The myth that masturbation causes hair loss has persisted for so long. Like all myths it is false. So, NO masturbation does not cause hair loss. Proponents of this misconception give two reasons for arriving at this conclusion. Let’s consider the flawed logic behind this fallacy and see how research has refuted them.
- Musturbation causes one to lose protein when they ejaculate which leads to hair loss.
- Masturbation causes hormone imbalance, makes testosterone levels go up that increases the Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) level which causes hair loss.
Are these claims true, and is there a connection between protein loss, DHT, and sexual activity? Let’s find out.
Busting the masturbation myths
Myth 1: Masturbation causes you to lose protein resulting in hair loss
The idea behind this theory is that because semen contains protein, every ejaculation rids your body of nutrients that could lead to hair loss. Semen indeed contains protein, and protein helps the hair grow. Keratin is an essential protein component that supports the hair tissue responsible for hair growth and structure. As such, it is possible that if a person lacks sufficient protein, such a person can suffer from keratin deficiency and experience sudden hair loss. But the amount of semen lost when you ejaculate during masturbation can not deprive you of protein that causes hair growth.
You do not lose that much protein when you masturbate. On average, 3.4 – 5ml of semen is released during ejaculation. And for every 5 ml of semen, there’s an average of 252 mg of protein, as stated in a 2013 review. Saying masturbation causes hair loss is like saying spitting sputum causes hair loss because you lose a few grams of protein when you spit sputum as when you ejaculate.
The conclusion is, there isn’t any significant loss of protein when you masturbate compared to your body’s protein reserves. Protein loss in ejaculation from solo sex or partnership sex doesn’t lead to hair loss.
Myth 2: Masturbation alters certain hormone levels, causes hormone imbalance, and increases the testosterone and DHT level resulting in hair loss
This myth hinges on the principle that masturbation aids the production of DHT. DHT is a hormone that shortens the hair cycle and causes hair to fall out faster.
Masturbation causes changes in hormone levels, but these changes are minimal. DHT is a byproduct of high levels of testosterone. Even though testosterone levels rise when you are masturbating, it returns to normal immediately after ejaculation. There are no long-term effects that cause the DHT level to rise.
On the contrary, masturbation causes the body to release healthy amounts of hormones like dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and prolactin. These hormones impact your mood and overall physical health in a positive way Interestingly, a study from 2001 revealed that adult males who abstained from masturbation for 3 weeks saw a rise in their T levels. This result suggests that T levels might rise if one avoids ejaculation. A stark opposite to what the myth claims.
Likewise, another study that compared men with an active sexual life and men who deliberately avoided having sex showed that there were no significant differences between the two groups in the levels of
- Total testosterone,
- Fee testosterone and
- Luteinizing hormone (LH)
This proves that if testosterone levels do not change significantly, DHT does not rise during masturbation. There are other myths about masturbation that you should pay no heed to like,
- Masturbation causes infertility
- Mental health issues
- Reduced sexual function.
That being said, are there benefits to masturbation? Absolutely!
Benefits of Masturbation
- Helps you understand your body and sexual needs
- Helps release sexual tension
- Solo sex is available to all regardless of age, gender, and status.
- Gives pleasure and relaxation
- Reduces stress and promotes better sleep
- Improves your self-esteem and body image
- For women, it relieves tense muscles and menstrual-induced cramps.
Even so, “too much of anything is bad”. Masturbation can become a problem if it becomes excessive. Here are signs to show you are masturbating too much and need to seek professional help.
- When it is getting in the way of other activities like work, school, or social life.
- If you overly rely on it to make you feel good.
- You do it at the wrong place and at the wrong time (a sign of addiction).
- You think about it all the time.
- You feel physical pain.
- It’s affecting your sex life( intercourse with your partner).
What causes hair loss?
