Can Covid Affect Male Sexual Health?
COVID-19 pandemic has been going for almost 2 years and many studies have shown after effects of the disease, that may or may not be directly related to the disease itself. Studies has found that COVID-19 survivors might develop short and long-term sexual and reproductive health issues, including Erectile Dysfunction (ED). COVID-19 has been detected in the testicle, so it could affect how well your testicles can work. This could affect both sperm production and testosterone production. Another recent study has shown that COVID-19 increases the risk of developing ED by nearly six times. The preliminary numbers also indicated that having ED also increased menâ€™s susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Men with ED are more than five times more likely to have COVID-19. For men with a history of COVID-19, the estimated risk of developing ED was 5.66 higher. Those numbers remained even after other factors considered. Possible factors for this could be:
- Direct effect of virus on testicular tissue
- Cytokinins/inflammatory chemicals affecting the sperm counts, function and morphology
- Reduced libido/ erections due to psychological trauma or mental health issues
- Effect of steroid and antivirals used for treatment on sperm number/function
- Vascular effects. ED is a predictor of heart disease, therefore, the vascular system and reproductive system are connected. COVID-19 can cause hyper-inflammation throughout the body, especially in the heart and surrounding muscles. Blood supply to the penis can become blocked or narrowed as a result of a new or worsened vascular condition caused by the virus.
- Overall health deterioration. ED is typically a symptom of an underlying problem. Men with poor health are at greater risk for developing ED and also for having a severe reaction to COVID-19.
- Lower testosterone levels can contribute to erectile dysfunction, as well as decreased energy, libido and muscle mass. Lower testosterone levels also could exacerbate the bodyâ€™s inflammatory response, causing heightened damage to the blood vessels.
It is crucial to know that, whether you have ED or not, itâ€™s best to get vaccinated.Â If Semen analysis is to be done, itâ€™s best to do it 3 months after recovery from COVID-19.Â Special Note- The female partner should get evaluated by a gynecologist if planning a pregnancy after COVID.