Does masturbation cause hair loss?

When it comes to men's health, misinformation is rife.

Written by
Joe Cutcliffe
Medically reviewed by
Russell Knudsen
Last updated
June 6, 2022
9
min read
21
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There are many myths surrounding masturbation, one of the strangest being the idea that masturbation causes hair loss. But is there any truth to this theory? We’ve heard masturbation can send you blind. We’ve heard it can bring on erectile dysfunction.

But of all the myths and misconceptions we’ve come across since we started to lift the veil on all things men's health, the idea that masturbation causes hair loss is one of the strangest.

If it sounds silly, that’s because it is. Masturbation does not cause hair loss in men and there is literally no link between hair fall and masturbation.

Which makes us wonder: why are there so many myths surrounding self-pleasure, and where did these ludicrous theories even come from? Below, we unpack the most common masturbation myths doing the rounds online.

Does masturbation cause hair loss?

Answer: No. Masturbation does not cause hair loss.

Masturbation is a normal part of self-pleasure and hair loss is a common experience for men of all ages, but the two are in no way related.

Most cases of hair loss can be linked to heredity, that is, the genetic history of your parents. Hair loss experienced by men most typically shows up in the form of male-pattern baldness that you might’ve already seen on your dad. How often you masturbate really has nothing to do with your receding hairline. So where did the theory come from?

It was once hypothesised that, because masturbation usually leads to ejaculation, and semen is made of protein, that you "waste" protein that could otherwise assist in the production of healthy hair follicles every time you masturbate.

So, if it’s entirely false, where has this idea come from? There are a couple of possible rationales behind one of the biggest masturbation myths.

The first is around protein. Human semen is incredibly high in protein: Around 5.04g per 100ml of semen. Protein also happens to be a crucial building block for hair growth, because hair follicles are mostly made up of the stuff and a lack of it can lead to hair fall.

The theory goes that when you ejaculate, you’re losing protein — and potentially triggering hair loss as a result. In actual fact, your body loses so little semen during ejaculation (about 3.3 to 3.7ml) that it doesn’t really have any impact on protein levels in your body.

The second claim is to do with hormones, specifically, that masturbation increases testosterone levels in the body. As a result, this can raise levels of dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which is a sex hormone linked to male pattern hair loss.

It’s true that masturbation can have a very minor effect on testosterone levels, but the increase is temporary and levels go back to normal after you ejaculate. The impact is not strong or long enough to lead to hair fall.

On top of that, a 2001 German study actually contradicts the testosterone theory. Interestingly, the study found that abstaining from masturbation for three weeks caused an increase in testosterone levels.

Does masturbation cause blindness?

Answer: No. Masturbation does not cause blindness and scientific studies have disproved this over and over.

Blindness can be caused by a number of conditions including glaucoma, cataracts, optic neuritis, or in the case of severe injury.

Masturbation? Not one of the reasons someone would turn blind or experience vision impairment.

Does masturbation reduce sperm count?

Answer: No. Masturbating, even daily, has little to no effect on male sperm count.

While there is some scientific evidence to show that optimum semen quality could be reached after 2-3 days of no ejaculation, a 2015 study shows that masturbating daily has no bearing on sperm quality.

Is masturbation good or bad for you?

The mistruths above would indicate masturbation is somehow a bad thing, when this couldn’t be further from the truth. Masturbation is a healthy part of one’s sexuality, and in fact, 80 percent of us admit to getting ourselves off on a regular basis. Rather than being a cause of hair loss and hair fall, masturbation provides a number of benefits to your mind and body and your sexual health.

Masturbation helps reduce stress

Scientific evidence shows that masturbation can be great for de-stressing. This is because a masturbation-induced orgasm helps release the feel-good hormones known as endorphins, which work to relieve stress. (Bonus: endorphins can also assist in alleviating pain.)

As well, sexual activity — including masturbation — produces oxytocin, another hormone that can stifle stress hormones like cortisol, as well as prolactin, which modulates stress.

It can assist with sleep

When you go to sleep at night, your body does a lot of hard work to ready you for sleep. It produces a hormone known as melatonin, which helps you sleep, plus other hormones like serotonin (another mood-booster ), vasopressin (which helps regulate your circadian rhythms), oxytocin and prolactin.

We know that orgasming releases oxytocin and prolactin, but it unleashes serotonin and vasopressin, too.

In essence, when you masturbate, you’re effectively boosting the production of these hormones to help your body get in the mood for sleep. You may just find that a little self-pleasure before you hit the sack could mean a better night’s rest.

It can be a lot of fun — both solo and with a partner

There’s no denying that masturbation can be a lot of fun, whether you’re doing it on your own or with a partner. And that in itself is a huge plus.

