Could COVID-19 Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
By The Rex MD Editorial TeamDecember 7, 2020
Since the onset of the novel , we've learned more and more about the immediate health effects of COVID-19. But 12 months in, we're only beginning to understand the long-term effects.
Unfortunately for guys, researchers and doctors are increasingly concerned about COVID-19 causing (ED).
In a December 2020 NBC interview, infectious expert Dr. Dena Grayson said, "There is some real concern here that men could have long-term issues of from this because we know that it causes issues in the vasculature."
She's not the first to raise the alarm on and , and recent research suggests guys should be aware of the link between COVID and ED.
Can the cause ?
As doctors were just beginning to get their hands around how best to treat acute in the summer of 2020, a group of scientists published some alarming findings regarding the possible long-term impacts of COVID:
"Despite being a trivial matter for patients in intensive care units (ICUs), (ED) is a likely consequence of COVID-19 for survivors, and considering the high transmissibility of the infection and the higher contagion rates among elderly men, a worrying phenomenon for a large part of affected patients."
COVID-19 may damage a host of bodily functions that impact men's , with long-lasting effects. The consequences of COVID-19 are likely to extend to sexual and reproductive health due to a variety of connections, and may prove a for ED.
Mask up guys - here's why and covid could be an issue, according to researchers.
The Startling Connection Between , Sperm, Covid, and ED
One of the main ways that severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes COVID-19, enters the body is through the ACE2 pathway . That stands for angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, and it's a protein on the surface of many types of cells, including in the heart, lungs, gut, and inside the nose, to name a few. The latches onto this enzyme to gain easy entrance to the cell, where it hijacks the cell's normal workings to start replicating itself. The infection begins.
Unfortunately for guys, this protein is also highly expressed on Leydig and Sertoli cells, both of which are in the testicles and involved in producing and sperm, respectively.
Could this same pathway allow the to damage testicular cells and production? Indeed, an examination of testicular tissue from COVID-19 patients showed a significant reduction in Leydig cells, as well as inflammation and edema. Another report on 31 COVID-19 patients identified that some patients developed hypogonadism and that lower levels of in the body acted as predictors of poor prognosis in infected men.
What we don't know yet is whether that impact is permanent or temporary. The researchers speculate, however, that lowered might be one of the reasons for the large differences in mortality and hospitalization rates between men and women, and it might also explain why SARS-CoV-2 most commonly infects older men!
While the research is still forthcoming, these scientist write, "It should be acknowledged that the testis is a target for SARS-CoV-2 and the possibility for long-lasting consequences on the endocrine function exists, even for recovered patients."
How COVID-19 Damages the Heart and More
Chances are you already know ED is closely tied to vascular health. Erections, after all, occur with increased are all risk factors for ED. to the penis. Impair in the body, impair your ability to get an erection: diabetes, hypertension, and
Quality vasculature is necessary for proper , and COVID-19 is associated with vascular damage. The body's inflammatory response from COVID-19 could very easily damage the penis' fragile vascular bed, and many of the same hyper-inflammation elements associated with COVID are also associated with ED progression.
infection can also affect the heart and make underlying cardiovascular conditions or worse. Increases in arrhythmias, , , and myocarditis have been linked to infection.
Patients with underlying conditions are considered some of the most at-risk when it comes to COVID-19. The researchers put it rather bleakly:
"While erection is-of course-a trivial matter for patients in Intensive Care Units, there is reason to suspect that impaired vascular function might persist in COVID-19 survivors and even become a public health issue in the next few months. Moreover, given that , investigating whether COVID-19 patients develop ED might also be a good surrogate marker of general cardiovascular function, improving care and quality of life." is a predictor of
When it comes to and ED, there's genuine cause for concern. Moreover, men make up a disproportionate amount of SARS-CoV2 infected - 58% according to a July paper. Men also make more of those that die, as high as 75% of deaths in certain age groups.
It's Not Just About Infections, Either
A COVID infection isn't the only thing about this that's affecting sex lives and - it's also the unique psychosocial, , and psychological implications of social distancing and long-term lockdowns.
A poll from NBC news in the spring of 2020 found that 47% of those surveyed said the outbreak negatively affected their sex lives!
In China, at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, and frequency declined significantly among younger men and women .
The common assumption is that with couples stuck at home with little else to do, we face a baby boom in the next year as couples have more time to act on pent-up ... or boredom. Not so, say researchers: it turns out more partners are choosing NOT to have kids. More like a COVID baby bust...
Meanwhile, rates of for has gone up , at least in the U.K.That could be due to more guys stuck at home and finally seeking the they want, or it could be related to increased ED symptoms.
ED During Covid
? Less motivation? More motivation?
The true data from some of the major vaccines in development could help too, but as this is lower down the priority list, it may be a while before we truly understand the ED-COVID connection. of the on rates - and the precise causes - will be made clear in the coming years, but there's reason enough to stay cautious, at the very least until a gets used widely.
No matter what, Rex MD is here to help. Get a free virtual consultation when you become a member. Pills as low as $3 each. Get started now.
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