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by Robert MacKay, Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | Categories: Mens Health

On The Online Clinic blog last week we reported that most of the British men questioned in a survey on Erectile Dysfunction were unaware that forty percent of them would suffer from the condition at some point after the age of forty. It is not a particularly surprising fact. Unless men go out of their way to research health issues in the media, either printed or on the internet, they are probably not going to going to be particularly well informed about the various health risks which may occur at certain ages. So nothing revelatory there then!

Perhaps more surprising was the answer given to men’s major health concern after the age of forty - hair loss. Then again, perhaps not! Hair loss has always been something of a joke in this country. We laugh at men with ‘comb-overs’, that desperate attempt to make a few strands of hair cover a bald scalp. Neil Kinnock was told to ditch his to be taken more seriously and the Rab C Nesbit actor became iconic in the Hamlet photo booth commercial attempting to cover his bald pate before the camera flashed. Of course, he failed every time.

Conversely, bald men have often been held up as sex symbols embodying virility and manliness. Men like Patrick Steward  (Star Trek’s Captain Jean Luc Picard) and Telly Savalas, in his day, are held up as sex symbols as a result of their lack of locks. Indeed Yul Brynner only became a star when he shaved his head to hide his pattern baldness.

Why then do we not allow men the right to worry about losing their hair? Many men find the experience traumatic. It knocks their self-confidence and makes them feel less attractive, hardly a laughing matter. If men want to take Propecia, a highly effective hair loss treatment, have a hair transplant or even to hang upside down from a bar (apparently it increases blood supply to the follicles) then surely that is their prerogative. Women have makeup and hair and beauty treatments to enhance their looks are men not entitled to preserve their assets too?

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