James' story - finasteride made my hair loss way worse

Hi there,

I have posted the problems that I got after using finasteride on some hair loss forums, but no one seems to really know what’s going on.
Therefore I’m glad I found this forum and I hope that somebody who reads this can help me out a little (even though most of you seem to have problems related with ED, which I never got).
So here’s my story:

I’m a 23 year old guy from The Netherlands (so my apologies in advance for any bad English). My four years older brother has been pretty much bald since the age of 22. When I was 19 and saw that my temples were receding a little, I was scared to go bald as quickly as my brother and started using 1mg of finasteride daily.
Biggest mistake of my life: after three months I started losing tons of hair every day - and everywhere on my head: top, sides, and back -, I got very bad acne which was never that serious before, and I developed a strange type of sebum on my scalp that dried up and was almost impossible to get rid off. When my barber saw this she thought I had chewing gum in my hair.
I read about shedding on hair loss forums; that it’s common to undergo this after about three months use and also to give finasteride a try for at least a year. So I decided to stick with it. However, the amount of hair loss did not reduce; I was losing 250-300 hairs everyday. After about a year I finally decided that finasteride was definitely not going to help me.

Quitting the drug however did not reduce my hair loss and acne. Therefore, after 6 months I went to see my doctor and told him about my situation. He discarded the symptoms that I described earlier and thought it was regular MPB, and ‘adult acne’. I decided to visit him again after a while because the diffuse hair loss – not at all like regular MPB - still bothered me a lot. This time he sent me to a derm.
The derm thought I did not have hair loss at all, and didn’t see anything unusual on my scalp (I was finally able to get rid of that nasty sebum before I visited him). I told him that I had visibly more hair a year ago and that I was losing 250-300 hairs each day. This wasn’t possible according to him. Even though I explained that I lose about 150 hairs with showering alone (I’ve counted them) and that the acne on my face and back wasn’t there before using finasteride, he still just said that I couldn’t be right.

So I’m 23 now and still losing the same amount of hair each day. When this all started almost 4 years ago, I thought I would be slick bald in a few months time. But even though my hair is gradually getting worse, I still have a reasonable head of hair (probably because it’s falling out in a diffuse manner and because I had a lot of hair when all this started).
I don’t understand why my hair loss did not reduce after quitting finasteride. Could it have left my hormones permanently changed or something? I was able to get rid of most of the acne by using Proactiv, but I still develop a lot of zits and clogged pores at age 23 when I don’t use that stuff for a few days.

I have had my hormones checked about a year ago. The free testosterone was slightly below the normal range, but nothing to worry about (well, that’s what I was told). My estrogen levels were also in the normal range. My iron levels were normal too.

The situation looks like Telogen Effluvium, but that condition is supposed to be temporary; my acne and hair loss are going on for three and a half years now. I have read about Chronic Telogen Effluvium which can last longer, but I believe the hairloss with that condition comes and goes in cycles; mine is just the same everyday.

I’m currently taking a few tablespoons of fish oil daily, along with a blend of essential fatty acids. Don’t really know what else I can do to improve the situation.

If there’s anybody who has had a similar experience with finasteride and was able to do something about it, or someone who might know what’s going on here, I’m more than happy to hear it. Thanks in advance.

Hi,

It sounds like you either have a strong genetic disposition to hairloss (which the drug could not slow down) or possibly upregulated your androgen receptors and made them more susceptible to the effects of DHT/Testosterone, especially when you quit.

Read my response to this man’s question here: propeciahelp.com/forum/viewt … f1ca98e8d0

That might be one reason for your increased acne after the drug (reflex hyperandrogenecity). Also just to be clear, this is NOT a hairloss forum. Many here couldn’t care less about hairloss after what the drug did to them in the sexual/mental department, as they struggle to recover from an altered endocrine system the drug left them with. Just FYI.

HOWEVER – the fact you have lowered Free Testostosterone after the drug is a common factor for many guys here as well. I would get more bloodtests as outlined on this site to see what is going on with your hormones. How is your DHT now? Total Testosterone? Estradiol?

I also wouldn’t just take your doc’s word that everything is “normal”… you need to research your own bloodtest results to see if they are indeed “normal”. Many here are told their hormones are “normal” by docs because they are still “in range”, despite results being very low for their age and them feeling terrible and exhibiting side effects like loss of sex drive, impotence and much more.

