Saw Palmetto scare - advice and thoughts?

  1. Where are you from (country)?
    United States

  2. 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?)
    Reference from other hair loss forums - they seem less interested in helping instead of writing you off as an idiot.

  3. What is your current age, height, weight?
    25, 6’6", 235 lbs

  4. Do you excercise regularly? If so, what type of excercise?
    Used to exercise 3x a week, still try to exercise frequently. (Walking/lifting)

  5. What type of diet do you eat (vegetarian, meat eater, raw, fast-food/organic healthy)?
    Meat-eater, normal diet.

  6. Why did you take Finasteride (hair loss, BPH, other)?
    Prostate pain, was suggested to take it. Was having slight hair loss too, which it seems like Saw P rectified. (Which is great, if it wasnt for all of these side effects).

  7. For how long did you take Finasteride (weeks/months/years)?
    Roughly 1.5 months.

  8. How old were you, and WHEN (date) did you start Finasteride?
    25, and around late December. Can’t remember the exact date, and didn’t take it every day (sometimes forgot). But for the most part I did.

  9. How old were you when you quit, and WHEN (date) did you quit?
    25 years old, quit on February 7th.

  10. How did you quit (cold turkey or taper off)?
    Cold turkey, I only had about two softgels left of the 50 capsule bottle.

  11. What type of Finasteride did you use – Propecia, Proscar, Fincar or other generic?
    Saw Palmetto

  12. What dose did you take (eg. 1 mg/day, 1 mg every other day etc.)?
    Saw P 160mg, once daily (small dosage, I know)

  13. How long into your use of Finasteride did you notice the onset of side effects?
    Probably two-three weeks in, just didn’t tie it to Saw P use.

  14. What side effects did you experience while on the drug that have yet to resolve since discontinuation?

Put an X beside all that apply:

Sexual
Loss of Libido / Sex Drive
Erectile Dysfunction
Complete Impotence
Loss of Morning Erections
Loss of Spontaneous Erections
Loss of Nocturnal Erections
Watery Ejaculate
Reduced Ejaculate
Inability to Ejaculate / Orgasm
Reduced Sperm Count / Motility

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

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

Misc
Prostate pain
Persistent Fatigue / Exhaustion
Stomach Pains / Digestion Problems
Constipation / “Poo Pellets”
Vision - Acuity Decrease / Blurriness
Increased hair loss
Frequent urination
Lowered body temperature

Other (please explain)

  1. What (if any) treatments have you undertaken to recover from your side effects since discontinuation of the drug?
    Just working out and taking creatine (supposedly a DHT booster).

  2. If you have pre or post-Finasteride bloodtests, what hormonal changes have you encountered since discontinuing the drug (pls post your test results in the “Blood Tests” section and link to them in your post)?
    Awaiting a hormone panel from the doctor in the coming week.

  3. Anything not listed in the above questions you’d like to share about your experience with Finasteride?
    Again, never used Fin, just had very similar to PFS-like symptoms with this recent Saw Palmetto use.

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

I’m a 25 year old male, used Saw Palmetto for prostate pain and increased urinary frequency. Was treated for prostatitis on an antibiotic recently and this has gone away. However, since the stopping of taking Saw P, these side effects remain. Should I be worried, being only two weeks off?

I’m not the kind of asshole who doesn’t think that PFS is real, like most on hair loss forums that I’ve found out - it’s definitely real, as I feel like I’m experiencing symptoms of now, and I feel for each and everyone of you guys that are suffering from it. Even if I do recover (which I hope I do), I will definitely add supporting the PFS Foundation to my philanthropic efforts. It is absolutely a travesty what some of these drug companies can do and get away with to innocent people.

A few things that glimmer of hope to me:

  • I can still get an erection and masturbate to completion. Feel an orgasm to the almost full extent I used to, and my semen isn’t watery, it’s fairly thick and white.
  • I am an extremely oily person (or I was) before taking saw P, and Saw P got rid of pretty much all of that oil (which I was ok with, just not at the cost), and it has returned. My face is now very oily again, and have to wipe it daily (which I didn’t while on SawP).
  • I am not numb downstairs in the genital region, I feel like my balls may be slightly smaller, but this might just be my anxiety (Which has gotten worse when reading all of these happenings with these drugs).
  • I am starting to sweat again, and smell. Before on Saw P, I never had to use deodorant, now if I don’t, I smell really bad by the end of the day.

