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A 21-year-old member asked:

How can antidepressants relieve irritable bowel syndrome pain?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Holly Barth
Dr. Holly Barthanswered
General Practice 9 years experience
Decrease Stress: Stress/anxiety makes the symptoms of IBS worse. The goal of giving antidepressants to a patient is to reduce their stress, thus decreasing the IBS symptoms. Antidepressants increase serotonin levels in nerve endings. The GI tract and the brain have receptors to which serotonin increasing medicines (antidepressants) bind. Increasing serotonin in the GI tract decreases IBS symptoms.
Dr. Vikas Duvvuri
Psychiatry 16 years experience
Gut has serotonin: Common antidepressants (ssris like prozac) act on serotonin and the gut has more serotonin than the brain.

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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