Hi there....I wanted to share my story with the forum, in hopes of finding others who have gone through a similar situation with this drug, and to hopefully get some advice on how to get my out of the worst medical crisis I've ever gone through.
Back in the Fall of last year (September), I was experiencing all the symptoms of low Testosterone. And when I come to think of it, I had for a long time and just attributed it to getting older (I kept telling myself I'm in my late 20's now, not 18 anymore). I was irritable, experiencing E.D., no muscle growth (after two years in the gym), almost no body hair, fatigue, etc. So I went into my Primary Care Dr. and insisted on getting my levels checked. He dismissed it and said that he felt my levels probably were low, but didn't think I should get them checked. I urged him to however, and in the end he did.
On September 26th 2011, at 4:55 pm, my T levels came back as...
Free Testosterone: 44.8 Range: 35.00-155.00
Total Testosterone: 283 Range: 250-1100
Having checked the ranges for my age and found my levels to be very low, I naturally was disturbed. Yet my Dr. assured me nothing needed to be done, as they were "normal" results. He finally (and reluctantly) prescribed me Androgel. I tried filling the prescription only to be told of it's high cost and non-coverage by my insurance.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and find a more cost effective solution to raising my Testosterone. I used ZMA for one month, and for the next month, I used a product I'd seen on TV called "Ageless Male". By the commercial, it was marketed toward the older crowd, but nowhere did it specify that it was specifically for that age group. I called in to order, and found that I couldn't afford it's $50 price tag. Just as I was about to hang up the man on the phone offered me a one month trial for an incredibly low $15. I was ecstatic and accepted the offer. Looking back, it was one of the worst decisions I ever made.
For the month I was on Ageless Male I felt like a bull. Great sex drive, lots of energy, frequent erections, positive outlook, and just that general "manly" feeling. I had a couple ED problems, but I dismissed it. Life was looking up! When the month was nearing it's end, I called back to try and get another months supply for a similar price, with no luck. My fiancee and I decided that I should try other more cost effective means of raising my T, rather than start paying $50 per month. On the last day I took Ageless Male I had my T levels checked again, and the following results came back...
December 14th, 2011 7:03 AM
Free Testosterone: 58.4 Range: 35.0-155.0
Total Testosterone: 334 Range: 250-1100
Needless to say, I was pretty crushed. I'd worked two months to raise my T, and felt that I was making genuine progress, only to find a marginal increase. I brushed it off as best I could, but little did I know terrible times were ahead.
The first thing I noticed was depression...it was almost instant...within a couple days of stopping Ageless Male. I couldn't figure out why, either. My friends were over for the weekend, and we had a "guys weekend" planned. I had every reason to be happy, but all the sudden I had this sinking depression for no reason. My fiancee instantly noticed it also. Then the next thing I noticed was ED. I was having some "special time" with my lady, and I lost my erection. It was really crushing, but still I tried to forget it. A day or two later I attempted to masturbate, and couldn't seem to get it up.
My symptoms got worse by the day. In addition to depression that only got worse (and I mean BAD depression....the worst of my life...and I had no reason to be depressed at all. I had just proposed to my fiancee, with a bright future ahead) my appetite left. My whole body temperature dropped, and I was freezing (I used to be "hot" all the time...a veritable human heater), I developed extreme muscle twitches all over my body (mostly my legs and arms, though), no appetite (I love food...I used to be a big eater, I now eat about 1/2 the food I ate pre-Ageless Male), constant tiredness and fatigue (all I wanted to do was sleep), but the most disturbing symptom was the 100% inability to get an erection. My fiancee and I tried EVERYTHING, even Viagra. It was as if I had dead meat hanging between my legs. My penis was very cold and lifeless.
This went on for days until I had a complete crash and had to go to the Emergency Room. They gave me no answers, and after hours I was sent home more frustrated than ever. I couldn't get an erection for 10 or 12 straight days, and instantly one night, as if a light had been turned on, I got an erection and was able to have some "special time" with my fiancee. My appetite, energy, and mood all arrived at the same time. Within minutes. It was one of the oddest things I've ever experienced. It happened at night, and to this day, months later, nighttime seems to be when I feel the best. I've no idea why.
January was, largely, a recovery month for me. I started taking ZMA again, and bought 7 different T boosting herbs and began taking one per day. It was a cycling system, and I got the idea from a website. Tribulus, Maca, Tongkat Ali, Catuaba, Passion RX, Rhodiola Rosea, and Horny Goat Weed. The system seemed to work, and since I was still inside a month my hopes were high. I was able to occasionally have sex, but my appetite came and went, and I was FREEZING all the time. My muscle twitches began to slow down, and I thought I was truly beating this thing.
I saw my Dr. again, and he dismissed all my symptoms, gave me some free Viagra samples, and sent me on my way. He said it was "all in my head" and related to the stress of planning a wedding (there is no stress....the wedding is still pretty far out) and told me to start taking the Ageless Male again "if it makes you feel better". He refused to give me a referral to the endocrinologist, stating that it would be a "waste of money". I walked out of the appointment furious, and determined to never see him again.
In February I found a new Dr. very close to where I live. He was very understanding and did lots of labwork. He was everything my last Dr. wasn't. I decided to quit my herbs and ZMA so the Dr. could get some baseline readings. This induced the worst crash since my initial stopping of Ageless Male. All my symptoms returned with full force. This time with several disturbing mental symptoms. I began experiencing "brain fog" and terrible short term memory loss in addition to everything else. My E.D. was still around, also. Sometimes I wouldn't be able to get it up period. Other times only a partial erection.
