Relaxation techniques: Stress and anxiety can exacerbate constipation. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation can help promote regular bowel movements.

Avoid holding it in when the urge to have a bowel movement arises, and it’s recommended that people use the restroom immediately.

Ignoring or delaying the urge can lead to a more demanding, dryer stool that is more challenging to pass.

Does Wellbutrin-induced Constipation Go Away?

For most individuals, Wellbutrin constipation tends to resolve on its own over time as the body adjusts to the medication.

However, the duration can vary from person to person. If constipation persists or worsens, contacting a professional for assistance is best.

How Do People Fix Constipation From Wellbutrin?

Treating constipation as a result of Wellbutrin can be as simple as changing one’s lifestyle and diet.

But there are also other ways to fix the problem, and that’s with the help of natural remedies, vitamins, and supplements.

How To Get Rid of Wellbutrin-induced Constipation

That said, here are other options individuals can explore to eliminate their Wellbutrin constipation.

Magnesium supplements: Magnesium can boost muscle relaxation in the gastrointestinal tract and promote regular bowel movements. Consult a healthcare provider to determine if magnesium supplements are appropriate for you and establish the correct dosage.

Herbal remedies: Some herbal supplements and teas have natural laxative qualities and can help relieve constipation. Examples include senna, cascara sagrada, and dandelion root.

However, it is crucial to consult a healthcare provider or a qualified herbalist before using herbal remedies, as they may interact with other medicines or have contraindications.

Abdominal massage: Massaging the abdomen clockwise can help stimulate bowel movements by promoting muscle contractions in the intestines. Apply minimal pressure and massage in circular motions for several minutes.

Warm beverages: Drinking warm liquids, such as herbal teas or warm water with lemon, can help stimulate the digestive system and boost bowel movements.

Prune juice or prunes: Prune juice or eating prunes can provide natural laxative effects due to their high fiber and sorbitol content. These can help soften the stool and promote bowel movements.

Castor oil: Castor oil can be a mild laxative. It is vital to use castor oil cautiously and only as directed, as excessive use can lead to dependency or dehydration.

Before trying any new remedies, it’s recommended to consult with a professional first to avoid medical complications. Their expertise and guidance can help them treat their patients better and ensure positive results.

When To See a Doctor

While constipation is generally manageable, there are instances when it is advisable to seek medical attention. These include:

  • Persistent constipation that does not improve with home remedies
  • Severe abdominal pain or bloating
  • Blood in the stool
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Changes in bowel habits that last for more than two weeks

If an individual experiences these symptoms, it is vital to consult a healthcare provider for further evaluation and guidance as soon as possible. Ensure you inform your doctor of all your medications to avoid drug interactions.


In conclusion, constipation can be an unwelcome side effect of Wellbutrin and other antidepressant medications.

However, understanding the underlying mechanisms and implementing strategies to alleviate constipation can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals undergoing treatment for their medical conditions.

By working closely with healthcare experts and adopting healthy living habits, it is possible to manage constipation effectively and achieve optimal well-being.

Open communication with a healthcare provider is vital to finding the most suitable solutions for one’s needs.

Read also: Can You Drink on Wellbutrin?

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions for more information on the topic.

Dealing with Wellbutrin’s side effects requires open communication with a healthcare provider. Here are some general tips:

Patient education: It is essential to learn about the potential side effects of Wellbutrin to recognize them if they occur.

Reporting side effects: Patients should inform their healthcare provider about any side effects they experience. Healthcare providers can provide guidance and determine if any dosage or treatment plan adjustments are necessary.

Giving it time: Some side effects may diminish as the body adjusts to the medicine. However, if side effects persist or worsen over time, patients should consult their healthcare provider for further evaluation and potential solutions.

Following instructions: It is crucial to take Wellbutrin as prescribed and adhere to the recommended dosage. Patients should consult their healthcare provider before changing or stopping their medication regimen. Wellbutrin is extensively studied in clinical trials because of its range of effectiveness.

Stomach bloating can be a potential side effect of Wellbutrin, although it is not as common as other side effects. Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating or a feeling of a bloated stomach while taking Wellbutrin.

If patients experience these symptoms and feel uncomfortable, discussing them with a medical professional who can evaluate their situation and determine the best course of action is essential.

Wellbutrin XL — which is also known as the extended-release formulation of bupropion — can cause a range of side effects, including the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Increased sweating
  • Shaking
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Insomnia or changes in sleep patterns
  • Angle-closure glaucoma

These side effects are temporary and may diminish as the body adjusts to the medication. It is important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, which may vary in severity from person to person.

Patients should consult their healthcare professionals for immediate treatment if any side effects persist or worsen. This medication also comes in Wellbutrin SR- sustained release form.

The content on Doctor Alexa’s blog is reviewed by Advanced practice registered nurses or pharmacist and is intended for educational purposes only. This information should not be relied upon as professional medical counsel. Be sure to always consult with your physician about the dangers and benefits of any medication, treatment or procedure.

You shouldn’t wait to see the doctor for simple health needs.