Elevated testosterone one month post Finasteride: a confluence of covid, college graduation and PFS: this is a surmountable challenge

Welcome to our community. Please fill in the following template as a way of introducing yourself, and helping others to understand your background and situation.

Where are you from (country)?
United States

How did you find this forum (Google search – if so, what search terms? Via link from a forum or website – if so, what page? Other?)
From a scientific review article on post finasteride syndrome that referenced this forum

What is your current age, height, weight?
age: 22 y/o
height: 5 ft 10 in
weight: 150 lbs

What specific drug did you use (finasteride, dutasteride, saw palmetto, isotretinoin/Accutane, fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, leuprorelin, etc…)?

What dose did you take (eg. 1 mg/day, 1 mg every other day etc.)?
1 mg/day

What condition was being treated with the drug?
Androgenic Alopecia

For how long did you take the drug (weeks/months/years)?
5 months

How old were you, and WHEN (date) did you start the drug?
21 y/o

How old were you when you quit, and WHEN (date) did you quit?
22 y/o

How did you quit (cold turkey or taper off)?
cold turkey

How long into your usage did you notice the onset of side effects?
4-5 months, but I’m not confident of complete causality given the current circumstances with covid-19 depression and the increased independence/realizations that came after having just graduated college.

What side effects did you experience that have yet to resolve since discontinuation?

Check the boxes that apply. You can save your post first, then interactively check/uncheck the boxes by clicking on them. If your symptoms change, please update your list.

Loss of Libido / Sex Drive
Erectile Dysfunction
Complete Impotence
Loss of Morning Erections
Loss of Spontaneous Erections
Loss of Nocturnal Erections
Watery Ejaculate
Reduced Ejaculate
Inability or Difficulty to Ejaculate / Orgasm
Reduced Sperm Count / Motility

[ :heavy_check_mark:] Emotional Blunting / Emotionally Flat
[ :heavy_check_mark:] Difficulty Focusing / Concentrating
[ :heavy_check_mark:] Memory Loss / Forgetfulness
[ :heavy_check_mark:] Stumbling over Words / Losing Train of Thought
Slurring of Speech
[ :heavy_check_mark:] Lack of Motivation / Feeling Passive / Complacency
Extreme Anxiety / Panic Attacks
[ :heavy_check_mark:] Severe Depression / Melancholy
Suicidal Thoughts

Penile Tissue Changes (narrowing, shrinkage, wrinkled)
Penis curvature / rotation on axis
Testicular Pain
Testicular Shrinkage / Loss of Fullness
Genital numbness / sensitivity decrease
Weight Gain
Gynecomastia (male breasts)
Muscle Wastage
Muscle Weakness
Joint Pain
Dry / Dark Circles under eyes

Prostate pain
[ :heavy_check_mark:] Persistent Fatigue / Exhaustion
Stomach Pains / Digestion Problems
Constipation / “Poo Pellets”
Vision - Acuity Decrease / Blurriness
Tinnitus (ringing or high pitched sound in ears)
Hearing loss
Increased hair loss
Frequent urination
Lowered body temperature

[ ✓] Other (please explain)
Impaired empathy
Reduced prosocial drive/reward
Impaired processing speed
Impaired executive function
Impaired verbal fluency
Stimulants that used to reliably revive me from a depressed/slow mindset (e.g. caffeine, nicotine, phenylpiracetam) no longer have the same effect on my mood/outlook/mindset
Hopelessness (probably more so due to covid than finasteride)

What (if any) treatments have you undertaken to recover from your side effects since discontinuation of the drug?
@thisisarealbummer protocol emphasizing the use of chronic caffeine and Bacopa Monnieri (24% Bacosides)

Sublingual Pregnenolone
Sublingual Fasoracetam
N-Acetyl Cysteine

If you have pre or post-drug blood tests, what hormonal changes have you encountered since discontinuing the drug (please post your test results in the “Blood Tests” section and link to them in your post)?
Abnormally elevated Testosterone without conversion to estrogen
ZRT reported: 203 pg/mL
Normal range: 16-30 y/o (72-148 pg/mL)
Estradiol: 1.1 pg/ML
Normal range: 0.5-2.2 pg/mL”

Anything not listed in the above questions you’d like to share about your experience?
I had a very similar experience and symptoms (the anhedonia and blunted affect/empathy) when experimenting with boron to increase free testosterone for a few weeks in the summer of 2019. I regret not taking that experience as a warning sign that any drug with the potential to artificially elevate my testosterone or at least interfere with my hormones and thus neurosteroids, could adversely impact my mood and cognition. I’m curious if any others with PFS have experienced similar symptoms resulting from artificially elevated testosterone one month or more after quitting finasteride. If so, have you discovered anything (lifestyle or supplement) that improved or completely reversed your symptoms?

