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Does Masturbation Cause Hair Loss?
Dr Mir Malkani
Medically reviewed by
Dr Mir Malkani
Updated on April 18, 2024

Masturbation has been blamed for lots of ailments throughout history, including blindness, fertility problems, and hair loss. 18th and 19th-century doctors wrote books and pamphlets warning against the range of illnesses and conditions that could be brought about by moderate and excessive masturbation [1-2].

In the 21st century, however, these myths have been debunked. There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that masturbation causes hair loss.

That said, no modern scientific studies have been carried out to examine the relationship between masturbation and hair loss. And both are common — in a survey of 2,000+ adults, 80% of people said they masturbate [3]. So how can we be sure?

In this article, you’ll learn where the suggested link between masturbation and hair fall comes from, and why it’s a myth that masturbation causes hair loss.

Table of Contents

Why do people say masturbation causes hair loss?

There are two main theories behind the suggestion that male masturbation causes hair loss:

  1. Semen contains high levels of protein and therefore masturbation lowers protein levels. The rational behind this myth is that when a man ejaculates, he removes protein the body needs to fulfil other functions, including hair growth.
  2. Masturbating increases testosterone levels. More testosterone leads to higher DHT levels, which increases the risk of premature male pattern baldness.

While there is some fact within these theories, it’s not possible that masturbation actually causes hair loss. Here’s why.

Myth #1: Masturbation leads to protein loss which prevents hair growth

It’s true that lack of protein can result in hair loss [4]. It’s also true that semen contains some protein. But the protein lost through masturbation isn’t enough to cause hair loss in itself.

Let’s do the maths. Semen protein content ranges from 20 to 60mg per millilitre [5]. Every time a man ejaculates, he releases approximately 5ml of semen. Assuming he has the maximum protein content of 60mg per ml, he loses 300mg of protein each time he masturbates.

By comparison, men should eat 55g of protein per day on average [6]. This is more than 180 times the amount of protein expelled when you ejaculate. So assuming you’re eating a reasonably balanced diet, you’ll easily replenish any protein lost through masturbation.

Learn more about the link between protein and hair loss:

Myth #2: masturbation increases testosterone levels, leading to hair loss

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the male sex hormone responsible for male pattern baldness. Testosterone metabolises to produce DHT, which then binds to androgen receptors in genetically predisposed hair follicles. The hair follicles shrink, causing irreversible hair loss.

It’s also true that testosterone levels are temporarily raised after ejaculation [7]. But this doesn’t last long enough to have a knock-on effect. Testosterone levels will return to normal long before they have a chance to convert to DHT.

In addition, a small study also found that abstaining from masturbation may actually raise your testosterone levels [8]. If higher testosterone levels are linked with not masturbating, it’s unlikely that masturbation leads to greater DHT production in the body.

Learn more about DHT and hair loss:

Other masturbation health myths

Many other myths about masturbation and health problems also persist. However, there’s no evidence that masturbating will cause or contribute to:

  • Blindness or vision problems
  • Impotence or infertility
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Lower libido or sex drive
  • Excessive body hair growth

If you’re experiencing any of these health problems, it may be a sign of another underlying medical condition. So it’s important to seek advice from your GP.

Where do these hair loss myths originate?

Hair loss myths around masturbation date back to the 1700s and 1800s. Swiss physician Samuel-Auguste Tissot was particularly well-known for associating masturbation with conditions including blindness and hair loss.

In fact, he wrote a treatise called Onanism; Dissertation on Diseases Produced by Masturbation.

In 1830, Le Livre Sans Titre was published to warn against masturbation [2]. This book featured a series of graphic illustrations showing the effects of masturbating, including this one, which translates to:

his beautiful hair falls out as in old age;

his head is stripped before its time.

Page taken from a historic French medical journal suggesting hair loss is related to masturbation

This is essentially a description and depiction of what we now know as male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia.

Modern science has proven that this is a hereditary hair loss condition driven by hormone levels and androgen receptors in the hair follicles and not by masturbation or anything related to your sex life.

Does masturbation cause hair loss in women?

So many myths revolve around male masturbation and hair falling out. However, the same is true for women and there’s zero evidence to suggest that masturbation causes female hair loss in women.

What causes hair loss?

No matter how much you masturbate, it won’t make you lose hair. So if you’re seeing excessive hair loss, there’s another cause behind it. Some of the most common hair loss causes include:

What should I do if I am worried about hair loss?

There are several treatments out there designed to treat hair loss and thinning hair. These range from over-the-counter treatments to surgical interventions.

If you’re not sure what’s causing your hair loss, it’s important to speak to a trichologist. They can examine your hair and scalp, assess your lifestyle, and even perform hair loss blood tests to get to the bottom of your hair problems.

Taking into consideration the cause and extent of your hair loss, specialists may recommend some of the following treatments:

Hair loss treatments

Some medications a hair loss specialist might recommend to prevent further loss of hair include:

  • Minoxidil– A popular topical hair loss treatment designed to promote hair growth by encouraging the flow of blood and nutrients to the hair follicles. Is also available as oral medication. Topical solutions come in varying concentrations and strengths.
  • Finasteride– This hair loss medication is used to treat male pattern hair loss and comes in both topical and oral forms. Finasteride is not recommended for women.
  • Dutasteride– A powerful DHT-hormone-blocking drug used to treat progressive and advanced male pattern hair loss.

Alternative hair loss therapies

Hair transplantation

Hair transplants offer a permanent solution to hair loss. Individuals who would like to opt for surgical hair restoration can choose between either a Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) or Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant.

The Wimpole Clinic has been awarded the ‘Hair Transplant Clinic of the Year’ award for the past three years running. We are proud to offer the very best in patient care and hair restoration services. Take a look at our gallery to see the type of high-quality hair restoration services we provide.

Book a consultation with the trichology team at the Wimpole Clinic on Harley Street to learn more about how we can help you on your journey to hair restoration.

Does Masturbation Cause Hair Loss?, Wimpole Clinic

Dr Mir Malkani
Medically reviewed by Dr Mir MalkaniUpdated on April 18, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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