Is the pandemic affecting the sexual potency of Indian men?
Over the past year, recovered COVID patients have discovered that various organs in their bodies have been affected or damaged due to the coronavirus. The most common are lung damage, but other organs like the liver, heart and kidneys have also not been immune to the after-effects of a strong COVID-19 infection.
In fact, recent studies show that the COVID-19 virus also causes erectile dysfunction in men and affects their fertility. In a very aptly titled research article titled “ Mask up to keep it up ” published in March 2021 in the journal Andrology, it was proposed that there is a correlation between erectile dysfunction and COVID-19.
The study, which was conducted on Italian men, cites that COVID-19 destroys the cardiovascular system, causing disease of the blood vessels, which in turn affects a man’s erection. In another study published in the World Journal of Men’s Health, it was found that the COVID-19 virus is present in the penis long after the initial infection in humans. The results of the study suggest that generalized endothelial cell dysfunction due to COVID-19 infection may contribute to erectile dysfunction. “Future studies will assess new molecular mechanisms on how infection with COVID-19 leads to erectile dysfunction,” the study said.
Although few similar studies have yet been conducted in India, medical health experts say they have seen several people with erectile dysfunction, after recovering from COVID-19. Dr SS Vasan, DNB-Urology / Genitourinary Surgery, told News18: “I have worked with 8-9 patients, who reported erectile dysfunction after recovery from covid. However, just because we’ve seen a correlation doesn’t mean there’s a causal link. To understand if erectile dysfunction really occurs because of COVID-19, we need to conduct more studies. So far we’ve seen questionnaire-based studies, and the links that have been made have been mostly through the power of association, but we need more concrete scientific evidence. “
“There could be a good chance that just like in COVID toes where the vascular system is affected after COVID, we are also seeing erectile dysfunction after COVID due to similar vasculitis. However, it must be said that it is not specific to the penis. It affects all organs with the same artery size. Further studies will corroborate whether vasculitis actually causes erectile dysfunction and, if so, whether patients with COVID experience different levels of erectile dysfunction after recovery, ”he added.
Dr Vasan pointed out that the way we can form the association between COVID-19 and erectile dysfunction is by looking at a patient’s endothelial function test. “If a patient’s pre-COVID test was normal, but after COVID it shows abnormal results, and he also has erectile dysfunction, we associate COVID and ED.
“At this point, we have to wait until the end and see if post-COVID SU is a temporary condition or a permanent dysfunction. We do not have enough data to draw conclusions. We are trying to see if we can prevent this problem by giving a higher dose of antioxidants and other drugs to treat the problem, ”added Dr. Vasan.
However, in a society like India, the anatomical problem of erectile dysfunction is only a small aspect of the larger social and gender issues and struggles in mental health.
Delhi-based reconstructive urologist and andrologist Dr Gautam Banga told News18: “It’s not just the infection; the pandemic itself has been the cause of erectile dysfunction in many cases. For many, this past year has been marked by financial hardship, grief over losing loved ones, living in close quarters with large families, giving rise to conflict and dealing with privacy issues. or loneliness. All of these factors can be stressors leading to erectile dysfunction. Therefore, it is very necessary to address the mental health aspect of this sexual issue. “
“In my experience, the sex lives of young people, especially those in their twenties and thirties, have been hit the hardest during this pandemic. Those who are single no longer have a social life and therefore no longer have a new sexual partner or regular sex life (which they had before the pandemic). And, those who are married are tied to their computers due to working from home, so they don’t know how to separate the time and have a good time with their family. There is also so much uncertainty surrounding pregnancy during COVID. Some men are too afraid that if their wives conceive during this time, they should go to the hospital and be exposed to the virus and therefore refrain from all sexual activity (because we all know that condoms are not foolproof). “.
However, while many people have experienced erectile dysfunction during this pandemic, not everyone is willing to tackle the problem. In Indian society, where a man’s power is often tied to his power, men are often reluctant to discuss or seek help with their sexual health issues. “Erectile dysfunction can also go unanswered in many cases, which will only lead to further conflict and frustration. Therefore, they should be encouraged to seek medical help, especially if they have been through a serious illness like COVID, ”Dr Banga stressed.
“Erectile dysfunction is also higher in people with comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension, which are also high stressors for COVID-19. If we can manage these comorbidities, we see that the patient’s erectile dysfunction can be taken care of as well. There are also supportive drugs that can be taken before sexual activity, a change in lifestyle will also help manage erection problems. The bond with the partner, a positive state of mind also contributes greatly ”, he added.
If all else fails, there are also advanced methods such as vacuum pump devices, intracavernous (or intracavernous) injection, and a penile implant.
“The stress of this pandemic is also likely to affect male fertility. Most patients take so many pills during this time. And, in many cases, they self-medicate out of fear rather than out of necessity. This constant pill is also likely to adversely affect male fertility, ”Dr Banga pointed out.
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