IBS Tales Home > Treatment Reviews > IBS Medications > Zoloft


Rated 3.2/5 based on 10 reviews

Zoloft (sertraline) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) which helps correct the imbalance of serotonin in the brain. Zoloft is commonly prescribed for depression, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it can also be given to IBS patients, usually in lower doses than those given to depressed patients. Zoloft comes in tablet form.

Zoloft Side Effects

The most common side effects of Zoloft are constipation, anxiety, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach upset and vomiting.


Review by Elisabeth

I was diagnosed with IBS when I was 18 after three months of horrible tests and dead ends. I was reluctant to accept the diagnosis, but I had spent the last three months in bed with cramps, nausea, diarrhea and constipation and I had become very depressed (although I was in denial about my depression). My doctor prescribed 50mg of Zoloft (half a tablet first, then a full 50mg). I was still hesitant but went with the regimen, and within a month I was back to normal, started college, got engaged, and moved to a new house.

I stopped taking my Zoloft in November 2010 under the advice of a cardiologist I'd seen for a rapid heart beat - nothing severe. Within a month I was having symptoms of my IBS again, and before long I was back at the doctor begging for relief. I was then prescribed belladonna/phenobarbital which worked wonders on my cramping. But I still wasn't myself and I found myself constantly worrying about having symptoms and where I'd be and if I'd be near a bathroom. I think sometimes IBS and depression go hand in hand, so I'm back on the Zoloft and haven't felt better in months. I am my old self again!

Review by Rosemarie

I have taken Zoloft for two years now and I am beginning to become very nervous about its side effects. I have been reading other comments about its use for IBS. I suffered from IBS for at least 20 years. It totally took over my life and led to depression. About four years ago, I decided to totally change my diet and took myself away from eating any meat at all. I began eating only fruit, vegetables, fish and grains, no caffeine, lots of water.

At the same time I discovered virgin expelled cold processed coconut oil and I have been taking it on and off, when needed, for a year and a half. My IBS is gone. I still have episodes of gas, but no longer have pain, or urgency, or frequency. I have my life back. I take a large teaspoon of the virgin coconut oil followed by a large glass of water at night. I do not take it every night, although at first I took it every night for two weeks. It was rough at first, as the oil tends to clean out the colon like you would not believe.

However, I feel that it is responsible for eliminating the leaky gut symptoms and It immediately takes care of any bloating and I no longer have any pain at all, can travel and don't have to know where every bathroom is! My doctor is telling all her IBS patients about the lifestyle change and the coconut oil. I am still careful with my diet, but the fear of eating is gone and I even look better and I am free from pain and horrible episodes which used to last up to two to three weeks at a time.

Review by Tracy

I am on a half of a Zoloft tablet once a day. They tried to move me up to a whole one, but I had no sex drive and that wasn't good for my relationship, so we tried to see if a combo between the half of Zoloft and Klonopin twice a day helped. I am also suppose to take a Levsin during an episode.

Previously an episode would be two and a half days of horrible pain, in bed, not eating. It felt very similar to labor. I was having an episode about every six to eight weeks - not good when you have two part-time jobs and a five year-old. She knew when mommy was in bed don't touch her belly!

Anyway, the combo of meds has helped a lot. I am not as anxious because of the Zoloft and Klonopin, and the Levsin takes the edge off and shortens the episode. There is no cure for IBS, so making it more bearable is the best I can hope for.

Review by Alicia

I've had IBS since I was about 10 years old. I remember my mom taking me to my fifth grade class and I couldn't get out of the car because the cramping was so intense. I was prescribed Zoloft for anxiety when I was about 19, and I remember it helping my IBS tremendously. However I stopped taking it because it made me feel really numb, like I had no emotions at all. My IBS has since returned and I have had to leave work twice in the past week because the pain was unbearable.

My doctor has just prescribed Zoloft again, which I think I will pass on for now because I already have no sex drive. She also gave me dicylomine, a pain medication for the cramping that is caused by IBS. I don't know what is worse...having no emotions or dealing with the pain and frustration of IBS.

Review by John

I have suffered from IBS since about age 10. It is a morning thing with me, and it usually starts about 30 minutes after breakfast. It does not matter what I eat. I then spend the next two to three hours in extreme spasmodic pain while I empty out. In my 30s and 40s I could usually recover enough to then go to work, but now in my 50s it is more difficult to recover from an episode. Sometimes the pain is so intense I almost pass out, and I turn clammy and pale.

