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Does COVID-19 cause erectile dysfunction?

This article was published on
July 13, 2021

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Research suggests that COVID-19 infection and erectile dysfunction (ED) are linked. However, the cause and relationship need to be studied further. The full extent of the problem, whether it is permanent, temporary or it affects fertility, is yet to be known and requires further observational studies. ED is also known to be linked with cardiovascular health issues and therefore, could act as an indicator to assess any pulmonary or cardiovascular conditions in COVID-19 patients.

Research suggests that COVID-19 infection and erectile dysfunction (ED) are linked. However, the cause and relationship need to be studied further. The full extent of the problem, whether it is permanent, temporary or it affects fertility, is yet to be known and requires further observational studies. ED is also known to be linked with cardiovascular health issues and therefore, could act as an indicator to assess any pulmonary or cardiovascular conditions in COVID-19 patients.

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What our experts say

Research suggests COVID-19 infections can cause testicular dysfunction. It is not yet known whether this is a symptom that persists after recovery from COVID-19, or if it's temporary.

In one study, COVID-19 infection increased the risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED) in young men by about six times. While a link seems likely, the cause and relationship needs further investigation.  

Erectile dysfunction (ED) has been known for a long time as an indicator of overall health, especially cardiovascular health. COVID-19 causes inflammation in various parts of the body and is also known to affect the inner linings of blood vessels, causing disruption to blood supply. Vascular effects from COVID-19 infection are likely to affect the blood vessels in the penis, causing erectile dysfunction.

Stresses related to COVID-19 have also caused mental health challenges, which can have a psychological impact on mood and sexual dysfunction. 

Men with health risk factors are at more risk of developing ED as well as COVID-19, which in turn is causing more health concerns. Since ED is a known predictor of heart disease, further investigation of COVID-19 patients who develop ED can help determine any cardiovascular issues in a timely manner.

Context and background

As long-term effects of COVID-19 are being researched, patients have been reporting erectile dysfunction following COVID-19 infection. Research suggests that men’s sexual and reproductive health might be affected following COVID-19 infection.

Resources

  1. Addressing male sexual and reproductive health in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak (Journal of Endocrinological Investigation)
  2. “Mask up to keep it up”: Preliminary evidence of the association between erectile dysfunction and COVID-19 (Andrology - Wiley)
  3. Yes, COVID-19 Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction (Cleveland Clinic)
  4. COVID-19 Endothelial Dysfunction Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction: Histopathological, Immunohistochemical, and Ultrastructural Study of the Human Penis (The World Journal of Men’s Health)
  5. COVID-19 and lasting erectile dysfunction: Here’s what we know (Los Angeles Times)
  6. Can COVID-19 Really Cause Erectile Dysfunction? What Men Should Know (Banner Health)
  7. Can Covid-19 Coronavirus Cause Long-Term Erectile Dysfunction? Here Are 2 More Studies (Forbes)

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