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)? Ireland
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?) Google
What is your current age, height, weight? 36; 5’11"; 12.25 stone
What specific drug did you use (finasteride, dutasteride, saw palmetto, isotretinoin/Accutane, fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, leuprorelin, etc…)? Finasteride, minoxidil and ketoconazole 2% shampoo
What dose did you take (eg. 1 mg/day, 1 mg every other day etc.)? 1mg
What condition was being treated with the drug? Hair Loss
For how long did you take the drug (weeks/months/years)? 11 years
How old were you, and WHEN (date) did you start the drug? 25 (June 2008)
How old were you when you quit, and WHEN (date) did you quit? 36 (August 2019)
How did you quit (cold turkey or taper off)? Cold turkey
How long into your usage did you notice the onset of side effects? 11 years
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.
[X ] Loss of Libido / Sex Drive
Loss of Morning Erections
[X ] Loss of Spontaneous Erections
[X ] Loss of Nocturnal Erections
[X ] Reduced Ejaculate
Inability or Difficulty to Ejaculate / Orgasm
[X ] Reduced Sperm Count / Motility
Emotional Blunting / Emotionally Flat
[X ] Difficulty Focusing / Concentrating
Memory Loss / Forgetfulness
Stumbling over Words / Losing Train of Thought
Slurring of Speech
Lack of Motivation / Feeling Passive / Complacency
Extreme Anxiety / Panic Attacks
Severe Depression / Melancholy
Penile Tissue Changes (narrowing, shrinkage, wrinkled)
[X ] Penis curvature / rotation on axis
Testicular Shrinkage / Loss of Fullness
Genital numbness / sensitivity decrease
Gynecomastia (male breasts)
[X ] Joint Pain
Dry / Dark Circles under eyes
Persistent Fatigue / Exhaustion
Stomach Pains / Digestion Problems
Constipation / “Poo Pellets”
Vision - Acuity Decrease / Blurriness
Tinnitus (ringing or high pitched sound in ears)
Increased hair loss
Lowered body temperature
Other (please explain)
What (if any) treatments have you undertaken to recover from your side effects since discontinuation of the drug? Some natural supplements outlined below
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)?
Anything not listed in the above questions you’d like to share about your experience?
Tell us your story, in your own words, about your usage and side effects experienced while on/off the drug.
I’ve wrote a long introduction below in the hope that someone may be able to give me some advice and that men will get some use out of what has helped me improve over the past couple of weeks. I’ve a long way to go but I think I’m making progress.
My journey: I started taking finasteride in June 2008, along with minoxidil foam and Nizoral (ketoconazole 2% shampoo). I had zero side effects until early 2019 so all was good for at least 10 years (I can remember having sex four times in under 8 hours with a hottie back in 2015). I had sex with the same woman once in January, February and March of 2019. There were no erection problems for each of these three nights. However, I noticed that I had no interest in having sex in the morning after which was the first time this ever happened to me. I put it down to the fact that I didn’t really have much interest in her and maybe wasn’t as hot as previous women, and also I was very busy at work. I had sex in April with a different woman and did it in the morning although I don’t think I had huge motivation for it. I then had zero sex until late July so I had a three month dry spell. During this time I didn’t have much interest in women and put my loss of libido down to working fairly long hours at work. I met someone early July and had sex with her late July. We had sex for about 20 minutes and I didn’t climax but that was relatively normal for me as I had about 8-10 drinks that night. However, I again had no urge for sex in the morning which I found unusual again, particularly as I fancied this girl and didn’t orgasm at night. We met up again about two weeks later. I went back to hers after three drinks, stripped her naked and then realised, hey I’m not hard. I put her hand down my pants and it came up bit by bit, but I was fairly limp. I got a condom on and had sex with her as hard as I could, so much so that I moved her fairly solid bed about two feet. The reason I did this was to try make myself harder but it just didn’t work. She then sat on top of me and I climaxed. Again, I had no interest in having sex in the morning and had no boner again. A year or two ago, I would be rock hard as soon as I woke up beside a naked woman. As I was walking home, I started thinking of my sexual encounters over the past year or two. The penny finally dropped that something was seriously amiss: I’ve never ever struggled with an erection (even after 20 drinks of alcohol) when I’ve had a naked woman in front of me. I then thought about my loss in libido, random erections and how I stopped going out a lot lately. It also kicked in that I didn’t have a morning erection all year and how I used to be frustrated with how long it took them to go away when I woke up - I would be trying to urinate with a big boner first thing in the morning. I think I then had a conversation with one of my friends and asked him if he was losing his sex drive as we’re now 36. He said no way and that his sex drive was as strong as ever. He also said that he usually woke up with a boner. I trust this friend with my life. I’m a bit of a health nut, exercise loads, very good diet etc. and I’m in great shape – my friend on the other hand drinks a beer or wine at least 6 days of the week, doesn’t do enough exercise and has put on some weight. About a week later and I was flat as a pancake with no life down there at all. I decided to come off finasteride on 27th August 2019. I was aware that some people got erection problems from finasteride so I thought well let’s stay off this for a month and see if anything happens.
