Folklore may have it that baldness is a sign of a man’s virility, but a new study shows that those who lose their hair while young – at about 30 – may in fact be less fertile.
Sperm volume count was nearly 60 per cent lower in men with moderate to severe hair loss, and the researchers say that hormonal changes associated with hair loss may also adversely affect semen.
So-called androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, is the most common form of hair loss in men and women.
It often progresses to baldness and affects about half of men over 50, but can start in their late teens.
In the new research, being reported in the journal Dermatologica Sinica, fertility specialists and dermatologists looked for links between semen quality and fertility.
Doctors carried out a series of tests on men with an average age of 31 and with normal to mild hair loss and moderate to severe hair loss.
They found that men with moderate to severe hair loss had significantly lower sperm counts than those in the normal to mild group. Volume was also down by about 20 per cent.
The popular idea that bald men are more virile is based on the idea that they have higher levels of testosterone, and that the male hormone that gives them the superior sex drive is also the cause of the loss of hair at a younger age.
However, it is now known that some men with low levels of testosterone also lose their hair early, and that male pattern baldness is caused by a complex combination of genetic and hormonal factors.
Around one in seven couples have difficulty conceiving – the equivalent of 3.5 million people in the UK.
Problems with the man are identified in 40 to 60 per cent of cases.
Source: Daily mail