[Week 9 Update] Still Recovering

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?)

  • Google

What is your current age, height, weight?

  • 23; 5’11 and 172 lb.

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

  • Topical finasteride 0.05% (primary suspicion)
  • Topical minoxidil 6%
  • Nizoral shampoo (1% Ketoconazole)

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

  • Used 1 mL (0.5 mg) on scalp for 4 consecutive days then used 3 additional times every other day.

What condition was being treated with the drug?

  • Androgen alopecia

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

  • 7 days total

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

  • 23; March 5, 2021

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

  • 23; March 14, 2021

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

  • I guess I tapered off to some degree, but I’d say cold turkey since I didn’t reduce dosage over time.

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

  • After one application. I felt sore in my perineum area and had watery semen. Side effects stopped once I reduced it to every other day application.

What side effects did you experience that have yet to resolve since discontinuation?

  • None of my side effects I had initially are present, but after crashing a week later, I had major symptoms.

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
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 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
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)

  • Fluctuating libido and orgasm quality
  • Hard flaccid
  • Soft glans when fully erect but fluctuates
  • Lack of urgent urination

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

  • None yet.

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)?

  • Haven’t taken any blood tests other than for testosterone. I will post that soon once I get the results.

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

  • My doctor has been reassuring of my problems and although he told me he hasn’t seen any of his patients experience these side effects, he has been open minded. My burning sensation was caused by urethritis according to the doctor, which makes sense since it only hurts when I haven’t drank enough water.

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

  • Before I took Propecia, I knew about this forum for a while. I’ve read many of the discussion posts and convinced myself I would be on the lucky spectrum if I used topical finasteride instead of it in pill form. According to research, 0.05% topical formulation only inhibited DHT by less than 15%, so I wanted to give it a try. After a few doses, I felt a little strange and had symptoms that most would describe as common and would go away as I continue on the medication. However, after lowering my dose to every other day, my symptoms did go away, but I felt the need to stop because I was afraid that those minor symptoms may get worse in the future. For a couple of days after stopping, PFS was in the back of my mind constantly. I was so afraid because I knew for a few days I may feel fine but in a week or so I may end up in hell. I was praying and hoping this day would never come, but unfortunately it has. My first major symptom was a burning sensation at the tip of the penis. The day after, I began suffering genital numbness at the base of the penis. I initially thought it may have been due to something else, but it definitely felt off. My libido was still high and I could still obtain erections, morning wood, etc. Coming to the doctor’s three days after experiencing those scary symptoms, he performed 4 tests to test my urine (for an infection), genital sensitivity, prostate, and testosterone (which I requested). To be honest, after he spent more than an hour and half (appointment was supposed to be 30 min.) with me to discuss the issues, he reassured me that the burning sensation should subside if I continue drinking enough water. He wasn’t completely sure about the numbness but he said it may be Propecia or inflammation of my urethra, but it should go away in time (he also told me if it doesn’t appear so in a month, he can send me to a urologist). I came home a lot more relaxed about my predicament and was able to eat a full meal since many days ago. The following day I was planning to visit my GF for her birthday, but I noticed that my numbness has increased (now my lateral area was more numb). I was still able to obtain an erection and actually had morning wood that morning. I was a little concerned but convinced myself it was just all in my head. While at my GF’s place, I still could get hard after kissing her, which made me feel a little more relaxed, but the numbness became more apparent the next day (yesterday from this post date). To be fair, the constant worrying has eaten my mental health for days, so I started to become less emotional and stale. I couldn’t sleep for couple days, further contributing to my mental decline. My numbness has increased further, where my glands that were only a couple days ago still pretty sensitive have become as numb as the skin on your elbow. While driving home, I was an emotional zombie. I was both physically and mentally tired, the only thing I wanted at that time was to sleep once I got home. After coming home, I forced myself to eat dinner because I knew not eating wasn’t going to improve my situation. My mom gave me some saffron herbs to mix with my water and that has helped me feel a bit relaxed. I tried to check if I could still receive an erection, but I couldn’t, which scared me shitless. I was able to ejaculate but my dick was about half its original length and barely erected, if at all. I tried to contribute that to lack of sleep and constant anxiety from the symptoms, but I knew deep down it’s probably PFS. I tried to relax as much as possible and slept a full night. Now, I’m here typing this out, not knowing where my future lies and how bad I have damaged my brain function. I feel emotionless and every emotion I try to induce causes this weird emotional relapse that I can’t seem to explain, it’s like my brain doesn’t want me to feel. I believe may be due to a combination of PFS, depression, and anxiety. I’m utterly afraid but can’t feel afraid. I’m losing hope right now and I don’t know how much longer I can take it.

