Learning's Story

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?)
Probably a google search. I don’t remember the exact search since I first found this site over ten years ago.

What is your current age, height, weight?
43, 5’8", 140lbs

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?
Hair loss

For how long did you take the drug (weeks/months/years)?
I took propecia for about 1.5 years. Then I stopped taking it for about 1 year. Then I took it again (I had not yet made the connection between finasteride and my symptoms) for about 1.8 years.

Date when you started the drug?
1st course 2007, 2nd course 2009

Date when you quit the drug?
1st course 2008, 2nd course 2011

Age when you quit?

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

How long into your usage did you notice the onset of side effects?
About 1.5 years. Right before stopping the medication use for the first time.

What side effects did you experience that have yet to resolve since discontinuation?
Erectile Dysfunction, Brain Fog, Memory Loss, Prostate Pain, Decreased Libido, Loss of Erections, Anxiety, Insomnia, Frequent Urination, Lower Body Temperature, Persistent Fatigue

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.

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

[ ] Emotional Blunting / Emotionally Flat
[x] Difficulty Focusing / Concentrating
[ ] Confusion
[x] Memory Loss / Forgetfulness
[ ] Stumbling over Words / Losing Train of Thought
[ ] Slurring of Speech
[ ] Lack of Motivation / Feeling Passive / Complacency
[ ] Extreme Anxiety / Panic Attacks
[x] *General Anxiety (I added this category. I definitely have increased anxiety, but I wouldn’t categorize it as “extreme”).
[ ] Severe Depression / Melancholy
[ ] Suicidal Thoughts

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

[x] Prostate pain (gets worse post ejaculation)
[x] 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
[x] Frequent urination
[x] Lowered body temperature

[x] Other (please explain)
[x] Insomnia (I’m not sure why this isn’t on the above list. This seems like a fairly common complaint.)
[x] Weak Urine Stream (urine stream returns to normal post ejaculation, but this only lasts for a few hours and then it is weak again)
[x] Difficulty Multitasking

What (if any) treatments have you undertaken to recover from your side effects since discontinuation of the drug?
-Strict ketogenic diet for three months - zero sugar and zero carbohydrates other than those which occur in vegetables.
-Only cold showers for one year.
-Exercise regiments including cardio and strength training.
-Courses of various supplements and medications - L-Theanine, Picamilon, Gabapentin, Sildenafil, Tamsulosin, Acidophilus, L-Arginine, etc.

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)?
Unfortunately, I don’t really have pre-finasteride blood tests. I didn’t start running tests and looking for cures before something was wrong.

Anything not listed in the above questions you’d like to share about your experience?
Not at the moment.

Tell us your story, in your own words, about your usage and side effects experienced while on/off the drug.

I had used propecia / finasteride completely fine without any side effects for about a year. Then suddenly I got hit with the finasteride symptoms. It was like a switch. One day everything worked normally, the next day several parts of my body just didn’t work anymore.

I went to a doctor to try to find out what was wrong. He prescribed some antibiotics. I stopped taking finasteride mostly because I didn’t want it to cause any complications taking it at the same time as the antibiotics. After taking the antibiotics (I think it was doxycycline) my symptoms improved, but only for a few days. After that the symptoms returned.

I went to different doctors of various specialties looking for a cure. After about a year and a half I actually started taking propecia / finasteride again because at the time I had yet to make the connection between finasteride and the permanent sexual side effects.

Actually, some doctors back then said it wasn’t possible that finasteride could be the cause. This was probably because at the time the product documentation still said all side effects would resolve after discontinuing the finasteride. It basically said long term sexual side effects were not possible. This was before 2012, when enough evidence came forward that Merck changed the product documentation to have the side effect warning state permanent sexual side effects are possible.

Since doctors seemed unable to help I continued doing my own research and eventually found this site and similar sites linking finasteride to permanent sexual side effects. So at that point I stopped taking the propecia / finasteride for good. I’ve seen a ton of doctors, gotten some of the common misdiagnoses (urologists claiming chronic prostatitis, etc.) Aside from doctor recommended treatments, I’ve also tried some of the treatment methods presented by people on this forum. So far nothing has worked.

Still trying to get healed but losing hope. If anyone can offer any advice on how to potentially recover, I’d really appreciate it.

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