COVID-19 vaccines won’t affect your sexual performance, but COVID-19 could
It has been almost a year since the first COVID-19 vaccines received emergency use clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but some people still have questions about injections – especially the possibility of sexual side effects – which prevent them from getting the vaccine.
Nicki Minaj, for example, wrote on Twitter this week that she will only get the vaccine “after I have done enough research.” I’m working on this now. Minaj then continued with a bizarre and questionable story about her cousin in Trinidad who “will not receive the vaccine because his friend had it and has become impotent”, she wrote. âHis testicles became swollen. Her friend was a few weeks away from getting married, now the girl has called off the wedding. But the truth is, there’s no research to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines can affect sexual performance, including sperm production, erectile dysfunction, or swollen testicles.
âThere is no evidence that vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause problems with male fertility,â according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most common side effects of COVID-19 vaccines are slightly different depending on the vaccine you receive, but they usually include injection site pain, fatigue, headache, fever, and chills. These side effects are temporary (usually lasting only a day or two) and tend to be more severe after the second dose than the first.
Some people develop much more noticeable side effects, even to a degree that can actually make it difficult for them to perform their usual tasks during the day, including possibly having sex. But, again, these side effects are temporary and do not specifically include problems with sexual performance or swollen testicles (technical term: orchitis).
On the flip side, there is preliminary evidence that the coronavirus can cause problems with sexual performance, especially for those with a penis. For example, a small study published in the journal Andrology examined survey data for 100 sexually active men (25 had COVID-19 at some point, 75 did not). Their results showed that men who had COVID-19 were much more likely to report having erectile dysfunction than those who did not have the virus.
Another recent study, this one published in the Global Journal of Men’s Health, actually examined tissue samples from four people (two of whom had previously had COVID-19) undergoing surgery to treat severe erectile dysfunction. The researchers detected viral particles in the tissues of both participants, even though they had long recovered from their infections. They also found evidence of problems with endothelial cells (which line blood vessels) in those who had had COVID-19, suggesting that the virus may actually affect sexual function by damaging these cells.
This is why the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends COVID-19 vaccines for men who are eligible to receive them. “COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to men who want fertility, in the same way as men who do not want fertility, when they meet the criteria for vaccination,” ASRM said in a statement. (The ASRM notes that some people develop a fever after vaccination, and a fever may temporarily reduce sperm production, “but this would be similar or less than if the person had a fever developing COVID-19 or for d ‘other reasons “. recent study in JAMA confirmed that you are unlikely to experience a significant drop in sperm production after the vaccine.)
Of course, there are many other possible conditions that could cause a person to develop problems with sexual performance, whether or not they have received COVID-19 or the vaccines. In fact, some of the more common causes of orchitis are actually other infections, including mumps and sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea or chlamydia, the Mayo Clinic explains. Orchitis can also be the result of epididymitis, a bacterial infection of the epididymis. Getting vaccinated regularly (including the MMR vaccine for children, which protects against mumps) and sticking to safer sex practices, such as getting tested for STIs, can reduce your risk of diseases that cause mumps. orchitis.
It’s perfectly normal to have questions about COVID-19 vaccines and be nervous if you hear that someone you know may have had a less than stellar experience with them. But it’s important to discuss these questions and concerns – and weigh the potential risks and benefits of the vaccine versus those of COVID-19 infection while unvaccinated – with a trained expert and trust, like your family doctor, rather than wildly speculating on social media.