Count yourself lucky you did not experience any sexual problems. To me it sounds like the drug changed your endocrine metabolism in some manner and/or made your androgen receptors more sensitive to the effects of DHT/T, via AR upregulation (since they were deprived of DHT via Finasteride) .

Just a guess.

Thank you very much for your reply, Mew. It’s the most useful advice someone’s given me on this matter.
I’m aware that this is not a hairloss forum. I didn’t mean for my post to come off like I was thinking that.

I guess I can consider myself lucky when I read the list of symptoms that others experienced from finasteride. Though I think you’ll understand that losing 250-300+ hairs each day and having a face (and back) full of acne is terrible for guys in their late teens and early/mid twenties.
These weren’t my only side effects btw. I had ‘watery ejaculation’ while on fin, but this went away after I quit. Many side effects in the mental department from the first thread look very familiar, though I’ve encountered some of those before taking finasteride. I do believe that the following are the result of/are aggravated by using finasteride, and they did not entirely go away (yet):

Emotionally Flat;
Difficulty Focusing / Concentrating;
Memory Loss / Forgetfullness;
Lack of Motivation / Feeling Passive / Complacency.

I definitely do not believe that my sudden onset of severe hairloss is caused by a strong genetic disposition to hairloss, which fin could not slow down.

“To me it sounds like the drug changed your endocrine metabolism in some manner and/or made your androgen receptors more sensitive to the effects of DHT/T, via AR upregulation (since they were deprived of DHT via Finasteride).”

These sound like very likely possibilities. Isn’t reflex hyperandrogenecity supposed to be a temporary condition that goes away by itself?
If finasteride somehow changed my endocrine metabolism, is there anything I can do about it?

I will read up on the suggested bloodtests on this site.

Thanks again.

Well yea, that SHOULD be the way things go, for all of us… but only if your endocrine system returns to it’s pristine state after having been disrupted by an anti-androgenic/5-alpha reductase inhibiting drug.

Unfortunately there are no guarantees when you mess with hormones that things will be the same as they were after you finish messing with them…

  1. Read the FAQ at top of this site.

  2. Get bloodwork as outlined on this site.

  3. If bloodwork reveals abnormal results (high/low) or if things come back in range yet you are still experiencing issues, you will need to investigate further, via…

  4. Finding a doctor/endocrinologist knowledegeable about hormones, hormone treatments, and hopefully, post-Finasteride side effects/endocrine disruption.

  5. These medical professionals would be someone willing to work with you and investigate your issues further via more bloodwork/testing to hopefully find out what changed thanks to Finasteride and how to correct via treatments.

Will try to do this. Gonna be tough though I think, since my doctor and the dermatologist I visited both don’t take me seriously. Strolling around endlessly in search of a good doctor/endocrinologist is not a possibility because of my fulltime job.
But I’ll look around for a good physician, maybe I can get some info on this from Dutch forums.

Thanks again Mew, I appreciate your input!

What I find strange about my particular case in relation to the majority of users on this board, is that my symptoms are almost the opposite of what you guys experience.

  • My libido went through the roof, instead of decreasing. It was ridiculous.

  • I read on here about people telling that finasteride worked for them hairwise, but for me it was a constant horrible shed that started after a few months and did not stop ever since (years after quitting the drug).

  • my body hair is growing like hell, much more so than other family members and just in a short time period I became a hairy guy.

  • I read about this rarely, but the quality of my teeth started declining after starting with finasteride. I never had problems before, I eat well, and I brush and floss regularly, so it’s not a matter of lifestyle.

So, what does the constant hairloss, raised libido and fast growing body hair tell? My testosterone levels were not extraordinary high when my blood was checked.
Unlike a lot of you, I don;t think I actually had any MPB in the first place before starting fin. I was just scared to end up like my brother, who does have MPB and went bald fast.
Please share your thoughts.

cheers

Look up ‘‘reflex hyperandrogenicity’’.

Oh silly me :stuck_out_tongue: ,didn’t realize you already posted on the thread I made.