Tell us your story, in your own words, about your usage and side effects experienced while on/off the drug.
I took finasteride because I didn’t want to put up with the gradual yet increasing thinning and shedding of my hair I began to notice around 20. I always expected to go bald, but when it actually started happening, the self experimenter in me told me to see if there was anything I could do about it. So I began to take finasteride (1mg daily) and use Minoxidil foam from Keeps along with weekly microneedling (1.5 mm). It worked, my hair gradually stopped shedding entirely and then actually began to thicken and grow back. However, during the first week, I did briefly notice some cognitive symptoms but figured it was just my body adapting to the hormonal changes induced by finasteride. Indeed, after a few more weeks with the distractions and other supplements I was taking, either these effects were masked, or they actually did dissipate over time. Personally, I think there’s definitely an environmental aspect to PFS, in that stressful environments/lack of social interaction etc. can make PFS more noticeable or exacerbate it further. In any case, I didn’t experience any side effects for several months after that, but once my environment shifted, with the increased responsibility/loss of external structure after graduating college and a loss of hope in the future due to covid, the symptoms became more apparent (4-5 months after starting). I began to notice a gradual reduction in my social skills and drive, empathy, focus, motivation, mood, memory, and overall satisfaction/ability to feel excited and happy about the present and future. So I quit, hoping things would gradually stabilize and return to their pre-finasteride baseline. Unfortunately, after quitting the symptoms have only persisted and intensified.

Although, I’ve heard the hormonal stabilization and neurological readaptation process after quitting finasteride can take up to 3 months, I’m concerned for several reasons that my symptoms might not improve by then. Primarily, because this is exactly how it felt on boron and back then things didn’t resolve until I took action about a month or so later. The stress of applying to competitive graduate schools with what I believe to be an inadequate application isn’t helping either. I have experienced relief for a few hours a handful of times during the past month, usually when consuming caffeine in the evenings (5-6pm) after having abstained for a few days, and when testosterone is supposed to be at one of its lowest levels during the circadian rhythm. Despite these transient random breaks from the symptoms, my baseline has yet to shift. I think the worst symptom has to be the anhedonia/dysphoria followed by the memory and cognitive impairments, both of which have an impact on the antisocial symptoms.

All those months back, when I increased my free testosterone levels with boron, the things that eventually brought my mind back to normal were a combination of sublingual fasoracetam, chronic caffeine, occasional nicotine gum, eating strictly ketogenic, fasting regularly, and being in a predictable (i.e. less stressful), structured, social, intellectually stimulating, and rewarding environment while in college. I will post back here when my symptoms improve and am planning to retest my hormones with ZRT labs again at the 3 month mark 11/15/2020 to see if my testosterone levels have normalized <148 pg/mL (I might also test dht, allopregnanolone, and maybe other relevant hormones, neurosteroids, and biomarkers if I can). I remain confident I can overcome this because first, I don’t think it’s just the PFS affecting my mind right now, and therefore when covid begins to resolve, grad apps are submitted, and I again have more external structure and things to be excited about again, the symptoms overlapping with PFS should also improve too. Second, given my prior negative experience with boron, I know high T has a negative impact on my brain, so I’m hopeful these PFS symptoms will also respond to what worked then. Finally, I know I can overcome this because life is long and meant to be enjoyed and I’ve overcome dark patches before. For myself and the people I care about, I won’t lose hope that things will resolve in time.

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hi brother, forget about 3 months. Give it 6 months minimum.

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I hope so. Thank you for the more realistic timeline. The fasting, healthy eating (low carb/low inflammation), caffeine, sublingual fasoracetam and bacopa are seeming to help very subtly (through effects on GABA receptors), but I think they’re just masking the effects of my brains adaptations to the altered hormone levels especially testosterone. So until these hormone/neurosteroid levels return to normal again and remain in that range for long enough that my brain readapts, my baseline won’t change.

try to relax, your going to go through a rollercoaster of emotions and symptoms.

I have just passed the 5 month mark and im slowly starting to feel the symptoms fade away as my body stabilizes itself. Im not recovered fully but made major progress in the last few weeks.

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Extra points for thread title lmfao

updated blood results here: