Covid-19 is thought to be a respiratory disease, it can cause some symptoms. It can reduce the smell and taste, leaving patients with colorless toes – “Covid toe” – and also makes it known as “Covid tongue,” which the tongue can swelling and incontinence.
Scientists are now examining the possible link to the unpredictable phenomenon of Covid: erectile dysfunction. A link has been reported in hundreds of articles by scientists from Europe and North America, including Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Thailand.
Estimates of the magnitude of the problem vary. An article by Ranjith Ramasamy, director of obstetrics and gynecology at the Desai Sethi Institute of Urology at the University of Miami, concludes that the risk of erectile dysfunction increases by 20% after patients fall. for Covid. Other researchers have reported a higher risk in this risk.
Ramasamy said that when patients started coming to his hospital complaining about erection problems, “we did not think it was too much. We thought it was mental illness or depression.”
But as time went on, he and other doctors began to diagnose the pattern. “Six months after the onset of the disease, most patients have improved, but they still complain of these problems,” including shortness of breath and low sperm count, Ramasamy, who writes a lot of research papers on topics.
At the outbreak of the epidemic, Emmanuele Janini, professor of endocrinology and sexual medicine at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, reported on the link between erectile dysfunction and Covid-19. Compared to men who contracted Covid with men who did not, it was found that men who were sick had almost six times more time to complain of impotence than men who had avoided coronavirus. .
“Communication that the disease can affect people’s sexual life is a very strong message,” Jannini said, especially for men who still refuse to be vaccinated. . “The evidence is very strong.”
Studies based on imaging and biopsies have shown that coronavirus can infect tissues in the male genital area, where it can remain long after the onset of infection. Scientists say it has not yet been possible to confirm that the link between Covid and erectile dysfunction is the cause, due to many factors – mental and physical – that play a role in erection development and management. Pandemic epidemics have led to segregation of relationships and an increase in stress and depression, all of which can play a role.
“Male erections are more complex than most people realize,” said Justin Dubin, co-author of a study by Covid on the negative effects on men’s health.
“You need enough blood, you need the arteries to function properly, and you need good hormones, especially testosterone,” he said. “But a man must also be in good spirits and he should be aroused. If any of these go wrong, he will have a hard time getting an erection. “
According to Joseph Katz, an expert at the Florida College of Dentistry, in this sense, the epidemic represents the best combination of pathogens necessary for the functioning of erectile dysfunction. Katz came across a erectile dysfunction problem when she was researching the effects of Covid-19 on oral health.
Some researchers speculate that erectile dysfunction may affect the poor quality of information and smell in Covid patients, because these perceptions play an important role in erectile dysfunction. sexual arousal. “It is through smell that the brain’s arousal mechanism is aroused,” three Italian urologists wrote last year in a response to Jannini article.
In order to create and maintain erections, men need at least healthy blood vessels and adequate blood supply. Coronavirus can infect blood vessels and their lining, endothelium, when it binds to the molecular receptors that make up epithelial cells.
The vessels will not contract and stretch as necessary to draw blood to the vagina. Vascular injury can lead to more serious problems from Covid, such as heart disease, stroke and blood clots.
“All of our arteries are involved. There is no problem with the penis,” said Mike Hsieh, director of the Men’s Health Center at the University of California, San Diego.
But vascular problems may occur for the first time in the Behavior of sexually transmitted diseases, because the blood vessels in that area are very small. (Jannini says that erectile dysfunction is a warning sign for heart disease.) Erectile dysfunction and heart disease carry the same risk – such as obesity, metabolic diseases such as diabetes, smoking. , and old age – which also increases the risk of obesity. very sick with Covid.
“The arteries of the penile are one-tenth the size of the arteries, and when you have a narrow vessel, whether it is a plumbing problem or a vascular problem, that problem can be happens on its own first, before you even know it on a bigger artery, “Hsieh said.
Erectile dysfunction can precede a heart attack by five years, he said, and can be an early sign of any other risk factor.
“When I treat a patient for dysfunction, it is not Viagra or Cialis,” Hsieh said. “She was referred to a doctor or cardiologist to check if her cholesterol levels were normal, whether her blood sugar was controlled, to discuss weight management, lifestyle or diet. food. “
Erectile dysfunction could pave the way for a better diagnosis of Covid on a regular basis, Jannini said, or even brain damage.
“If you have a patient who has survived Covid and you want to know if he has Covid continued or not, just ask him how his life went on the books,” Jannini said. said. “If he had a normal sex life, the chances of serious Covid illness were slim.”
If erectile dysfunction is not treated, it can lead to other problems. According to published research, Peyronie’s disease, which causes crooked, painful erections due to fibrous plaques that form on the penis, and on orchitis, inflammation of one or two testicles, develops in in men with Covid.
Men who do not have regular erections for the last month can develop scarring and fibrosis, which makes erectile dysfunction difficult to treat and can lead to short penis.
Erectile dysfunction can resolve itself, but Hsieh urges men with these symptoms to see a doctor – and not for long.
“If you have this problem, do not wait,” he said. “Usually, we can fix men’s sexuality.”
Translated by Clara Allin