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Men's health

Many men suffer from hair loss or erectile dysfunction (abbreviated ED/potency disorder). You can find information about possible causes and how treatment can look like here.

Hair loss: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Hair loss can occur in otherwise healthy women and men, with men being affected more often than women. The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary hair loss (medical: androgenic alopecia). Patchy hair loss is less common (medical: alopecia areata), an autoimmune disease, and diffuse hair loss which, for example, develops as a result of an unbalanced diet, hormonal changes, or disease. Whether and how strongly men are affected by hereditary hair loss depends on their genes. According to current scientific knowledge, several hundred genes are involved. This explains why the fullness of hair can be different in a grandfather, father, and son within one family.

Symptoms: How to recognise hair loss

Hair loss does not run the same course in every person. In some people only certain parts of the head are affected, and in others the hair on the entire head starts thinning. There are also differences in the intensity of hair loss: For example, some people become completely bald quickly, while hair loss is hardly visible for several years in others.
The pattern of hereditary hair loss is characteristic in men. It starts on the forehead region and upper temples (so-called widows peak), then extends over the top back of the head and grows wider in the forehead region. Then the two areas gradually move closer together until the head is completely bald.

Treatment: How hair loss is treated

Only a few drugs have been proven to work for hereditary hair loss. They include, for example, the drugs minoxidil and finasteride. Minoxidil is available as a solution and is applied to the scalp twice a day. Finasteride requires a prescription and a tablet is taken once a day. It is suitable only for men 18 years of age and above who have minor to moderate hair loss. Women, children, and adolescents must not take finasteride. The first success can be seen between around six to nine months. To contain the hair loss, the tablets must be taken continuously.

Erectile dysfunction: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

Medical doctors speak of erectile dysfunction (abbreviated ED, potency disorder) when the penis cannot become erect or stay erect long enough to have satisfying intercourse. According to the Self-help group erectile dysfunction around 5 million men in Germany are affected. This corresponds to 20 percent of all men between 30 to 80 years of age. There are various reasons for erectile dysfunction, ranging from organic to mental. Some medication can also cause erectile dysfunction.

Symptoms: How to recognise erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can become apparent in different ways, for example:

•    The man is unable to achieve an erection
•    The man can achieve an erection but is unable to maintain it
•    The man cannot enter his partner because the penis becomes flaccid
•    The penis does not turn hard enough

If one or several of the symptoms last for more than six months and occur in more than two thirds of all attempts, erectile dysfunction is most likely present.

Treatment: How erectile dysfunction is treated

Tools and medication are available that can help achieve and maintain a sufficient erection despite erectile dysfunction. The negative pressure of vacuum erection tools or so-called vacuum pumps cause increased blood flow into the corporal tissue of the penis, resulting in an erection. The penis ring can also help maintain the erection. The penis ring can also be used for this purpose when an erection occurred naturally. Another treatment option for erectile dysfunction is treatment with drugs. For example, there are substances that are injected into the corporal tissue right before intercourse or inserted with an applicator as a mini tablet into the urethra. Oral intake of medication that contains, for example the substances sildenafil, tadalafil or vardenafil, are a much more pleasant form of administration. The effect of the latter can last for up to 36 hours. They are considered as needed drugs, hence they are used only when needed 25 to 60 minutes before intercourse. Taking the drugs alone does not, however, automatically lead to an erection. They merely provide the condition for an erection when there is sexual stimulation. Psychotherapy can also play a role. You can find more information in German here.

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