It’s also a form of sexual pleasure that’s available to everyone, regardless of gender, relationship or sexual status.

But the added benefit of having fun with masturbation is that it can improve your sexual experiences and contribute to healthy sexual development.

It allows you to explore your preferences, work out what you do and don’t like doing in the bedroom, and where and how you want to be touched. Once you’ve figured these things out, you can then communicate them to a partner to help them make you feel good.

It can boost your confidence

By understanding and communicating what you like when it comes to masturbation and sex, self-pleasure can in turn improve your self-esteem, confidence inside (and even outside) the bedroom, and your overall sexual health.

It can benefit your general health

A 2003 study from Harvard that showed masturbating 21 times a month could reduce your risk of prostate cancer, and a separate Australian study found seven times a week to be the sweet spot for your health.

That said, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Men who find themselves addicted to masturbation can see their lives impacted by their own compulsive sexual urges.

Frequent masturbation doesn’t mean you have a problem, but if you find your masturbation habits are impacting your relationships or day-to-day life (for example, leaving a social situation or work early to masturbate), then you may wish to speak to a therapist.

Hair loss solutions

Experiencing hair loss and wondering how you can slow it down or completely stop it in its tracks? You might want to try one of these treatments.

Lifestyle tweaks

If lifestyle factors are behind your hair loss, there are several changes you can make to prevent further damage.

Assess your diet to ensure you’re getting enough of the right nutrients and essential vitamins to stall hair loss (iron, protein, zinc and those others we mentioned earlier), along with plenty of antioxidants.

Reduce stress as much as possible and, if you’re a smoker, see if you can quit the habit. If you’re prone to wearing tight hairstyles, try having your hair loose more often.

Hair loss shampoo and conditioner

Conventional shampoos, especially those containing harsh chemicals, probably won’t do your head many favours. Instead, dedicated hair loss products, like Pilot's Hair Growth Shampoo and Conditioner, can do wonders for your hair and scalp.

This duo is formulated to lay the groundwork for thicker, healthier and happier follicles and is filled with a bunch of ingredients that help prevent hair loss.

Low-level light therapy

Low-level light (or laser) therapy can help encourage hair growth. It does this by using gentle lasers to stimulate the follicles, thus minimising hair thinning and reducing inflammation that can lead to hair fall.

It’s a safe and pain-free option, but it needs to be performed across several sessions that can last months or even years. It also happens to be quite exxy.

Medical hair loss treatments

Male pattern hair loss almost always comes down to our genetics, though thinning hair could also be related to stress, side effects from medication, medical conditions that trigger hormone changes, or your hairstyle (bleaching and cornrows can be damaging to the scalp).

Hair loss is super common in Australia, with 20 per cent of men noticing hair thinning by the time they're 20, 30 per cent by their 30s, and so on and so forth.

The good news is, hair loss is treatable. Modern pharmaceuticals, like those in Pilot's hair loss plans, are easily available, affordable, and effective in helping men keep and regrow their hair.

Pilot offers personalised hair loss treatment plans that are formulated by our Australian doctors based on your needs. Simply fill out the text-based online assessment and a Pilot doctor will create a targeted hair loss treatment just for you.

This can include oral medication, topical treatment, or a combination of the two. In fact, when combined, they may be more effective.

A treatment plan that mixes both boasts an 83 per cent success rate in helping men keep their hair, and a 66 per cent success rate in allowing them to regrow it. Best results are achieved with early intervention so be sure to seek help sooner rather than later.

Hair transplant

A hair transplant is a type of surgery where healthy hairs are taken from the back or sides of your head and moved to parts of your scalp that are losing (or have completely lost) hair.

It’s a pretty intensive option, but it is very effective in helping men regain a thicker head of hair or fuller hairline.

Like low-level light therapy, hair transplants are costly, usually priced at thousands of dollars and sometimes up to AU$30,000.

Style it out

If you’re keen to embrace your new look, you could try a new hairstyle that compliments your hairline or thinning hair. Many men opt for a buzz cut or total shave, as both of these can make any bald spots or thin patches much less obvious. Alternatively, you could grow out the top part of your hair and slick it to the side or back to cover any bald spots.

A thick beard or moustache can also balance out a receding hairline or thinning hair by providing a bit of a distraction. While it can be hard to know why you're experiencing hair loss, you can rest assured that masturbation does not cause hair loss. Masturbation is a healthy activity that you should feel free to engage with without fear of affecting your hair.

Reaching out for hair loss-related help can be difficult, but Pilot makes it easy by being completely online. All consultations with Pilot doctors are text-based and medication is delivered discreetly.

If you're not sure what's going on with your hair, complete the online assessment and a Pilot doctor will be able to shed some light on the situation.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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