If you are experiencing hair loss, it is for reasons other than masturbating. Some reasons include,
Male Pattern baldness (MPB) or male hair loss is a common cause of thinning and receding hair in men. It happens as hormone levels change over time in men as they grow older. The American Hair Loss Association estimates that MPB is responsible for 95 percent of hair loss in men.
It is further estimated that 85 percent of men by the time they are 50 will suffer from MPB. The degree of baldness for each man depends on their genetic makeup. MBP occurs when the hair follicle shrinks, which causes the hair to shorten until no new hair grows.
Sudden hair loss starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap. Alopecia areata occurs when the immune system fights the hair follicles. Severe stress can cause this to happen. This type of hair loss cannot be cured and may be a sign of an underlying problem. Alopecia areata affects 2 percent of people worldwide.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that causes hair to fall out. It‘s temporary hair loss and hair regrows after treatment has ended. Other medications like birth control pills and certain antidepressants have hair loss as a side effect.
Stress is from childbirth, malnutrition, and serious infection can result in hair loss.
Hair loss treatment
The following treatment options may be used to manage hair loss.
Finasteride and Minoxidil
These two medications are safe to treat male hair loss and are even better together. They work differently to help male hair loss condition.
Minoxidil is described as a vasodilator because it expands the blood muscles to improve blood flow in the hair follicles. More nutrients and oxygen from a stable level of blood flow to the follicle prevent it from shrinking. According to a study, 60% percent of men experienced renewed hair growth and coverage after 48 weeks of using Minoxidil.
On the other hand, Finasteride takes care of the DHT level that damages the hair follicles and causes hair loss. It blocks the production of DHT. In one study of 6,000 men, finasteride stopped hair loss in 90 percent of cases.
When used together, finasteride and minoxidil can comprehensively fight hair loss and correct it. Both medications address the two central issues that cause male pattern baldness. While one works at stopping any harm from coming to the follicles, the other works at making the follicles stay nourished. Studies support this claim.
In one Chinese study, 94 percent of patients who were treated with both medications showed improvement. Only 81 percent showed improvement with Finasteride only treatment and 59 percent with minoxidil only treatment. A similar study in India investigated the possibility of using combination treatment for hair loss. The researchers included finasteride within a Minoxidil spray. The result showed that 85 percent of men who used the solution found that their scalp coverage improved.
Hair Loss shampoo
Some hair shampoos are designed to prevent hair loss. Some others Infused with Biotin, Argan Oil, Keratin, Caffeine to reduce hair damage and boost hair growth. While some of them may contain DHT blocking compounds and help to treat thinning or receding hair.
Ketoconazole is a prescription shampoo that falls under the second category. It can be used once a week to help block DHT, but it is not as effective as finasteride and minoxidil in treating hair loss.
Hair transplant surgery
It is a cosmetic procedure that involves taking hair from other parts of the body (head, face or armpit) and implanting them into the areas of your scalp that have thinned out or gotten bald. It is effective for restoring hair growth but pricey.
Signs that you are going bald
Excessive falling of hair while combing
It is normal to shed a few hair strands when combing, but it becomes a cause for concern if the shedding becomes too much. You may need to see a dermatologist to know what has gone wrong.
Receding hairline or thinning hair
This occurs when hair stops growing at the temples or above the forehead. The hairline becomes uneven with a noticeable M shape. A thinning hair loses volume and thickness and results in bald patches.
If you worry about hair loss to the extent that it negatively impacts your self-esteem, overall body image, and self-confidence, you should see a doctor.
In addition to the above treatments discussed, your doctor may also recommend that you consume food rich in protein and vitamin E to support your hair health. Biotin and keratin-rich foods can fortify your hair follicles. About 30mcg of biotin per day is the recommended adult dosage. Typically, your doctor will make recommendations only after they have examined you.
Article made possible by Amaka. Amaka is a content strategist at ofzoey.com. She has been working in social media and content marketing for five years. She specializes in the health, tech, innovation, and travel sectors. When she is not writing, you will find her teaching math, and trying new recipes and writing audiobook reviews.