Saw Palmetto Withdrawal Symptoms

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)? - Canada

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?) - Think I googled Saw Palmetto withdrawal symptoms and found this paper in the following URL, which led me to this site. http://www.protocol-online.org/forums/uploads/monthly_07_2010/msg-19273-074754700%201280151401.ipb

What is your current age, height, weight? - 25, 5’10, 165ish (Healthy, avid runner and soccer player)

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

What dose did you take (eg. 1 mg/day, 1 mg every other day etc.)? Changed between different brands of 1000mg extract and 450mg raw herb. Took one dose per day.

What condition was being treated with the drug? - Hair loss

For how long did you take the drug (weeks/months/years)? - Almost 5 years

How old were you, and WHEN (date) did you start the drug? - 20

How old were you when you quit, and WHEN (date) did you quit? - 25, 10/04/21

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

How long into your usage did you notice the onset of side effects? - Had Testicular pain/discomfort a couple years ago (about 3 years in). Didn’t think it was related to Saw Palmetto (might not have been) and it went away in a couple months. Then had testicular pain/discomfort in March 2021 and it has been intermittent until now. Might of had some loss of libido or mild erectile disfunction over the years, but nothing that concerned me that much or that I specifically attributed to SP. After stopping about two weeks ago, the pain, lack of libido and impotence increased quite significantly.

What side effects did you experience that have yet to resolve since discontinuation? - Testical/Pelvic pain/soreness, low libido, erectile dysfunction.

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.

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

Mental
Emotional Blunting / Emotionally Flat
Difficulty Focusing / Concentrating
Confusion
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
Suicidal Thoughts

Physical
Penile Tissue Changes (narrowing, shrinkage, wrinkled)
Penis curvature / rotation on axis
Testicular Pain
[ Bigger and harder if anything ] 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
Tinnitus (ringing or high pitched sound in ears)
Hearing loss
Increased hair loss
Frequent urination
Lowered body temperature

Other (please explain)

What (if any) treatments have you undertaken to recover from your side effects since discontinuation of the drug? - No treatment yet, just patience. I had testicular pain in the past and it went away, so when it returned I just planned to ride it out. The withdrawal symptoms in these last two weeks is what really has me concerned.

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)? - Met with my doctor today and am getting blood work and a semen analysis done.

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

  • I looked at the The 5ARI Withdrawal Syndrome theory found at http://www.protocol-online.org/forums/uploads/monthly_07_2010/msg-19273-074754700%201280151401.ipb. They say 10-14 days is when symptoms surface or reach full extent. My question is that since it’s been just under two weeks (12-13 days), would it be a good or bad idea to restart taking some Saw Palmetto? I was thinking maybe 1 tablet every 2-3 days, instead of every day. Could reintroducing some into my system help relieve some of these symptoms that arose since I stopped taking it? Or, am I past the point of weening myself off and should I just continue to stay off the stuff. I also think reintroducing it back into my system and taking it more sporadically could really throw off the balance. Would really appreciate some advice/past experience on that.

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

Hi there @Runno

Welcome to the forum. Please, under no circumstances, take anymore Saw Palmetto or any 5ARIs, or anti-androgenic substances in general. Many patients have theorised that if they lowered androgen signalling again, they could possibly recover. Some have tried and become significantly and permanently worsened.

As it’s only been two weeks, I’d suggest doing nothing for now. Try to relax as much as possible and it’s entirely possible that your symptoms will resolve within a normal timeframe.

If you’re still experiencing symptoms in a few weeks, please come back and report your experience then.

Best,
Mitch

Thanks for your response and for the advice, I appreciate it! I’ll report back in a few weeks then.

@Sugarhouse Hi Mitch, I have a quick question. I’ve been taking it easy these last couple of weeks, but do you think it might be a good idea to try exercising/working out to get some blood flowing? Or would you suggest it’s best just to rest. You mentioned to relax as much possible, and I think you meant that in the sense of staying calm, but just wondering if there’s also a benefit in resting as well.

Guess I’m just wondering if there are any actions I can take to hopefully help resolve this.

Hi @Runno

There’s no real guide on what to do to resolve things, particularly in the early stages, so take any advice I give you with a grain of salt.

My symptoms seem vastly different to yours but in the early days I wasn’t able to do anything other than lie in bed. So with that said, if you feel as though you can exercise a bit, feel free to try. Some patients seem to benefit from exercise, others aren’t affected at all, and others are worsened. Such is the variability of this disease.

Hope that helps.

Yeah I figured it wouldn’t be a simple yes or no, but I appreciate your insight and I think I’ll ease into it and see how I respond.

I’m sorry to hear about your experience. This syndrome/disease is awful.

