What Are The Minoxidil Side Effects, Sexually?

man not suffering from minoxidil side effects
Written by
Our Editorial Team
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.

For a man, one of the toughest things to accept about growing older is hair loss. For a lot of men, their hair isn’t just something they style in a morning, it’s a part of their identity. Losing their hair is like losing a part of themselves.

The promising news for men experiencing hair loss is the fact that there are plenty of natural hair loss treatments and remedies out there. As well as radical options such as surgery, there are also medicinal treatments such as Minoxidil, also known under the brand name ‘Rogaine’ that have shown great promise when it comes to reversing and treating male pattern baldness.

While Minoxidil has been found to show great promise when it comes to hair loss, there has been some cause for concern regarding potential side effects, particularly from a sexual standpoint. Minoxidil side effects sexually, have been discussed a lot recently, so there is certainly cause for concern.

If you’re thinking of using Minoxidil but are concerned about the side effects, sexual or otherwise, here’s a breakdown of the sexual side effects of Minoxidil.

What Are Minoxidil Side Effects?

As effective as Minoxidil is for treating and preventing hair loss and hair thinning, there is cause for concern regarding some of the side effects. Now, there are concerns regarding sexual side effects in men, but we’ll be looking at those in more detail a little later on.

For now, however, we need to address some of the more general side effects some users of Minoxidil need to be aware of.

  • Itching and/or burning scalp
  • Inflamed scalp
  • Unwanted facial hair
  • Dizziness
  • Risk of allergic reaction
  • Swollen extremities
  • Weight gain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Rash
  • Chest pain

What Are Minoxidil Sexual Side Effects?

man suffering from minoxidil side effects sexually

Now we’re going to address the elephant in the room and discuss the potential sexual side effects of minoxidil amongst male users.

For a man, experiencing hair loss can feel humiliating enough, but to suffer with sexual health issues such as impotence or erectile dysfunction, can really be a frightening prospect.

Here we’re going to look at some potential Minoxidil side effects sexually, and see whether there is any real cause for concern.

Back in 2016 however, a study submitted to the FDA found that Minoxidil did appear to cause sexual side effects in its users. Potential sexual side effects included the following:

  • Low libido
  • Loss of libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Reduced seminal volume
  • Ejaculatory disorder

Users claim that Minoxidil has caused sexual health problems such as erectile dysfunction and sexual dysfunction.

The problem also appears in another male pattern baldness treatment known as Finasteride.

Finasteride, sold under the brand-name Propecia, was found to cause long-term sexual side effects in male users. Finasteride apparently caused sexual health problems in men including erectile dysfunction, a low libido, and sexual dysfunction. Finasteride was found to cause long-term sexual health issues which lasted for as long as 40 months.

It should be noted however, that whereas Finasteride was indeed found to cause numerous sexual side effects, Minoxidil side effects sexually, were not conclusive. Experts advised caution surrounding its use and stated that sexual health issues could present themselves.

How Common Are Minoxidil Side Effects Sexually?

No man wants to experience side effects when using a medication, especially if they will impact his sex life. Therefore, users of Rogaine (Minoxidil) will no doubt be concerned about the safety of the product, and the likelihood of it affect them sexually.

Now, as previously stated, in one study conducted in 2016 and submitted to the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System, 8 out of 92 men experienced sexual health disorders or side effects in some form or another.

If we go by the findings of this one study, which did prove inconclusive, we can surmise that 8.7% of Minoxidil users could potentially suffer with sexual side effects.

The Best Alternatives to Minoxidil to Avoid Side Effects Sexually

Needless to say, if you are experiencing hair loss, or hair thinning, and are thinking of using Minoxidil, you may be concerned about the possibility of sexual health problems.

If you wish to go a more natural route, here are several natural alternatives to Minoxidil.

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Microneedling

It may sound a little extreme and barbaric, but microneedling is actually a very safe and effective alternative to Rogaine, without any Minoxidil side effects sexually.

Microneedling involves the use of small needles which are gently rolled over the scalp to puncture the skin. While commonly used to treat acne scarring, studies have also found that it may stimulate follicle hair growth.

The idea is that, by piercing the skin, the scalp will produce growth factors that enable it to repair itself from within, allowing new and healthy hair follicles to form.

Natural DHT Blockers

DHT, or Dihydrotestosterone is an androgen that can cause hair loss. It can cause hair follicles to shrink, as well as shorten the hair follicle growth cycle. The more DHT we produce, the more susceptible to hair loss and hair thinning we will be.

Natural DHT blockers applied directly to the scalp, rather than consumed orally like Finasteride, are deemed much safer. As Minoxidil may also cause sexual side effects, if you are looking to avoid Minoxidil side effects sexually, a natural DHT blocker could be the solution.

Topical DHT blockers such as saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil are applied directly onto the scalp to target DHT at the follicles. This means that it wouldn’t affect other bodily functions and processes.

What is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil is a treatment for male pattern baldness that is most commonly sold under the brand name ‘Rogaine’.

This over-the-counter medication is what is known as an antihypertensive vasodilator, which means that it helps to dilate the blood vessels and boost circulation. Because of this, it is sometimes used to treat high blood pressure as well.

How Does Minoxidil Work?

Minoxidil is commonly sold as a foam and is designed to be applied to the scalp to stimulate hair follicle growth in men, and some women too, who suffer from a specific type of hair loss. Under the name Rogaine, it also comes in tablet form and is designed to be taken orally.

This topical treatment is designed to stimulate the growth of new hair follicles, while also slowing down hair loss in the process.

While it isn’t fully understood how Minoxidil helps treat hair loss, it is thought that it helps boost hair growth by helping to convert thin and fine hairs into thicker and fully hairs. Its primary function is to enhance the growth phase of hair reproduction.

How Effective Is Minoxidil?

Minoxidil is commonly sold under the brand name Rogaine, which is one of the most popular hair loss treatments in the US.

While experts aren’t sure exactly how Minoxidil helps to stimulate new hair growth and promote thicker, fuller hairs, it has been found to be fairly effective.

Sold in a 2% strength and a 5% strength, Minoxidil works for roughly 2 out of every 3 men.

How to Use Minoxidil?

If you’re using Minoxidil for hair loss, the first thing you need to do is read the instructions and label very carefully.

If you are using any prescription drugs or medications, then speak to your doctor first.

If using Minoxidil in solution form, make sure you clean dry your scalp thoroughly before you apply the foam. The solution can, however, be applied to damp hair.

Simply fill up the applicator to the 1 ml line, or alternatively use 20 drops. Now, part your hair where it is thinning and evenly and gently apply the solution to all parts of the head where you would like to see new growth. Be sure to rub it into the scalp.

If you are using it in foam form, be sure to wash and dry your hands thoroughly before you handle the product.

Take around half a capful of the foam and then carefully but thoroughly, rub the foam into the scalp and gently massage it into the areas of the head that have given you the most cause for concern. Before you style your hair, wear a hat, or go to bed, be sure to allow the foam to fully dry and be absorbed into the scalp.

Final Thoughts

While there is no solid proof that Minoxidil causes sexual health problems, the evidence does suggest that it may pose a risk.

We aren’t disputing the effectiveness of Minoxidil for hair loss, but the cons do appear to outweigh the pros. If you are concerned but wish to address hair loss in the process, we recommend going the natural route instead.

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