Men are being advised that, along with the threat of severe illness or even death, Covid-19 poses a great threat to erectile function, both directly and indirectly.
Consultant urologist at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Center (SLBMC), Dr Adrian Rhudd, shared that advice late this week.
Speaking on state media, Dr Rhudd explained that, in a manner similar to how it affects other organs in the body, Covid-19 could negatively impact the penis, causing issues with achieving and maintaining erections.
“What we do know on the molecular level [is that] Covid is a vascular disease. The Covid virus creates a lot of inflammation, particularly in the lungs, and that’s why we have the breathing problems.
“As more information is gathered, we’re finding that the Covid virus affects the brain, the kidneys, the penis [and] the testicles, so if it damages the blood vessels to the lungs to [cause] breathing difficulties, the same thing will happen in the penis which needs good blood flow for erections.”
He also noted that the psychological impact of contracting Covid-19 could affect the penis in an indirect manner, as the many burdens that come with severe Covid overwhelm men.
“To have an erection…you need to have the desire, to be interested in having sex and then your waterworks needs to be able to function.
“Now, if you had Covid, you haven’t been working and you’re stressed out, is sex the first thing on your mind? If you’ve been in hospital for a while, bills are backing up, you’ve lost weight and you’ve been on a ventilator, is sex the first thing on your mind? Maybe not”, he suggested.
According to research facilitated by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research earlier this year, men may be a whopping six times more likely to develop brief or long-term erectile dysfunction, after contracting the virus.
Other studies have revealed many more sexual health issues that affect men even after they’re recovered from Covid, including low testosterone level, testicular pain or swelling and an inability to achieve orgasm.
Dr Ranjith Ramasamy, with the University of Miami Health System, also says mounting evidence suggests that Covid-19 may sabotage men’s sexual health.
“We found that men who hadn’t previously had these issues developed pretty severe erectile dysfunction after Covid-19 infection,” he told National Geographic, adding that, “since the penis is actually one of the most vascular organs in the body, we were not surprised that erectile dysfunction was more common in men with long Covid.”
These reports are among possibly hundreds circulating worldwide, but as far as locally-based evidence is concerned, Dr Rhudd says there isn’t much to go on at this point.
“At the moment, I can’t say that I’m seeing patients coming in for that, but internationally, it is a very hot topic.
“[Right now] we don’t have our urology clinics functioning, impotence is not high on the list of problems – fortunately or unfortunately – that we see, so at the moment it may be people at home questioning it, wondering [whether] something is not right but haven’t been coming out, that we can say we’re counting the numbers. With time [though], we will know.”
Dr Ramasamy also dismissed claims about the Covid-19 vaccine affecting men’s sexual health – especially after a now-infamous tweet from entertainer, Nicki Minaj – saying, “It’s important for people to understand that Covid vaccination doesn’t affect erectile function. The virus can have significant adverse long-term effects and the vaccine is safe,” he assured.