Gynecomastia from Saw Palmetto?

Hi Doctor,

Thanks in advance for reading.

I have a pretty important question that I would love to receive feedback on. I’ve been on rogaine for about 5 to 7 years and I do believe it has helped maintain my hair; but unfortunately, it has not been up to the task of keeping it 100% stable. Due to my thinning, about a year ago, I decided it’s time to consider propecia. I’m in my 30s.

For various reasons (my wife was prego), I decided for about a year on propecia and try natural supplements first and other topicals first. So, I purchased a specific type of shampoo (I’m drawing a blank on the name) and soy isoflavones. I took those for about one or two months and stopped because my sister (who’s had breast cancer) told me excess soy can cause cancer.

At that point, I heard good things about saw palmetto. So, I bought a bottle of saw palmetto. I took this for roughly 3 or 4 months, although I gained some weight and had normal decline in libido (watery semen)… this really did seem to make my hair thicker. I don’t remember the dosage. But, it was purchased at a pharmacy.

At about month 4, I noticed a swelling on one side of my chest. I got it checked out mammogram, and they said it was unilateral gynecomastia. I quickly stopped the saw palmetto usage.

So, it’s now 8 months later and my hair is still thinning. My chest is now improving to the point it’s no longer really noticeable, other sides are reversing too. I’m considering waiting a few more months to see if it returns 100% back to normal completely, and considering propecia again at that point.

Am I crazy for doing so? What would you recommend?


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It seems you are self-treating and experimenting without a clear focus and understanding of what is going on. I realize saw palmetto is available over the counter, but there is still side effect potential that people tend to ignore.

I am really not in a place to recommend a specific treatment plan for you, as I don’t know enough about your hair loss history and I’m not your doctor. I would recommend you see a doctor for your hair loss issues and discuss your concerns. Together, you can come up with a Master Plan.

Although I have no direct experience with saw palmetto, I would not be surprised that breast enlargement could occur on rare occasions. I must point out that one of the rare side effects of Propecia is gynecomastia and if you switched to that, you may also have the same problem.

Tags: gynecomastia, hairloss, hair loss, propecia, finasteride, saw palmetto

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