I feel like I’ve been in a yo-yo pattern, where some days are better than others and symptoms appear to be resolving, then some days where they are worse again. Is this normal? I’ve not felt a “surge of DHT” yet, but I have felt improvements. Basically, should I be concerned yet, given that I have shown signs of improvement listed above, or should I give it a while longer? I’ve read anecdotes on hair loss forums of people that had the same symptoms I did from Saw P, and that they recovered from them, so I’m hoping I will too. Probably gonna give it at least a month or two before I get concerned, given that Saw P inhibits both types of 5AR (type I and II), and that type I has a half life of 14 days, and type II has a half life of 30 days, so it could just be taking awhile to get back to full operating ability again (from reading a study, can find the link if you’d like to see it). Just really ready for this brain fog and vision issue to go away!

Thanks for taking the time to read my story - and I wish the best to each and everyone of you. I’ll keep checking back and updating as the this goes on! And thank you in advance for the replies and advice.

Sounds like you are doing ok.Just stay with the healthy lifestyle.
25 year old with prostatis? Wow

It was acute prostatitis, not chronic. So it resolved itself with antibiotics, now I just have to sit here and hope these side effects wane off in the next few months. Like I said I have good days and I have bad days, just ready for the yo-yo effect to end.

Going to keep updating this as I go:

It’s been about three weeks now - feeling much better but not out of the woods yet. Started getting sexual dreams again, and morning erections (as of this morning) are fuller/stronger and took awhile to subside. Had a rock hard normal length erection yesterday that didn’t go away easy and felt my orgasm pretty much to the full extent I used to. Libido isn’t where it once was, but seems to be improving nonetheless. My emotions and personality appear to be coming back as well…Sorry for the graphic parts of this post, gents!

Balls still seem to be a little different and the blurry vision/focus is still there, but the brain fog is subsiding it seems - I guess with time I will make a good recovery given the recent happenings. I feel sore again when I leave the gym, which I didn’t before -and I’m starting to sweat more. My appetite has come back, and I no longer feel cold in every room that I am in…of course hair is falling out at normal pace again, but I’ll take being bald any day over how I felt. Getting a blood test on Friday to see where I stand just in case.

Fingers crossed for a full recovery. Wish the best to all of you guys as well!

4 weeks off now - still making improvements. Mood has improved, brain fog has lessened, I’m sweating and feeling warm again, and libido is somewhat returned. Much easier to get and keep an erection now - but not 100% back to normal yet. Have a feeling that my vision and brain fog may have been due to ZZZQuil (diphenhydramine) abuse. I’ve been using more than I should for awhile now to help with sleeping, and I’ve noticed a ton of the side effects of it (some last for some people for a couple weeks), include reduced sweating, blurred vision/dry eyes, and brain fog/short term memory problems…and last but not least, erectile dysfunction. So I quit ZZZQuil yesterday, will see if that gets rid of some of the problems over the coming weeks. I had a surgery late January that required my stomach to be shaved, and the hair wasnt growing back while on SP - now it is growing again. Many improvements give me hope, and maybe the ZZZquil caused some problems or interacted with SP as well. Either way I’m hopeful for a full recovery in the coming weeks/months.

Will update as I see the need to - best of luck to all of you guys as well!

Still in a holding pattern for the moment, just slow improvements a little at a time. Either way, going to put my mind at ease and focus on other things at the moment. I’ll revise this post if I’m still having problems by the end of 3 months off. Best of luck and good wishes to all of you!

Just figured I’d update with some blood tests - feeling much better in the last few weeks. Still not close to 100% though, hoping for continued recovery.

Bloods 3/11/16:

Total T: 409 ng/dl (348-1197)
Free T: 11.2 pg/ml (9.3-26.5)
Cortisol: 25.3 (Out of range high, 25 is the high end)
Prolactin: 7.8

Bloods 3/31/16:

Total T: 463 ng/dl (348-1197)
Free T: 12.8 ng/dl (9.3-26.5)
Estradiol: 14.5 pg/ml (7.6-42.6)
DHEA-S: 365.1 ug/dl (14.3-530.5)

I’m hoping these increased T levels in the last few weeks correspond with me feeling better, with obviously still a bit of a ways to go, but I’m hopeful. Anyone have any advice on these bloods?

If you have not started VitD3 already, start it please.
Stop all kinds of Gluten. I am sure if you follow this then you can have easy life.
This is secret of my recovery.

I’ve been doing a pretty solid diet - probably gonna go full paleo soon. I am taking Vitamin D3, up to 4000 IU depending on the day (it’s been pretty sunny here lately and I try to get out when it is). Thanks for the advice! My mental sides are really starting to die down, just waiting on the sexual ones to come around (and they seem to have a little bit today…random erection, and that made me happier than it should have haha). How are you doing now?

free t is pretty low for a young guy… Hope it keeps going up.