I went on holidays and decided to come back early so I could schedule a visit with my GP (things didn’t improve) and the doctor who prescribed finasteride. The doctor who prescribed finasteride felt that it would be highly unlikely that my ED was caused by finasteride as I had no reaction for over 10 years and also that he had about 15,000 “patients” taking the drug. I kindof believed him. He pointed to studies (all BS in my opinion - they were probably commissioned by Merk) claiming that 50% of males in their 30s suffer from ED – laughable in my opinion. I was borderline impotent. He also claimed that about 1.5% of patients do develop ED from finasteride – I found a study carried out which said about 92% of finasteride users experienced ED. I went to my GP and explained my problems – urinary problems with more urge to go, not emptying bladder, ED, chronic fatigue etc. For some reason, I initially forgot to mention finasteride as the different doctor who prescribed it almost convinced me it had nothing to do with finasteride. After about 10 minutes and him examining me, he looked perplex and gave me a holder for a urine sample and I said to him “by the way, I almost forgot to tell you – I’ve been on finasteride for the last 10 years”; he smiled and said it was very important I remembered to tell him that. I went away to give the urine sample and when I came back he was half smiling. I asked him if he’s had other patients who were on finasteride and had similar difficulties and he said yes there’s been a few and told me it would take months for it to clear out of my system and that it’s finally caught up on me. As we were over-running on time, I didn’t get to ask him much else but I will set up an appointment in about a month’s time and ask him how many previous patients had it, have they all recovered, how long did it take, did it come back naturally etc. He seemed confident that I would improve and get back to normal in time – I think he said it could take months for this to get out of my system (I can’t remember but hopefully he didn’t say years). The conversation ended on a light hearted note so he was confident that I would improve over time. He did some blood tests (unsure exactly what they were) but nothing showed up (when I got the results back two weeks later). He also did a testosterone test which passed easily too (I had 25.4 where the normal range is 7.1-31.1). However, I never got a DHT testosterone test and I suspect this would fail miserably. Finasteride is a DHT blocker which effectively prevents testosterone from being converted to DHT (DHT is what makes you get erections, normal libido etc. as far as I’m aware).
I hope the following info helps some members:
I’ve started taking the following natural supplements:
Please remember I’m only taking these natural supplements for about three weeks.
Green tea: apparently it helps to flush toxins out of the system. I’m drinking at least two cups every day and I feel better for it. There is some caffeine in green tea too so I feel more energetic after it too.
Pine pollen: I read from some other users on this forum or a different website that pine pollen was helpful for boosting libido and energy. When I initially came off finasteride, my testicles shrunk and my penis looked horrendous - completely flat and looked like it shrunk too. I initially cycled pine pollen with the other supplements but I’m now taking a tea spoon of it every day. My penis and testicles are now back to normal in terms of appearance. I think the pine pollen and green tea have definitely lifted my energy levels and my mood. For example, some mornings I wake up feeling sorry for myself and in a bad mood e.g. within about two hours of taking the pine pollen, I have a more positive outlook. I’d even go as far to say that without the pine pollen, I’m not sure I’d be able to get an erection by touching my penis. One important point to note, I bought the Na’vi mountain pine pollen from the UK Amazon. I also bought a different (I think non-mountain) pine pollen which didn’t do much for me.
Other supplements: I cycle the following four supplements: maca root, mountain blood, ashwagandha and nettle root.