Thanks again

@Sugarhouse Hi again, I have another question for you. I had gotten my first pfizer covid shot within a day of when I stopped taking saw palmetto. When I experienced the increase in testicle pain and erectile/low libido issues, I couldn’t separate these two variables due to the timing, but after reading about 5ARI withdrawal I found it more likely that the saw palmetto withdrawal was causing them, rather than anything vaccine related. There have been claims of the vaccines causing these symptoms in some people, and I know they’ve been “debunked”, but I don’t find that too reassuring if there’s even a small possibility that’s there’s truth to those claims.

I’m just being super cautious and hesitant to do anything that would cause my adverse effects to worsen. Have you come across experiences within the community here of people’s symptoms were worsened after a pfizer shot?

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I would not say those claims have been debunked. It sounds like when people say PFS has been debunked. It’s insulting to those suffering, I know you didn’t really mean it that way, but it has to be addressed. Big Pharma should be held responsible for all the harm it causes.

That being said, the best thing to do is give it time and not do anything drastic. I believe there is a forum section for those who took the vaccines and their respective experiences. Since both happened so close together, like you said, it’s tough to distinguish between the two. Best to not add any additional variables. Hang in there, things can change on a dime. Just remain positive that you will get better.

@Fighter1 I put the word debunked in quotations for that reason. I didn’t intend to question people’s experiences, and I hope it didn’t come across that way. I don’t think I would be reaching out about it if I fully believed it was “debunked”.

Do you have the link to the forum you mentioned? Thanks

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Hi @Runno

Please check out this thread here: PropeciaHelp's only Coronavirus Vaccine topic. Read before posting

Understood and that’s why I said “I know you didn’t mean it that way”. Glad we are on the same page, nothing meant here either. Just strikes a nerve with me as a friend of mine was hit pretty hard herself. Thanks @Sugarhouse for posting the forum link.

Hi @Sugarhouse, thought I’d check in again. With some ups and downs, things have unfortunately still been more or less the same over the last couple months. Still pretty constant testicular pain/aching and ED, and I also have an onset of some muscle aching, but only in the lower half of my body.

One thing I have continued to take is Minoxidil (Rogaine), since I read it’s not supposed to block DHT but just stimulate blood flow to hair follicles, but now I’m contemplating if I should stop that too. I’ve read some other member stories that blame Minoxidil for symptoms as well. What has your experience been, or what have you heard in regards to Rogaine? If I were to stop, would you recommend weening off or an abrupt full stop?

I also continued taking Minoxidil when my problems started to appear from Finasteride. I know it sucks that you’re losing your hair, but I think one good thing about the scary symptoms from taking Fin or Saw Palmetto is that it forces you to realize that health is more important than cosmetics.

If I were you, I’d get off of the stuff as soon as possible. Weaning off might be a better approach but it may not matter. If you recover naturally (which is most likely the case) and decide to worry about your hair again, I’d suggest looking into laser therapy, transplants, and stem cell treatments as alternatives to the big three (Fin/SP, Minoxidil, Ketoconazole shampoo).

I’m sorry to hear you haven’t improved much the last few months.

I would absolutely discontinue Minoxidil. Although it may not have a direct effect on DHT, there are many reports from patients who’ve experienced the same symptoms in the same way as PFS from only Minoxidil. It appears to have an anti-androgenic effect.

Anecdotally, weaning off these substances appears to have no effect on whether one develops PFS.

I hope that helps.

Thanks for your responses @Bruce @Sugarhouse. Yeah my level of concern in regards to my hair situation pales in comparison to my health and recovery. Your responses, along with other things I’ve read, just further confirm my decision to stop the Minoxidil as soon as possible.

I just need to decide if I’m going to do the hard stop, or wean off. One guy on another thread made it sound like stopping cold turkey was the worst thing to do, and to instead wean off slowly over a span of weeks. I’d honestly just rather not touch the stuff ever again, but am worried of making any change that may cause withdrawal and could potentially make me worse, similarly to how my symptoms got worse after stopping SP.

Would either of you know of someone with a positive recovery from weening off Minoxidil, so I could try to imitate their process?

I’m not super familiar with many Minoxidil stories I’m afraid. Please don’t take my advice as medical advice, but I wouldn’t put too much stock in one user saying weaning off is best vs going cold turkey.

I would recommend searching for some terms like “Minoxidil ween off” or similar and see if you can find any reports.

Good luck.

My concern with weaning off is you are continuing the exposure to something potentially harmful, but of course definitely search to see like Sugarhouse says if there is anything online about this.

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Thanks, yeah most of the stuff I found about weaning/tapering off Minoxidil are about hair loss after stopping instead of about avoiding side effects, which makes sense.

I’ve been taking minoxidil for about 3 years now though, so I feel like taking anything consistently for that long and then abruptly stopping might cause some imbalance.

@Bruce You mentioned you continued taking Minoxidil after your problems appeared. Did you stop cold turkey or wean off, and how did that go?

I stopped cold turkey. It didn’t do anything to me as far as I understand. I’ve used Minoxidil for about 2-3 months.