Testosterone Blood Test (3/22/2021):

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I’m sorry to hear your case.
Topical Finasteride, at concentrations of 0.025% (0.25mg/ml) 1ml/day
has been found to inhibit -20% DHT on serum and 60% on scalp.

Assuming a skin scalp penetration between 8-10% of the applied dose, you have had in your blood 0.05mg/day
enough to inhibit 60% of serum DHT after few doses and reach saturation.

To give you good news, usually, short terms users tend to recover.
Give it time and don’t stress.
You should be on that group.

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@finaduta

Thank you so much for responding. I understand that my saturated levels may have been equivalent over time to a single pill, so I can definitely see that I wasn’t TOO sensitive to the DHT change. I’ve read some discussion posts of short-term users recovering from PFS and I’m putting in some hope.

I think stress-induced anxiety has been causing me to experience further symptoms, or so I would think. I’ll try my best to calm down and think positive, it’s definitely not doing my heart and mind any good.

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you will recover, I’m sure :slightly_smiling_face:

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Give it time mate you will recover. Dont catastrophasize. Think healing, stay away from stess, surround yourself with what makes you happy, do gentle exercise and eat healthy. Give it 3 months.

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UPDATE: 3/26/2021

I was able to get a full erection last night after a lot of physical stimuli. However, after that, it was able to get erect on its own through visual stimuli. I woke up after 3-4 hours of sleep last night with a nocturnal erection. I’m not sure if this is a fluke and may experience another crash later, but I’m becoming a little more hopeful. Thank you so much for helping me get my mind straight!! @finaduta @LazarusRy

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What’s the consensus on genital numbness? Did you find that short-term users recovered from this terrible symptom? I only got it after stopping and I’m afraid this may mean it’s permanent. It’s really the only thing bothering me; I haven’t tried to ejaculate for a few days and I’m not sure if my orgasm feeling has also been affected.

Don’t stress you.
Let the time go, and do observations after 3-6months.
Just relax and try to not overthinking.
Do sport, go to the gym!

UPDATE: 3/28/2021

Woke up this morning with pure lightheadedness – had trouble sleeping last night from constant hypnogogic jerks.

I did say tinnitus was a new symptom, but I found the root cause unrelated to the drug.

UPDATE: 3/31/2021

Finally mustered up the courage to masturbate and finish. Semen volume was heavy, slightly watery but looked normal. The orgasm was OK, it felt like what you’d get after too many sessions. I was able to get complete erection again around 10-15 minutes afterwards. Numbness is about the same, maybe slightly better? I can’t really tell.

It’s way to early to worry about long term symptoms. I know that the symptoms are very unusual and frightening, but the odds are massively on your side.

Find ways to de-stress, do some moderate exercise, and you’ll be fine in a few months.

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It’s hard to not worry when people who have taken dosages around as much as I have and still facing symptoms a decade later :neutral_face:

Yes, it’s definitely scary. But keep in mind that the people you hear from on this forum are the unfortunate few. The majority who recovered within a few months rarely bother to come back to report it, that’s why you won’t find those stories here. You only get the scary sob stories.

Some low values on your tests. Did you get these tests done before fin also? Just want to compare. But you have symptoms of Low T regardless of finastride.

No, I tried to get them before starting but my doctor insisted that I didn’t need to. Does low T also cause genital numbness, like given a shot of local anesthetia? Thanks!