Maca root: I don’t think the maca root is doing anything for me. I was taking two tablets every 4/5 days but I’m going to scale it back to one as I felt fairly flat down there the days I took it. It’s sort of a zinc supplement and I read somewhere that this increases libido and that it can be a DHT blocker which scared me a little. However, on the basis that it aids fertility and some women posted comments on Amazon saying it boosted their husband when they were trying to conceive. I suspect my level of sperm production is very low / borderline impotent at the moment so I’m hoping this will give my sperm quality a boost (not that I have intentions of having a baby anytime soon).
Mountain blood: I think it’s helping energy levels / my mood but I’ve no strong positive / negative feelings about it. It’s very expensive too.
Nettle root: this is a powder which I mix with boiling water. It’s pretty disgusting but it seems to be helping my urinary tract, which is why most people take it. Over the past year or so, I was waking up in the middle of the night needing to go to the toilet but it’s stopped now and I think the nettle root has helped. My urination seems to be bit more powerful now too and I’ve got less of the urge to go. Sometimes when I’m in bed though, I get the urge to go if I’m lying on my belly, even though nothing will come out if I do go.
Ashwagandha: this is supposed to help with stress and anxiety. Similarly to mountain blood, I think it’s helping but green tea and pine pollen have definitely helped me the most.
As a reminder, the above has helped me feel better about myself and get some life back into me down there, but I’ve still got severe ED problems so they’re not going to cure you. Also, what has helped me may not necessarily help you - all our bodies are different. However, I’ve read reviews on Amazon and on other websites that these natural supplements have helped. I’ve read that tongkat ali is supposed to be decent but it’s similar to maca root and that hasn’t done much for me. Has anyone tried tongkat ali?
Fasting: One of my friends is a bodybuilder and recently gave me the idea of fasting – he said it’s great to flush bad stuff out of your system and replace them with new cells. I thought to myself that maybe this will help me get rid of the finasteride effects. I did a 24 hour fast and I felt more life down there and had sex three days later on 24/09/19 (3-4 weeks after I came off finasteride). The sex went like this. I struggled to get a natural erection and I needed to rub my penis against her bum while we were both standing up. It was 75% erect when I pulled my pants down but I knew there wasn’t great power in it so I just hoped it would get stronger with penetration. I put on a condom and penetrated for about 3-5 minutes, switched positions and penetrated for another 3-5 minutes. At this stage I knew I was losing the erection but didn’t want to come. I then lost it and lied to her telling her it was the alcohol (even though I only had 3 drinks – she was very understanding and didn’t care). However, I told her I would get hard again in 5-10 minutes – I was confident I would and I did although she was pulling me for about 5 minutes. We then had sex for another, say, 5 minutes and I asked her if I could come (this second erection was fairly good and maybe I could have went a little longer). She said she was happy if I took off the condom and came on her chest. I released an enormous amount of semen and I was well happy with that. However, the next morning I felt like I had run a marathon and there was absolutely no life down there. Although I was delighted that I had a great orgasm, I didn’t get an erection for another 9 days (couldn’t even get it going by stroking it) and I was absolutely flat as a pancake for these days – it was tough going and my mood was really down. It was during this period that I asked myself how I managed to get an erection and have sex that night on 24/09. What I put it down to was that I had stopped drinking green tea (unintentionally) and was only taking the mountain pine pollen once every five days. I’m now on a teaspoon of pine pollen every morning. I also did a 24 hour fast from Friday 6pm 20/09 to Saturday 6pm 21/09. This certainly boosted my erection. I said above that after having sex (on Tuesday 24/09), I did not get an erection for another 9 days. I started the daily pine pollen and green tea around Tuesday, 01/10 and did another 24 hour fast from Friday 6pm 04/10 to Saturday 6pm 05/10. Guess what, I got an erection that night when I went to bed (I might have been pushing my penis against the mattress lying on my belly) and I got up around 1am to masturbate. My penis was about 90% erect and I managed to get about 10 minutes out of it and had a decent orgasm. Unlike the 24/09 sex (with a woman, not with myself), I wasn’t flat the days after it. On Monday 07/10, I started stroking my penis and got a 75% erection. I then masturbated for about 2-3 minutes but did not orgasm as I didn’t want to. I also did it today and it was also responsive. What I noticed though was that as soon as I stopped touching it, it would go down fairly quickly. So at this stage, what I know is that I can get an erection but it would be about 75% in strength and I’d struggle to keep it going longer than 5 minutes with a constant feeling that it doesn’t want to stay erect. I can’t get an erection from thinking of hot women (and I looked at porn for 10 minutes too) – it needs to be touched. So if I had 10 hot naked women in my room and then they stripped me naked, I would be soft and would need them or me to pull it for about a minute to get a 75% erection. All in all, I’m making some improvement and I’ve decided to to do a 16 hour fast every Tuesday if possible from about 7pm to 11am the following morning. I weigh 12.25 stone and I’m in great shape and I’ve always struggled to keep on weight as I’ve a fast metabolism. I want to stay at 12 stone or above but I’m confident I can and the two 24 hour fasts haven’t led to me losing weight (for my two weekend fasts to date, I got over 3000 calories into me on the Friday and had 1500 on the Saturday after 6pm so it averages out at 2250 over two days). I go to the gym on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday so I want to eat like crazy these days and then do the fast Wednesday morning.
