Can Minoxidil Cause Sexual Side Effects?

Maybe you’re seeing more of your forehead when you look in the mirror these days. Or perhaps your kid asked for a ride on your shoulders only to drop a truth bomb while up there: you’re starting to get a bald spot. (Cue frantically taking 100 blurry selfies of the top of your head as soon as you’re alone).

A receding hairline or bald patch could be a sign you’re experiencing male pattern baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia) — which affects up to half of men by age fifty. If you currently use minoxidil for hair loss or are thinking of starting, you may have questions about its effects — and not just on your hairline.

Finasteride and minoxidil (or high-strength minoxidil) are the stars of the show when it comes to hair loss treatments. They’re also the only two drugs for hair loss approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 

Finasteride is known to cause some sexual side effects in rare cases, but does minoxidil have side effects sexually as well? More to the point, does minoxidil cause ED (erectile dysfunction)? 

Read on to learn about the common side effects of minoxidil and whether minoxidil causes erectile dysfunction and other sexual reactions.

Does Minoxidil Cause Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

Minoxidil (generic for brand-name Rogaine®) is FDA-approved as a hair loss and regrowth treatment. While the exact mechanism of how minoxidil works isn’t totally understood, we know a few critical things about the medication.

Think of minoxidil as a pre-work cup of coffee for your hair follicles — it wakes them up and gets them to work by moving the hair into active growth (known as the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle).

So, minoxidil works to help treat hair loss, but at what cost? We know you’re still wondering if minoxidil causes erectile dysfunction — because who wants to choose between great hair and a great sex life?

Good news: While some drugs — like antidepressants, blood pressure medications and medications for prostate cancer therapy — may cause erectile dysfunction, minoxidil isn’t typically considered one of them.

However, a 2016 study reviewed reports submitted to the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS). It found eight reports of sexual side effects out of 92 cases of male minoxidil-exposed patients. These effects included diminished libido, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, ejaculation disorder and decreased seminal volume.

That may sound like a lot. It would be easy to conclude that eight out of 92 minoxidil users experience ED as a side effect, which seems at odds with the fact that seconds ago, we told you minoxidil doesn’t cause ED.

Let’s break down the data.

First, the complaints aren’t from a random sample of minoxidil users — the study looked at only those who had filed anonymous reports. So, missing from the data set is everyone who had no minoxidil side effects, sexually or otherwise. 

It’s also unclear whether the reports were made by people who had taken oral minoxidil or used minoxidil foam or liquid minoxidil solution topically.

The sample is also incredibly small. We know 92 people may sound like a lot, but that’s nowhere near the typical standard for establishing clinical significance. 

Can Minoxidil Cause Any Sexual Side Effects?

If you’ve heard through the grapevine that minoxidil causes sexual dysfunction or other sexual side effects, it’s possible your game of telephone got jumbled and minoxidil was mistaken for another hair loss medication. 

Finasteride (also called Propecia®) is more likely to cause sexual side effects, but it’s still pretty rare. In clinical trials, about 1.3 percent of men who took finasteride experienced erectile dysfunction, compared to 0.7 percent of those who used a placebo.

A 2012 study on finasteride and sexual side effects showed that adverse sexual effects occurred in 2.1 to 3.8 percent of those studied. Erectile dysfunction was the most commonly reported issue, followed by ejaculatory dysfunction and loss of libido.

While it sounds intense, the side effects of finasteride seem to be pretty manageable — only 1.2 percent of men who participated in finasteride clinical trials stopped using their medication because of the side effects.

Minoxidil doesn’t alter your hormones in any way. It’s a vasodilator, meaning it widens blood vessels so more blood flow, oxygen and nutrients come to the scalp.

For hair loss, minoxidil is a topical treatment applied directly to the scalp. Oral minoxidil for hair loss, while promising, is still considered an off-label use — it’s typically prescribed to lower blood pressure.

You can use finasteride topically as well. And — humble brag — our topical finasteride & minoxidil spray makes it easy to use the two together. This potent combo is known to increase the effectiveness of each while being just as safe as using either on its own.

Common Side Effects of Minoxidil

As mentioned, minoxidil is a vasodilator. The medication was originally used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), and it’s still used for this purpose in a pill called Loniten®. But minoxidil also had an unexpected good side effect for hypertension patients — it caused hair growth.

Like many medications, minoxidil comes with not-so-great side effects, but it’s generally considered a safe drug, even for use in children. We’ll go over some of the more common side effects below.


The most common adverse effect of topical minoxidil is dermatitis at the site of application, which causes itchy, scaly skin.

In some people, dermatitis is the result of simple irritation, but for others, it could signal an allergic reaction. This particular side effect is more common with the 5% concentration of the drug.

In cases where the reaction is allergic, minoxidil itself is rarely the culprit. In fact, allergic reactions to propylene glycol (a medication additive) are so common that there are now versions of minoxidil that don’t contain this ingredient — like our minoxidil foam. If you’ve experienced a reaction to other types of minoxidil, the foam might be a better option.

Shop by treatment options

No matter the treatment plan, the best place to start is somewhere. Early action is the best hair loss prevention.