Theres not much information really on this subject but I have read that it also increases oily skin,acne and further shedding.
I haven’t had any of these,actually from stopping fina and palmetto my hair has remained the same and in pretty good condition.The only thing has been this thicker extra body hair which is pretty annoying

Thanks Nacle, yes I read your thread about RH and other websites on this matter.
After quitting fin I foolishly took a variety of supplements that also inhibit 5ar over the last years. Maybe this is why the symptoms still continue. I stopped using any supplement for now, which seems to be helping my acne an oily skin somewhat (eventhough I have never been acne free anymore since I have taken finasteride).
The increasing body hair annoys the hell out of me too, plus the fact that I’m still losing 200+ hairs daily. I know some of you could care less about hair, but it just pains me to realize that I could still be the same outgoing guy I was more than 4 years ago, before starting with this finasteride crap.

Hi James1,
I would like to contact with you in order to know if you solve your problem since I have exactly the same problem and I couldn´t find a solution in the last 15 years.
If you see the post, please answer back me.

Best Regards

Hi jaguar,

I can’t seem to send a PM so I’l just reply here. Feel free to contact me or leave a reply in this thread.
Though unfortunately I don’t have the solution for reflex hyperandrogenicity either… Nothing seems to help, only hoping for the side-effects to subside over time. But it will never be the same as before taking finasteride.

James

Damn this Mew cat knew more about this shit in 2007 than most here do in 2020.

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@james1 thanks for posting again, please give us an update on how you’ve been in the 12 years since you last posted.

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With reflex hyperandrogenicity caused by finasteride, there is no supplement, topical, diet, exercise routine or whatever that is going to reverse the damage. Your best bet is to stop using finasteride as quickly as possible once you are suspecting it’s causing RH. Users who took finasteride for shorter periods seem to recover better (regrow the massive diffuse hair loss that RE causes all over your scalp (including sides and back), stop the excessive oiliness on their scalp and skin, etc).

I wish I stopped taking finasteride immediately after the RH kicked in. But I didn’t have any knowledge on the subject at the time, so I was hoping it was temporary. After I did quit, the oily skin and scalp, sebum build-up on my scalp and acne on my face and shoulders did go away mostly. The excessive diffuse hair loss lessened but never stopped. I also never regrew most of the hairs I lost while on finasteride. I also remember losing my enthusiasm for life in an instant, like a switch was turned, after a few months on finasteride. Like a dark cloud drifted over me. This never went away either. In a way I killed the person who I was by taking this shit.

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Mine did the samething on generic hetero brand cut in half…

My shit was like Elvis Presley thick and jet black…This shedding started after about 4 weeks and was alarming the amount of hair loss and my tiny thin spot grew bigger…I was told to switch to name brand after I stopped and recovered but my hair never did…Fatal mistake…I listened to those who claimed this saw people who had success with propecia were switched to this generic version of finasteride lost a shit ton of hair from this unexplained shedding…

So I tried propecia and after 6 months of horrible sides and some of the hair actually grew back i quit in the summer of 2015…

Then pfs set in and am disabled now…physically destroyed my weight sky rocketed over 100lbs. Too many sides to even list…went from running 5ks to having difficulty breathing while walking and can’t even mow my own yard or do chores any more…Bathing is a physical challenge I dread every time :weary: now…

Its insane that for some pfs brought overweight, to others (like me) insbility to gain weight. I’m stuck with 70 kg no matter how much poisoning calories i eat, i keep being a skinny weak little boy that i never was before pfs (i used to be 80kg with tonns of muscles)

Hello, same thing happened to me on accutane. 3 months in my hair started falling diffusely, the same amount you said. I got diagnosed with a rare condition called Lichen Planopilaris, basically scarring hairloss. I’d bet this is what you have/had. I know this post was is 13 years old, so I don’t know how beneficial this is, but a drug called apremelist is helping me out

Same for me. Just took 1 pill. Year + and when I take a shower I lose around 1000 hairs all overy head. They’ve all thinned as well even in the dht resistant hairs in the back. I’ve decided to go nuclear and stop this at any cost. Also digging through 5 years of baseline labs to find some info. We will see.

What do you mean with going nuclear?

I’ve been there, literally losing 1000+ hairs a day, from all over my head. It’s less now but there’s also less to shed of course after all these years of RH destroying my hair with very little options to combat this.

steroid injections from doctor for inflammation, cryotherapy, prp injections, every conceivable vitamin, oral minoxidil, ru, carnivore diet for reducing autoimmune inflammation issues. i’m literally going to do everything possible, at least if it fails i’ll have peace of mind i tried everything i could.