Yeah - that was supposed to be pg/mL instead of ng…but yeah I’m hoping it still keeps going up. Like I said I’ve been feeling substantially better over the last week-week and a half, and been kinda yo-yoing back and forth between good and bad days before that, so I’m hoping I’m beginning to stabilize. Sleep has gotten a lot better and I can pretty much exercise again to my full extent, so I’m sure that’s helping. I’ll probably get another round of bloods in a few weeks.

Bloods 4/14:

LH: 3.7 mIU/mL (1.7-8.6)
FSH: 11.4 mIU/mL (1.5-12.4)
SHBG: 25.3 nmol/L (16.5-55.9)

LH and FSH were a lot higher than I expected them to be given how I feel, so I’m gonna take that as a win…is FSH too high possibly?

I don’t know much about SHBG personally, but I’m guessing that I’m in the lower part of the is good?

Awaiting a Test/Est/DHEA test result coming up too. Doc has me on strict blood testing schedules to be sure things are still trending it right direction.

Thanks again for any inputs you guys have, you know it better than I do!

It is still early days for you. Just keep healthy and keep waiting.

It seems only a small percent of people get in trouble on Saw P. Why do you think it hit you? Have you had any other health problems in your life? Do any family members have physical or mental health problems?

Thanks for the reassurance man, I’ve honestly felt the best I’ve felt so far the last few days (sexual sides are still kinda rough but everything else is doing well). Who knows how long this will last because I’ve been in a zig zag up and down pattern this whole experience. But each time I’m back up seems to be better than before, and the lows are not near as low. Finally seem to be putting on muscle mass again from working out. Still seem to not sweat near as much as I used to though.

Outside of athletic injuries, and gastro problems from a bad gallbladder (had it removed), I’ve had s very healthy life. My family really has no health problems that run in the family, outside of high blood pressure and anxiety on one side of the family. I’ve never had really bad anxiety until this episode, and even that has seemed to come back to normal lately.

To answer your question, I’m not really sure why Saw P hit me…low T/hypogonadism is almost unheard of in my family after talking to my dad about this situation, and he’s taken Saw P since his early 40’s with no problem what so ever (he’s 65 now). So I’m not real sure why I would get hit so hard by it. I was still on it when I had my gallbladder surgery so I don’t know if that caused any interaction problems? I wouldn’t think so though, but who knows. I definitely didn’t expect to have high range FSH and normal LH, because my symptoms almost mimicked Terp03’s (eye floaters, were the only two Saw P stories with that, that I’ve found) for awhile, but I’ve made a lot more progress on my symptoms than he seemed to, so I’m hoping that is good news. Plus I know he had pre existing low T from long term Paxil use, which I didn’t…outside of that our initial symptoms after quitting are pretty much the same.

Sounds you are heading in the right direction.

I think so too - I still have a little ways to go, but trending in the right direction has to be a good sign.

Got my bloods back, T and Free T were essentially the same, maybe raised 20 ng/dl and 1.5 pg/ml respectively. Only one that stood out to me this time was DHT.

DHT: 30 ng/dL (Range: 30-85 ng/dL)

So essentially I’m still right on the bottom of the range of DHT. Could be why I’m still feeling a bit off.

your free T is pretty low so I guess low DHT is normal considering.

Doc ordered LH and FSH again to confirm values:

LH: 5.9 mIU/mL (1.7-8.6)
FSH: 11.9 mIU/mL (1.5-12.4)

Obviously I’m thrilled that LH went up but FSH went up a bit and is high range. Feeling better though, so that’s all I have to report.

Thought I owed it to this board to put a close to my topic on here. Although I may not agree with a lot of people’s thinking on this board, it did a lot for me when I was at my worst, and showed me what was causing my problem when I had no idea what was going on and the medical system as I know it failed me. When I found this board originally, I found it and there were a few cases of saw palmetto sufferers…very few who had made full recoveries, or if there were some who were liveable again, it took years. I came back to post this to make sure anyone who was in my spot 16 months ago can see my story as a glimmer of hope. It’s all over…

…I’m healed.

My log of everything I did is on Swole Source - same username, under the title “My journey to the promised land”. I’ll do my best to answer PMs on here, I’m back to being fairly busy in both my personal and my professional life.

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Thanks for the update. I read though your thread and it seems you did many treatments.

Could you tell us which treatments helped you the most?