Covid-19 may cause erectile dysfunction
Researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have shown that COVID-19 can be present in penile tissue long after men have recovered from the virus, according to the study published recently in the World Journal of Men's Health.
Our research shows that COVID-19 can cause widespread endothelial dysfunction in organ systems beyond the lungs and kidneys, and the underlying endothelial dysfunction that occurs due to COVID-19 can enter endothelial cells and affect many organs, including the penis," said study author Ranjith Ramasamy, M.D., associate professor and director of the Miller School's Reproductive Urology Program. In our pilot study, we found that men who previously did not complain of erectile dysfunction developed quite severe erectile dysfunction after the onset of COVID-19 infection.
The authors collected penile tissue from two men with a history of COVID-19 infection who underwent penile prosthesis surgery for erectile dysfunction.
The researchers also collected tissue from two additional men with no history of COVID-19 infection who underwent the same surgery for erectile dysfunction. They found that COVID-19 was present in the penile tissue of the two men who had been infected, but not in the men with no history of the virus. The men had been infected six and eight months earlier, respectively. These men had evidence of endothelial dysfunction, while the men without the virus did not.
This suggests that men who develop COVID-19 infection should be aware that erectile dysfunction could be an adverse effect of the virus, and should consult a physician if they develop symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
The authors hypothesize that, like other COVID-19-related complications, widespread infection and subsequent endothelial dysfunction could lead to erectile dysfunction, and that worsening erectile dysfunction could be due to the presence of the virus in the penile tissue itself.