Gabriel, France, PFS

Story by Gabriel

Syndrome since 2014


My story with Finasteride and PFS.

I was quite young when I started losing my hair. I was 19 when I started noticing my hairline was
receiding. I talked to my mother about this problem, and she told me to try some supplements,
but I was not satisfied with them. I went to a dermatologist in 2014, I was 20. She was working on
a public clinic specialised in hair loss, so I was very confident about having a solution for my
« problem ».
She looked at my hair, and diagnotised an androgenetic alopecia. Then, she presents me two
treatments supposed to help me with this : minoxidil and finasteride. She explained Minoxidil
should be used twice a day, on the skin, while finasteride had to be taken orally. She mentionned
some possible side effects of the pill : a reduced libido. But she was very confident, when she
assured me that those side effects can’t last more than two weeks, after the withdrawal from the
treatment. So she asked me which treatment I wanted to take. I said : « I guess the pill is more
convenient ». She replied : « I think so ».
Unfortunately, nothing happened as she thought it would be. I started noticing side effects several
months after the first pill. But people were reassuring me it could not be the treatment, so I’ve
waited months to defenitely stop with Finasteride. To that day, I still experience the same side
effects. My libido is very low, and I’m enable to have a sexual intercourse. More, I’m dealing with
anxiety and depression.
My social life was totally changed, and I can’t describe how lonely I felt these times. How could I go
on with my life when talking to a stranger was turning me anxious ? Suddenly, all my aspirations
were gone… How could I be loved by someone, if my sexuality was non-existent ? I’ve been
through rough times, and sometimes it happened to me to really be convinced that my life was
over, and it was time to put an end to it.
Medical system did not help me in this dark journey. I have appointements with a lot of urologists
and endocrinologists, but all of them were not aware of what PFS was, and did not trust me when I
talked about my story and symptoms. Some doctors thought I was just a lost suicidal boy, that all
was in my head. One doctor even asked me if it was that important to be able to achieve an
erection since I’m gay. I remember lefting the appointement with tears in my eyes. I was a helpless
case, nobody trusted me. How lonely I felt, when I was abandonned by the medical system who
provided me the pill that destroyed my life.
Today, I am seing a psychologist to deal with my suicidal thoughts, my depression and anxiety.
Sometimes it is really hard to cope. It is like we’re all on a show, but I’m the spectator of it. Can’t
participate, because I can’t live a normal life and share the same experiences that make a life
worth-living. So, I hang out with my friends, I study, I try to find some interests in different things.
But it feels I’m still and will ever be watching the world behind a cold window that separates me
from the others.
I write down my story because I want it to be known, it is a duty not risking to destroy others’ life.
Sufferers are all looking for peace, and so do I. But, it is impossible to find peace without justice.
The medical system has to take responsability in welcoming PFS victims, and forbid the hair-loss
drug off the market.
I really want to believe that our condition can be cured, and I wish this writing will be read and
participate to awareness about the danger of this medication. If I convince one person, my letter
would not be written in vain.