I haven’t lost any hair since I stopped taking finasteride (6 weeks today I think) so I’m hopeful that my body isn’t producing any DHT at the moment but the effects will reverse soon and I will start producing DHT in time.
I’m hoping someone can give me advice / share their experiences with some of the following:
Has anyone had a similar experience to me in that all was fine for 10 years and then bit by bit, all the side effects kicked in?
I’m still using minoxidil and the ketoconazole shampoo (twice a week) as I’m convinced it’s all to do with finasteride. Has anyone else kept going with these supplements or am I crazy to not have binned them? I was planning to just keep using them until they run out and then make a call on whether to buy new products.
Has anyone else had experience with fasting and do they think it helps? I don’t know much about it but doing a 16 hour fast once a week should be ok. It seems to be helping me in a big way so far.
ED pills: When my GP told me there are solutions to my problem and mentioned Viagra, I was horrified: I’m 36 years of age and I already need that sh1t is what I thought to myself. I’m a bit apprehensive of putting more pills into my system too e.g. did people on here suffer side effects? Also, I’d be scared of developing a reliance to it in that I’d never be able to have sex again without it – does anyone else have the same concerns? I presume most people here are on Cialis or Viagra? Finally, I hope the men here who have actually taken the ED pills have got a good reaction and were able to have sex.
Cialis v Viagra: I never heard of Cialis until I browsed through some of the articles over the weekend but it sounds like it’s much better than V, in that it lasts for over 24 hours which is ideal if you were meeting someone on Saturday night and wanted to have some gas left in the tank for Sunday morning. Is it ok to take, say, 4-7 drinks of alcohol with it; for example, I take it at 4pm on Saturday evening, I have a date at 9pm and have 5 pints of beer - I presume the effects would still work at midnight and the next morning although may not be as powerful. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Muscel atrophy: this is the one which really scares me. I’ve had a tingling sensation in my feet for at least a week now and get pins and needles a few times a day. I’ve got a little in my hands too – don’t think I’ve got anything in my arms and legs. I never heard of neuropathy but it sounds like I have the symtpoms and I read that other finasteride users got it. Have people had this and does it go away? It’s a bit uncomfortable but not unbearable; I’m just concerned about the long-term implications of this. I’m going to talk to my GP about it.
Final thoughts: I’ve seen the word suicide on this forum quite a bit – please do not do anything stupid. I lost my cousin to it years ago and it destroyed his family – it’s tough on them. It was also the biggest setback of my life and I was 25 back then; I’m now 36 and the side effects from finasteride are my second big challenge. I also realise that I’m one of the lucky ones in that if this happened me when I was in my 20s, I would have taken it much worse. As you get older, you realise there’s more to life than sex. On saying that, I do realise that the impact of PFS is more than just not being able to get an erection, the fatigue, hormones all over the place, not being able to concentrate etc. is very difficult.
I want to end on a positive note: I’ve only told my parents and one of my friends about this. My friend took Propecia for 3-4 days back in 2012 and lost all control of his bladder, lost his libido, lost his erections etc. for about two weeks. His penis and testicles also shrunk badly. Then it all cleared off on its own and he’s been 100% ever since. He’s even using minoxidil. I suspect there are loads of other cases like this where men have fully recovered a few months after taking the pills: we’re just the unlucky ones that need to put up with the effects a bit longer.