Hi @Underprepared

I noticed you haven’t completed the patient survey yet. When you have some time, could you please complete it using the instructions in this video I created: https://www.loom.com/share/c298a179a0e64cba8ef9e69ae0122ac4

I cannot understate how important this resource has been when liasing with researchers and clinicians, and your participation would be much appreciated.

Best,
Mitch

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Hey guys,

It’s been another week since my last update. From this post date, it’s been 3 weeks since I started noticing the pretty severe sexual symptoms after getting off of Propecia. I think for each update I’ll just post a list of any improvements and statics since crashing 3 weeks ago.

Major Improvements:

  • Erections are full. Libido has increased significantly and my orgasm quality is pretty much at pre-fin levels
  • Spontaneous, morning, and nocturnal erections have returned
  • Nipples have regained sensation up to around 90%
  • Refraction period has improved from several days to 20-30 minutes
  • Anxiety and depression have subsided entirely
  • Sperm quality is almost pre-fin state. Slightly watery.

Minor Improvements:

  • Slight positive change in penile numbness, especially around mid-shaft region

No Changes:

  • Base and glans of penis are 90-95% numb
  • Base of penis is weak; flimsiness when flaccid or slightly erect
  • Burning sensation in urethra that randomly appears on certain days
  • Constantly dehydrated even when drinking around 2-3 quarts of water

As a side note, I’ve also taken my first dose of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (Moderna) on April 7, 2021. Side effects were normal, including lightheadedness, tiredness, fatigue, pain in/around application site, and body aches. These subsided in about a day or two.

Based on your report that your spontaneous/morning erections,erection quality and libido have all returned to pre-fin I would say you are en route to full recovery soon. Most PFS patients never ever recover these. I don’t want to downplay your experience, I know penile numbness takes away a lot of the pleasure but based on this report your situation is extremely good.

Burning sense in urethra sounds familiar and could be a sign of minor prostatitis. I’m pretty convinced everyone here had some kind of prostate inflammation at some point in their trajectory, if not chronic.

Anyway I wanted to ask, what have your dietary choices been and whether you have a particular lifestyle? Any sports or exercise?

Thank you :slight_smile: I know others have MUCH worse symptoms than I have so I’m not complaining or putting myself down harshly for fooling with Propecia. I’m praying that I do recover and that another crash won’t appear down the road.

My dietary choices have been the same – nothing has changed. I usually eat seafood, like salmon, with different vegetables. However, I have been cheating for the past weeks by eating fast food and junk food at home (e.g. Nutella). I was very self-conscious for the first week where I strictly ate as healthy as possible by cutting out processed sweets and anything heavy in fat and carbohydrates, but I think my regular diet overall is healthy so I stopped. I usually eat 80-90% dark chocolate every day since I love chocolate.

I have not been exercising regularly as I have been in the past year. Though, after crashing 3 weeks ago, I did notice I have lost a bit of muscle mass in my arms, which was a bit alarming but I didn’t really consider it as a direct correlation since stress-induced anxiety made me bed-ridden with no sense of appetite for a week (I ate 1/3 of one meal for multiple days). My lifestyle right now is pretty much sedentary since I’m a graduate student. I’m planning to get back into weight lifting since I’ve heard people boost recovery time by incorporating anaerobic exercises.

This is four weeks since my crash and nothing new so far except one moderate improvement:

  • Sensitivity increase along mid-shaft area of penis

I’m noticing that my penis glans remain soft when I’m fully erect. It’s not always the case; it tends to fluctuate.

I’ve also had a huge surge in libido. I would get extremely horny the day after ejaculation and days of abstaining. Last week, I thought it would be good to see if I had watery semen if I fapped two consecutive days in a row. To my surprise, my semen quality and quantity were the same (slightly watery and good amount) and orgasm was pretty strong.

However, I did notice my glans and penile base sensitivities (anesthetic not sexual) decreased almost near post-crash baseline. My sensitivity improved a bit after fapping the first time around two weeks after crash, but I’m not sure if continuing to fap will do me any good. Do you guys recommend fapping/no fapping? If fapping, what’s a good resting period, every 3 days? Thanks!