No-pill option

Hair Hybrids by Hims

The Combination Hair Loss Spray

From £26/month

This spray treatment combines two active ingredients used for treating hair loss and hair regrowth.

Important Safety Information

No-pill option

Hair Hybrids by Hims

The Combination Hair Loss Serum

From £26/month

This serum treatment combines two active ingredients used for treating hair loss and hair regrowth.

Important Safety Information

Generic Treatment

Finasteride & Minoxidil Combo Kit

From £30/month

This combo kit includes two treatments. The once-daily tablet is clinically proven to stop hair loss. The alcohol-free topical serum, applied twice daily, is used for hair regrowth.

Important Safety Information

Generic Treatment


From £23/month

This once-daily tablet is clinically proven to stop hair loss.

Important Safety Information

Hair Hybrids by Hims

Alcohol-free Minoxidil Serum

From £21/month

This alcohol-free topical serum, applied twice daily, is used for hair regrowth

Important Safety Information


Hypertrichosis (a fancy word for excessive hair growth) is another common adverse reaction of minoxidil. This is good for your scalp but not so great for your other body parts.

When hypertrichosis occurs, it’s typically seen with body hair — on the face, arms and legs. The issue usually resolves within one to five months after stopping minoxidil.

This side effect is most common with the 5% application of topical minoxidil, and it’s more common in women than men. When applying minoxidil solution, make sure it only touches your scalp and doesn’t drip onto your face, neck or shoulders. 

See our detailed guide to learn exactly how to apply minoxidil.

Hair Shedding

It seems weird, but minoxidil can sometimes cause a surprising side effect: increased hair shedding.

This is due to the drug’s shortening of the resting phase of the hair growth cycle. Known as the telogen phase, this is when a strand of hair completes its growth and falls out.

If minoxidil has this effect on a large portion of your individual hairs, you may notice a lot of shedding at once. The good news is it should resolve on its own in a few months. And remember, it’s actually normal to shed 50 to 100 hairs per day.

Other Potential Side Effects of Minoxidil

The oral version of this medication may have different side effects.

Side effects of low-dose oral minoxidil include:

  • Hypertrichosis 

  • Lightheadedness 

  • Fluid retention 

  • Tachycardia 

  • Headache 

  • Periorbital edema

  • Insomnia

Hypertrichosis is the most commonly reported side effect of oral minoxidil. A few rare effects may occur in men treated with oral minoxidil. This includes headaches and generalized scalp and skin irritation, such as itchy skin or dryness.

To learn more about the potential side effects of minoxidil and minoxidil interactions, check out our guides.

It’s official. Hims is a hit.

Now after 5 months I’m able to style waves first time in 10 years!  

Bryan, 28

Verified review

After 7 months, I have experienced incredible results and my hair is back.

Tony, 32

Verified review

Cost effective and affordable. My hair keeps growing thicker, fuller, and at a fast rate.

Ryan, 29

Verified review

In just as little over two and half months, I can really see the difference in thickness and in color.

Parbhu, 28

Verified review

It has helped boost my confidence as well as give me a full head of hair to play with. I am so pleased.

Michael, 33

Verified review

I decided to jump right in and I'm so glad I did. I definitely feel ten years younger!

Jesse, 36

Verified review

4-months strong and my confidence boosted back up to 100% using Hims, future me really does thank me.

Giovanny, 23

Verified review

Hims allowed me to walk down the aisle confident and looking great.

Alexander, 32

Verified review

I tried several different options before but Hims combined approach of all four methods by far created the best results.

Brian, 48

Verified review

The results speak for themselves and I recommend it to all of my friends.

Al, 54

Verified review

I notice a huge change in the overall health and fullness of my hairline.

Seth, 27

Verified review

In just as little over two and half months, I can really see the difference in thickness and in color.

Milton, 36

Verified review

Hims has been the greatest confidence boost, no more bald jokes! I look and feel so much younger.

Mike, 34

Verified review

Before/after images shared by customers who have purchased varying products, including prescription-based products. Customers were compensated for their testimonials. These customers’ results have not been independently verified. Individual results will vary.

The Bottom Line on Minoxidil Sexual Side Effects 

Wondering if minoxidil causes side effects, sexually speaking? Read on for the TLDR on minoxidil and sexual side effects.

  • If you’re experiencing ED and trying to figure out its root cause, you’re definitely not alone. Though it’s very unlikely minoxidil is the reason you’re experiencing the condition, erectile dysfunction treatments are available to help.

  • On the other hand, if you’re on the fence about using the topical solution because you’re wondering if minoxidil really does cause ED, don’t fret. Minoxidil is very unlikely to cause side effects sexually.

  • Like most medications, minoxidil does have side effects, but they’re uncommon, not typically severe and most often resolve on their own.

  • Minoxidil has been studied for many years and is considered safe. But it comes with a risk of potential side effects, like hair shedding, irritation, redness and headaches.

Have questions about how treatment options for hair regrowth or hair thinning affect sexual function? Reach out to a dermatologist or healthcare provider to discuss your options for hair loss prescriptions, supplements and other over-the-counter solutions.

To learn more about using finasteride and minoxidil together (and their side effects), check out our guide.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.

Hair loss treatment for a long term solution

Clinically approved options available

Thousands of happy customers

Get started