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Lexapro Side Effects in Women: What You Need to Know

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Have you been prescribed Lexapro, and want to know how it will affect you? Lexapro is a popular antidepressant that can be highly effective at managing depression, but it can come with some downsides. Below, we’ll examine Lexapro side effects in women to help you figure out if you or a loved one can benefit from Lexapro.

What is Lexapro?

Lexapro, also known as escitalopram, is a widely prescribed antidepressant and is classified as an SSRI, or a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. SSRIs increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps people regulate their mood and feel happier. Because it affects neurotransmitters, people can experience various side effects when taking the medication. 

Lexapro Side Effects in Women

Why Does Lexapro Affect Women Differently?

Lexapro can affect women differently than men due to hormone fluctuations, body composition, and metabolic rates. Hormone changes during women’s monthly menstrual cycle can affect how they process the drug as well as the drug’s effectiveness. Similarly, menopause can also change how Lexapro affects you. This is why it’s important to work with a doctor or healthcare provider when taking Lexapro so you can receive the best possible care. 

Side Effects of Lexapro in Women

Different side effects can be exacerbated in women because our bodies process medication differently than men. Women may experience side effects like: 

  • Nausea 
  • Weight gain or weight loss 
  • Low libido 
  • Mood swings

It’s important to recognize these side effects so you can manage them. 

Effects of Lexapro on Pregnancy

If you are planning on becoming pregnant, or become pregnant while taking Lexapro, it’s important to consult a doctor. Lexapro can cross the placenta and have adverse outcomes for both your pregnancy and the developing fetus. If you take Lexapro while pregnant, you may have an increased risk of your baby having congenital disabilities, premature birth, or having a newborn with a low birth weight. If you are depressed or anxious when pregnant, speak to your doctor to consider alternative treatments that are pregnancy-safe.

Why women in the fight against addiction deserve professional drug and alcohol rehab

Lexapro Side Effects: Osteoporosis

If you are taking Lexapro or have been taking it for a long time to treat your depression or anxiety, then it’s important to know that long-term use of SSRIs has been linked to decreased bone density. Since women lose bone density in menopause, they can experience an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. 

Effects of Lexapro on Female Hormones

Lexapro can alter your hormones, which is one of the reasons that it can affect women differently. SSRIs affect estrogen and progesterone levels. This can alter your menstrual cycle and change in your cycle length, flow, or regularity. Some women have also said that Lexapro can increase their breast tenderness. 

If you are taking hormonal contraceptives, Lexapro can lessen the effectiveness of these medications. This is why it’s important to speak to a healthcare provider about your concerns. 

Serious Side Effects Of Lexapro

Though Lexapro can be effective at treating depression and anxiety, it can also come with some pretty serious side effects that can affect your physical and emotional health. 

Can Lexapro Cause Serotonin Syndrome?

Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when there is too much serotonin in the brain. Since Lexapro can increase your serotonin levels, it can cause some people to develop a psychological dependence on the drug, and they can easily misuse it.

 If you take too much Lexapro it can alter your brain chemistry and increase the Serotonin in your brain. If this goes unchecked, it can be disastrous to your health. 

Signs of serotonin syndrome include: 

  • High fever 
  • Agitation 
  • Increased reflexes
  • Tremors 
  • Sweating 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diarrhea.
Eating Disorder

Can Lexapro Increase Your Risk of Suicidal Thoughts or Suicide?

In young adults, teenagers, or children, there may be an increased risk of suicidal thoughts when they first start taking the medication or when they get a dose adjusted. Teenagers and young adults should only take Lexapro if a doctor is monitoring them and should never consume it in social settings or with other substances.  

What Are the Signs of Lexapro Abuse?

Addiction looks different in everyone, and it may be hard to tell if someone is abusing Lexapro or using it for non-medical purposes. People can develop a psychological dependence on the drug and use it to self-medicate when they are feeling depressed or anxious. They can also use it as a party drug when paired with other substances. 

Signs someone is abusing Lexapro include: 

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug
  • Dizziness 
  • Irritability 
  • Psychological obsession 
  • Mood swings 
  • Social withdrawal 
  • Financial issues 
  • Secretive behavior 
  • Taking pills frequently 
  • Finishing prescriptions early 
  • Changing doctors frequently 

Women’s Treatment for Lexapro Abuse

New Directions for Women meets women where they are in their recovery journey and provides varying levels of care, from detox and residential facilities to outpatient programs. Each program includes group therapy and individualized attention so clients feel cared for on their recovery journey. 


New Directions for Women wants to ensure that each client begins treatment with a sober body and mind. Detoxing from any medication can be scary, and it can be dangerous to stop taking Lexapro cold turkey. 

Our detox programs help each client detox from Lexapro in a safe and secure environment. Medical professionals work around the clock to monitor clients and make sure that they are doing well. They can also prescribe medications that can assist with detox, stop drug cravings as well as treat more dangerous withdrawal symptoms. 

Residential Treatments

It’s essential that clients confront their addiction in a safe space where they can focus on their full spectrum of health. At New Directions for Women, we understand that sobriety is not a one-size-fits-all approach, so we tailor every individual’s plan to meet their specific needs to get the most out of their time in rehab. 

Our residential program consists of a multi-tiered format. This starts following detox, then we help the client transition to rehab using proven therapeutic practices. Finally, we offer extended care so they can feel empowered and tackle their addiction once and for all. 


Outpatient Treatment

Inpatient rehab might not be right for everyone so we offer an outpatient treatment program that helps people in various stages of early recovery. Our goal is to get everyone participating completely abstinent from drugs or alcohol. 

Outpatient treatment is tailored to help women who live in sober living communities or have supportive loved ones nearby. Our staff is highly experienced with working with this population and can personalize their program to meet the needs of each client stepping into our facilities. 

New Directions for Women Can Help

New Directions for Women facilities

Battling an addiction to Lexapro can be incredibly difficult, but we believe that with a supportive environment, everyone can get on the road to recovery. Our programs are designed to help women of all circumstances.

If you are worried that you or a loved one are suffering from a Lexapro addiction or if you have any questions, contact us today. Our experienced team is ready to answer all your questions and help you get back on track.


2021 (Harvard Health) What are the real risks of antidepressants?

2019 (Mayo Clinic) Antidepressant withdrawal. Is shere such a thing? 

2019 (Mayo Clinic) Antidepressants: Get tips to cope with side effects 

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