Minoxidil is a medication that is used to prevent hair loss due to hereditary reasons and to trigger new hair growth. It treats the symptoms of male pattern baldness (MPB). Women experiencing hair thinning problems can also make use of this medication. This medicine comes in the form of topical cream and foam, which should be applied directly to the affected area of the scalp. Minoxidil are generic drugs that are sold under the brand name Rogaine.
The topical application of the medicine opens the potassium channel by triggering vasodilation, thereby increasing the flow of blood in the scalp. The expansion of the blood vessels allows more blood to flow to the scalp. An increase in blood flow helps nourish the hair follicles with adequate nutrition, which stimulates new hair growth. Below are the steps you need to follow while applying the topical cream:
- Wash your hands before you apply the medicine to your scalp.
- Make sure your scalp is clean, so, you must shampoo your hair and let your scalp get completely dry.
- Apply the medicine directly on your scalp and leave it for the duration that is recommended by your doctor. Do not overuse the medicine.
- Make sure the medicine gets into your eyes, nose, or mouth. Even if the medicine gets there anyhow, rinse it off with some water.
- In case you have cuts, bruises, or sunburn on your scalp, do not use the medicine. You should discuss this with your doctor.
Before using the product, one must go through the prescription label and information leaflet on the package for directions. It is necessary to follow the instructions carefully as listed on the information leaflet and the doctor’s guidance. These medications are not recommended for those who are 18 years old or younger.
Minoxidil side effects
The medicine gets absorbed in the skin after its application and causes some side effects. Common side effects of Minoxidil are as follows:
- Itching or burning sensation in the scalp
- Redness and stinging on the scalp
- Rash and irritation
- Fluid retention
- Excessive hair growth (hypertrichosis)
Apart from these, some rare side effects of the medicine are given below:
- Chest pain
- Unusual weight gain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Swelling in hands and feet
- Breathing difficulties
- Unwanted hair growth on areas other than the scalp
Moreover, some people might also develop some allergic reactions after the application of the medicine. These include:
- Rash/itching/swelling on the face, tongue, throat
- Breathing difficulties
- Severe dizziness
The common side effects go away in a few days on their own. But in case you develop the symptoms of rare side effects or an allergic reaction, then it is necessary to immediately consult your doctor.
Minoxidil and erectile dysfunction
According to a study conducted the Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) in the year 2016, the use of Minoxidil medicine in some men lead to sexual side effects like decreased sex drive or libido loss, erectile dysfunction (ED), ejaculation disorder, and reduction in the seminal fluid volume. However, the scientific evidence is still limited in this regard. More research needs to done to confirm the sexual side effects of Minoxidil.