The Zoloft seemed to greatly diminish the number of episodes, but the generic version does not seem to help. Sometimes the pain has been so intense, if I had a gun I might have used it. I am ready to try and find something else, and maybe a new gastro.

Review by Kim

I was put on Zoloft recently to help with IBS problems from a salmonella infection two years past. I had used Zoloft in the past for anxiety with no problems. However, this time I was put on 25mg for 10 days and then 50mg thereafter. Four days after taking the 50mg I began having heart palpitations. Later that night I was taken to the hospital due to uncontrollable full body muscle twitches. These twitches were like a conscious epileptic seizure, they called it a pseudo-seizure. They lasted for hours at a time.

It has been two weeks since then, and I have been off Zoloft since that night. I still have slight tremors, a hard time concentrating, and remembering things is difficult.

Review by Mike

I've just started taking 25mg of Zoloft each night before bed, and I'm struggling right now to handle the side effects during the day. I'm somewhat light-headed, my body is kind of tingly in places, I'm a bit nauseous, my eyes are red, and I'm dizzy at times. I'm sleeping pretty well, so the red eyes are not from staying awake throughout the night. I'm still trying to eat my three meals a day, nothing major since I stay away from most trigger foods. It's the morning nausea that is getting to me.

This is day three of taking the medication and everyone tells me that I need to give it some time to start working and for my body to adjust to it. I've turned to Phenergan for the nausea just once so far. So, it's Levsin in the morning and Zoloft at night. The paperwork with Zoloft indicates that for most people the side effects become greatly reduced and/or disappear over time. I'm nearly ready to flush the pills, but my veterinarian wife is urging me to give it some time before turning to the doctor for other suggestions.

I've struggled with IBS since I was 26 with two significant multi-month flare-ups, but these daily side effects are kind of scaring me, and except for the dry mouth, they are very unlike the Levsin I'm used to.

Review by Laura

I was diagnosed with IBS when I was 19, and I am now 25. I suffered from severe abdominal cramping, nausea, and diarrhea for about a year, and when my IBS symptoms were affecting my daily life, I knew that I needed to seek treatment. After a myriad of rather unpleasant tests, my doctor diagnosed me with IBS and prescribed 25mg of Zoloft daily. I could not believe the improvement and I am now virtually symptom-free.

Review by Laura

I am 25 years old and I was diagnosed with IBS (constipation, cramping, and reflux) when I was 18. I have not suffered from IBS for all of those years, however. When I was 22 I was put on Zoloft to treat depression and discovered that as a side effect the drug was putting an end to my painful cramping and constipation.

After two years on Zoloft my doctor weaned me off in order to see if my depression therapy was successful. Thankfully, the depression therapy has been helpful. Unfortunately, within a month of coming off the Zoloft my cramping and constipation returned. I spoke to my doctor about this problem, and she had not realized that the Zoloft had helped my IBS symptoms so much. We agreed to put me back on the medication, at a lower dose.

I have now been back on Zoloft for two months and am again completely symptom-free. I still take Prilosec for my reflux problems, but I went two years without being doubled over in pain and I plan to never be doubled over like that again.

Review by Marcie

I was diagnosed with IBS probably 20 years ago and have suffered since. My symptoms over the past several years have increased, probably due to having the surgery for heartburn, nissan fundoplication. I have always been constantly aware that I have a mid-section, ie: pain and discomfort 24 hours a day.

I had bloating, severe gas, bouts with diarrhea and constipation and pain throughout my diaphragm. By the end of the day I was laid out in a recliner holding my stomach praying for bedtime so I could wake up and feel better just to start again. It didn't seem to matter what I ate, anything I gave my body to digest it turned on me.

I couldn't wear pantyhose or anything tight around my waist, the pain it would cause would double me over. My IBS symptoms also seemed to react to position. Days that I sat the majority of the day at my desk, and times when I traveled and sat in the car or airplane for extended periods of time, also caused pain. I am not overweight or unhealthy. I am very active and eat well, I typically stay away from raw vegetables and fruits, but other than that I eat healthy.

I was prescribed Zoloft by my gynecologist several years ago for PMS. I did not take them on a regular basis until I visited this website when I was at my wit's end looking for a good doctor and found that Zoloft is prescribed for some IBS patients.

I started taking 50mg a day and cannot believe the difference! It took several days but my symptoms have diminished an incredible amount. I wore pantyhose yesterday and was fine! This might not sound like that big of a deal, but I am in the professional world and it is a necessity. So...Zoloft seems to be working for me.

Do you suffer from IBS? Have you tried Zoloft? Please contact Sophie to send in your review.

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