Finasteride vs Saw Palmetto

Is saw palmetto more or less severe than finasteride? I see people saying different things and I want to find the actual answer to this question. Please don’t respond with any bias, don’t just say that SP is worse only because you suffered terribly from it. I understand that reports of recovery are few and far between, but I would assume that there are more accounts of recovery from SP than Fin? Please help me figure out the truth to this issue. If you have recovered in any way shape or form after taking SP it would be extremely helpful to hear from you.

Hello, welcome to the forum. In the nicest possible way, I am sorry you found your way here.

I’m sorry to say that I don’t think you’ll get an answer to your question. Not one of any use anyway.

The problem is that We don’t know how many people use each substance, how many people develop side effects and how many recover.

One thing that I think would be helpful in understanding this, and for everyone who compartmentalises different parts of our community, is to think of the drugs as merely the trigger for the condition. In my opinion, we will likely find that PSSD and PFS, PAS, etc. Etc are all the same thing.

If you got a papercut on your finger, you wouldn’t bother researching the manufacturer of the paper and then deciding which paper is safest or attempt to differentiate papercuts caused by blue, white and red paper. The outcome is the same and while the paper may appear different, in terms of the paper cut, it acts in the same way, whether the paper was a newspaper, a book or a bus timetable.

One thing that you might take comfort from is that we can say that most people see improvement with time.

Please fill out a member story - create a new topic in the Member Story section. That way you can add to the knowledge base and next time someone asks this question they might get a better answer.

We are also running a symptom survey which we desperately need more people to take. Please consider this too.


How is it logical to group everybody’s wide ranging symptoms into just being “all the same thing”? Yes there are similarities between everyone but almost nobody’s symptoms are exactly the same. As far as I can tell the afflictions caused by SP and Fin are similar but these are two different substances. After researching PFS I can assume that a lot of symptoms are shared with Saw Palmetto users. But if I had taken finasteride I would just assume that there is a 95% chance I won’t recover. Since I took saw palmetto I would like to hear from others who ingested this substance and have made improvements so I know what to expect during this ordeal. I don’t think it’s irrational to try to get a sense of the magnitude of my extremely complex health issue that I am faced with. I have seen countless people who have taken SP without having any side effects, but I think this is extremely rare with Propecia, it seems that whether mild or severe, everybody will get at least one side effect from it. A tiny percentage of people will get by totally unscathed - contrary to what doctors will tell you. Therefore it would be logical to conclude based on anecdotal evidence that they differ in severity. I don’t agree that “the outcome is the same”. Nobody even knows what this condition is exactly so how can you make such a bold claim?

Forgive me if I’ve upset you.

The side effects and severity of them is variable between people who have used the same substance, the same dose, etc. You can’t say that x is a finasteride symptom and that Y is a saw palmetto symptom. You can say that those symptoms can be triggered by either substance however.

So that is one way that you could say that either drug triggers the same condition.

Hi @WarPhotographer72

Welcome to the forum. I just read through your member story and I’m sorry that you’re not doing well right now.

Although it seems to be more rare, there are still many reports of patients experiencing PFS as a result of Saw Palmetto, not finasteride. It’s likely that it is less common because a) although it is a 5ARI, it is not as ruthlessly powerful as finasteride and b) more men take finasteride as it’s more effective in stopping baldness. As both interfere with the same biological pathway, however, it is unlikely that there is a difference in recovery/improvement rate between SP patients and finasteride patients, which I think is what @Greek is trying to say.

As demonstrated throughout the patient record on propeciahelp, and elsewhere, there is quite a bit of overlap in the symptoms experienced by those who took finasteride, SP, accutane or an SSRI, as the are all anti-androgenic, just in varying degrees. If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to read the brilliant literature review written by two of our admins, Axo and Awor, who even called this disease “Post-Androgen Deprivation Syndrome”, not Post-Finasteride Syndrome: That’s because quite frequently the onset of the condition is caused by a reduction in androgen signalling (whether through finasteride, SP, something else) followed by a reintroduction of androgen signalling. That seems to the trigger point, and from there, I’d have to agree with Greek that the conditions mostly appear to be the same.

Yes there are similarities between everyone but almost nobody’s symptoms are exactly the same.

This is an excellent point. That is one of the perplexing characteristics of this problem - that there is a huge degree of variability in both the type of and severity of symptoms experienced.

As far as I can tell the afflictions caused by SP and Fin are similar but these are two different substances

SP and finasteride are not really different though, in the sense they are both 5ARI and both anti-androgenic. That’s why Greek made the point he made.

I understand you’re looking for some patients with similar experiences to yours, however, so what I can suggest is searching for other patients by clicking the “S” next to your username. I know some members like @AaronF and @Sawproblemo are quite active, so perhaps you could reach out to them.

Lastly, as it is still early days, I’d encourage you to find an environment where you can be as comfortable as possible, and let your body rest for a while. Many people who don’t have PFS experience improvements after a few weeks to a month, so there’s every chance that could be you. Take some time and hopefully you’ll notice some natural improvements.

If you don’t, this forum will be here for you.

Take care,

What do you think about me having a high SHBG? Is this common with most PFS patients? I heard Tongkat Ali is supposed to lower SHBG. But I’m scared to take any herbal supplements, seems like a lot of people are helped by them, but some crash terribly. Perhaps the reason why people crash is that they are not dosing correctly.

I wouldn’t be able to give any opinions about SHBG or hormones specifically as I’m not qualified, sorry. The only thing I would recommend is what we tell all new patients - to give it a few months and wait for natural improvements. Many experience improvements over that time without the need for any supplements or drugs which could make things worse.

Unfortunately you’ll struggle to find concrete answers on anything related to this condition, and I’d be wary of anyone proclaiming they understand it or can provide such answers. There is just nowhere near enough scientific understanding currently to do so. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help with that specific question.

They are two poisons, both can cause serious damage, they have the same mechanism of action. The shocking thing is that SP can easily be found in any supermarket or supplement store.

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