COVID-19 and erectile dysfunction: what you need to know
Researchers continue to learn more about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on our bodies. Now they are studying the link between the virus and erectile dysfunction (ED). This is when a person has a hard time getting or keeping their penis firm enough to have sex.
What is the cause ?
Researchers believe three things can trigger erectile dysfunction in COVID-19 survivors:
Cardiovascular problems. Erectile dysfunction can be an early sign of heart disease. Research also shows that COVID-19 can affect heart health. This is because it can lead to inflammation in various parts of your body. This includes your heart and nearby blood vessels and veins.
COVID-19 has also been linked to endothelial dysfunction. This is when the inner wall or wall of blood vessels remains rigid instead of expanding and contracting to allow blood flow. It can affect the way blood is pumped and transported around your body, including penile tissue. A disturbed blood supply to your penis can make it difficult to get or maintain an erection.
Mental problems. The stress, anxiety and depression associated with COVID-19 can also impact sexual health and eventually lead to erectile dysfunction.
Poor general health. Experts say erectile dysfunction is usually a symptom of another medical condition. If your health is not good to begin with, you are more likely to have severe or unwanted symptoms of COVID-19, such as erectile dysfunction.
Getting older can also increase your risk for erectile dysfunction and a severe form of COVID-19 infection.
What is the evidence behind this?
One study found that people infected with the virus were more than 5 times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction. In another small study, researchers took samples of penile tissue from two men who had been infected with COVID-19. One had severe symptoms, the other mild. The samples were taken before the two men underwent surgery for severe symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Scientists discovered COVID-19 viral particles and endothelial dysfunction long after the two men had their first infections.
It is still too early to know for sure what the long-term effects of the virus are on sexual and reproductive health.
What can you do?
Erectile dysfunction as a side effect of COVID-19 can be short or long term. But experts aren’t sure if these complications can lead to fertility issues.
Tell your doctor immediately if you think you have erectile dysfunction, especially after infection with COVID-19. They will ask you questions about your medical history and give you a physical exam. They may also order lab tests or refer you to a urologist. He is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of problems with the male reproductive system. They will find out the cause of your erectile dysfunction and develop a treatment plan.
Experts recommend getting the COVID-19 vaccine to reduce your risk of erectile dysfunction as a side effect.