My self imposed crash yielded some very interesting Post Ageless Male Testosterone readings...
February 6th, 2012 7:59 AM
Free Testosterone: 4.6 pg/mL Reference: 5.0-40.0 pg/mL
Total Testosterone: 210 ng/dL Reference: 332-896 ng/dL
I was shocked at readings even lower than the ones taken in the fall, but it verified how bad I was feeling. It was something I could show my family, friends, and fiancee...proof of why I hadn't been myself lately. Dr. [edited by moderator] wanted to see me back right away, and this time he checked other stuff...LH, FSH, Cortisol, and Estradiol. Also, T again. They came back as follows...
February 10th, 2012 2:20 PM
Free Testosterone: 3.5 pg/mL Reference: 5.0-40.0 pg/mL
Total Testosterone: 139 ng/dL Reference: 332-896 ng/dL
FSH: 1.7 mIU Reference: 1.3-18.2 mIU/ml
LH: 1.2 mIU/ml Reference: 1.4-9.4 mIU/ml
Cortisol: 20.3 ug/dL Reference: 4.3-22.4 ug/dL
Estradiol: 33 pg/mL Reference: 0-56 pg/mL
My doctor was again shocked at my incredibly low T, as was I. He fully recommended I start T injections, but first he asked that I get an MRI to rule out a pituitary tumor. I had one done, and it came back negative. I insisted on talking with some specialist before starting the possible lifelong commitment of TRT, and he said that was fine. He referred me to both an Endo and a Uro. I'm still waiting on the Endo referral to come through, and the Uro app isn't until April 4th.
I started my herbs back, and I noticed a difference right away. I felt like I returned to my January recovery period. But I wanted more, so in addition to the 7 herbs I threw in more Tribulus. As soon as I started that, I felt like my old self for 2-3 days. My libido was GREAT, lots of erections, and a great mental state. I was so encouraged. But as the days went on I could feel the Trib's effect began to wane, and eventually I believe I developed a tolerance for it. Today in fact is my first day without the extra dose, and with just the herbs. I've also discontinued my ZMA, for reasons which I'll detail.
So here I am....tomorrow will mark 2 months and 3 weeks since stopping Ageless Male. Here are the side effects I'm still experiencing...
Loss of morning erections
Hard to break a sweat
More emotional (crying for almost no reason)
TERRIBLE brain fog
Extreme Memory Loss
Fatigue and tiredness
Facial and Head Hair Growing Slower than usual
Cuts/Scrapes healing much slower
Penis curving slightly to the left
Thinner/Longer Flaccid Penis
Over the course of this I began to research just what was in this poison (Ageless Male) that I took. It contains an 800 mg proprietary blend of the following ingredients:
Saw Palmetto Berry Extract
Through my continued research, I found that roughly 600 or 700 of those mg were Saw Palmetto. Apparently Saw Palmetto, especially in it's potent extract form, is a natural 5-AR inhibitor, similar to Propecia. This led me to a site called Propecia Help (www.propeciahelp.com
). It's a support site for people who are suffering long term or permanent side effects of 5-AR inhibitors like Propecia and Saw Palmetto. I read through the forums and was pretty terrified....I saw people who were suffering the same symptoms as I am, many for years. One night I worked up the courage to post my story, only to have the moderator never even put it up.
Until I can get in with a specialist, I continue to try different home remedies such as the "Ball Zinger", Royal Jelly, eating lots of Broccoli (a natural anti-estrogen), having sex when I can, getting lots of sun, vitamin D, working out, protein shakes, and just about everything else I can think of. I've discontinued ZMA, as Zing is a natural AR inhibitor. My latest hope is a medicine called "Clomid" I read about. Apparently it has an off-label use for hypo-gonadal men in low doses. I mentioned it to my new primary care Dr., and he said he would rather me talk to one of the specialists about it. Many endos and uros dismiss the medicine and would rather proceed with T injections, and for that reason (along with the long wait time to get in with each), I ordered some online from out of the country. I plan to replicate this medical study:http://www.drdekel.com/content/clomiphene-citrate-effects-testosteroneestrogen-ratio-male-hypogonadism
I fully realize that taking pills got me into this whole situation to begin with, but I am unwilling to sit around and wait for something that may not even happen.
I'm marrying my beautiful fiancee on July 21st, and I want to feel like a man. I want her to have a groom, and to feel the best I can on the best day of my life. I feel like time is running out, and it's a scary thought to think this all could be permanent.
So I humbly present my situation to the experts here...I realize that people can be reluctant to give actual medical advice, but I plead with anyone who may have an answer to drop me a line. Here are some questions that I have regarding my situation...
Should I give the fight up and get T injections at 26 years old?
What are the chances (percentage wise) of testicular shrinkage, gynecomastia, and sterility happening because of injections?
Can I do anything to prevent these side effects while taking T injections?
Can the drop in my readings from Feb 6th to 10th (210 total T, to 139 total T) be attributed to a morning reading on the 6th, and an afternoon reading on the 10th? Or did my overall levels just drop that much in those few days?
If TRT isn't the way to go right now, how long should I wait before giving up and starting them?
In your opinion, did I cause myself permanent damage by using just 30 days of Ageless Male?
I realize my post was very long, and to anyone who actually finishes it, I thank you.
Any help is appreciated....I'm pretty terrified...