Road to saw palmetto recovery [with an iron will]


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)?

New York, USA

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?)


What is your current age, height, weight?

30, 5’ 9.5"

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

320mg saw palmetto + pumpkin seed oil

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

What condition was being treated with the drug?

Hair loss prevention (was probably never even losing my hair. BDD sucks…)

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

2.5 years full dose + 1 year low dose

How old were you, and WHEN (date) did you start the drug?

25 (June 2014)

How old were you when you quit, and WHEN (date) did you quit?

27 (Nov 2016)

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

Cold turkey but took lower dose (80-160mg) in multivitamin for a year, than completely off

How long into your usage did you notice the onset of side effects?

ED in first week, 100% fine for 1.5 years after first week, then nasty sides started

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

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

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

Prostate pain
Persistent Fatigue / Exhaustion
[X ] 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
[X ] Lowered body temperature

[ x] Other (please explain)


What (if any) treatments have you undertaken to recover from your side effects since discontinuation of the drug?

-VSL 3 probiotics
-CBD oil
-Intense exercise
-Kick boxing
-Life situation changes
-Playing video games to distract mind
-Reading self help books which focus on optimal health

Other potential additions:

-Sensory deprivation tank
-Glutathione IV

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?

I have been suffering from BDD since 2013 and was never even losing my hair. I lost everything for no reason. One of the hardest things I have to deal with is the regret of this decision which never needed to happen in the first place. Thought I was dodging a bullet with saw. Was dead wrong.

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

I noticed a tiny bit of recession in 2014 and freaked out. Researched natural ways to save hair and found saw palmetto, then later pumpkin seed oil. I thought both were safe. My hair didn’t change at all but in 2016 I started to notice much less libido as well as depression and anhedonia. I did NoFap in 2016 and thought I was flatlining at first so I didn’t connect the dots for nearly 2 years. One day at the end of 2016, I woke up and couldn’t feel my penis at all. Was extremely terrified. I didn’t get morning wood but didn’t think much of it back then. Have had bad depression since the end of 2016 as well, but I was better when I was in a relationship in 2017.

Now I’m fighting to get back what was stolen from me

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Good luck! I know you will succeed!

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It is easier said than done, but try not to beat yourself up about taking saw palmetto unnecessarily. There is a lot of social pressure (which breeds paranoia) around hair loss, and that in combination with your BDD and the lack of adequate information regarding the severity and prevalence of side effects from any type of 5ari means you were not making an informed decision at the time. I know it is hard, but try not to dwell on the things that cannot be changed, it will only sap energy that you need to be channeling into overcoming this. And you will overcome it.

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Fighting is the wrong approach. I understand why such an attitude holds appeal. It gives a person a sense of agency and control, and ultimately, as people, especially men, it’s in our DNA to strive to solve issues. However, such an approach can lead to reckless experimentation with substances which can make you a whole lot worse. One needs to act with a high degree of caution, and avoid treading the same paths which have led to disaster in so many other sufferers.

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May 2019 update:

Been feeling pretty damn good the last few days and for most of this month. I have noticed the greatest improvement in libido, ejaculate force, orgasmic anhedonia, and mood and the least improvement in morning wood, insomnia, and visual sides.

1-10 Month average (pfs baseline)
10 indicates pre-pfs state

Libido 7 (2)
Ejaculate force 8 (3)
Orgasmic sensation 8 (2)
ED 7 (4)
Depression 7 (2)
Morning wood 2 (2)
Nocturnals 2 (4)
Insomnia 3 (3)

What I’ve been doing:

-150 mg Wellbutrin
-VSL 3 probiotics daily
-Charlotte’s Web CBD daily
-3mg Melatonin before bed
-High intensity exercise, especially squats
-Bike riding
-Guns n’ Roses

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