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COVID-19 may still cause azoospermia in men even they recovered
COVID-19 may still cause azoospermia in men even they recovered. People who are severely infected with the new coronavirus-those who are hospitalized or in the intensive care unit (ICU), are more likely to develop azoospermia after infection than those facing a milder infection.
People who are severely infected with the new coronavirus-those who are hospitalized or in the intensive care unit (ICU), are more likely to develop azoospermia after infection than those facing a milder infection.
According to media reports, a small study showed that male patients who have recovered from the new coronavirus may still be at risk of reduced sperm counts, at least in the short term.
Researchers from the University of Florence in Italy analyzed the semen samples of 43 men aged 30-65. These men were cured one month after the new coronavirus. They found that 25% of men had low sperm counts, and nearly 20% Of men have azoospermia, that is, there is no sperm in the semen. According to data from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, this ratio is much higher than the prevalence of azoospermia in the general population worldwide, which is about 1%. This means that even if male patients recover from infection with the new coronavirus, they face the risk of a sharp drop in sperm count.
In addition, according to a research report published in the journal Human Reproduction on February 1, people who are severely infected with the new coronavirus-those who are hospitalized or who are receiving care in the intensive care unit (ICU), and those who are facing milder infections In contrast, azoospermia is more likely to occur after infection.
However, the researchers emphasized that their research does not prove that the new coronavirus and SARS virus are harmful to sperm. Researchers do not know how many sperm these men had before infection, so the author cannot say with certainty whether the sperm count will decrease after infection. , But the report states that all men with azoospermia have had children before, which means they have effective sperm in their bodies in the past. In addition, some drugs used to treat the new coronavirus, such as antiviral drugs, antibiotics and glucocorticoids, may affect sperm count.
Under normal circumstances, illness may have an impact on semen. Dr. Ajayi Nanguia, professor of urology at the University of Kansas Medical Center in the United States, said that when the patient’s condition gets worse, it will have a greater impact on semen.
Dr. Pobeck Burkkim, director of male fertility and microsurgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agrees. He said: “This may not be a special new coronavirus phenomenon, but because these patients are more seriously ill. , Needs intensive care.”
Nangia emphasized that these men need to be followed for at least 90 days after the illness to observe whether the decrease in sperm count lasts, because it takes several months for sperm to fully mature, and researchers must repeat this on these patients within 90 days. Research to understand whether the effect will be extended.
Coronavirus and fertility
We have reason to believe that SARS virus may affect sperm production, and testicular cells have higher levels of ACE2 receptors, which allows SARS virus to enter cells. However, only a few studies have looked for the SARS virus in male semen, and these male patients tested positive for the virus; at the same time, SARS virus is present in the semen of some (but not all) male testers during infection or recovery.
Chinese scientists have conducted a number of such studies. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine in October 2020 showed that male patients with new coronavirus have lower sperm counts, but this small study only included 23 patients.
In this latest study, researchers tested male patients about 30 days after the recovery of the new coronavirus infection and collected their saliva, urine and semen samples. The definition of infection with the new coronavirus is two consecutive negative tests for the new coronavirus. .
It is reported that the 43 new coronavirus patients analyzed by researchers at the University of Florence in Italy were between the ages of 30-65. Among them, 12 were treated at home, 26 were hospitalized, and 5 were admitted to the intensive care unit.
Overall, 8 men suffered from azoospermia, and 3 men suffered from oligospermia, which means low sperm count. Researchers define low sperm count as having less than 2 million sperm per milliliter of semen. According to the Mayo Clinic data, if the number of sperm in a man’s semen is less than 15 million per milliliter, it is usually considered to be a low sperm count.
The risk of azoospermia is related to the severity of the male disease: 4 out of 5 patients in the intensive care unit suffer from azoospermia, 3 out of 26 hospitalized patients suffer from azoospermia, and only 1 out of hospital patient presents Azoospermia.
According to the researchers, SARS virus was detected in the semen of only one participant, indicating that “the presence of the virus in the semen is a rare event after recovery.”
At the same time, the researchers also found that overall three-quarters of subjects and 100% of subjects admitted to the intensive care unit had high levels of interleukin 8 (IL-8) in their semen. IL-8 is a type of Molecules of the immune system are also a sign of inflammation in semen.
The researchers concluded that COVID-19 patients reaching childbearing age should receive a comprehensive random sampling survey of reproductive function and semen parameters.
Nanguia said that based on current and previous research, the new coronavirus seems to have at least a temporary effect on testicles and sperm. In the short term, this is true! However, the biggest question is whether the number of male sperm will increase over time. Is this a continuous and irreversible effect? We still need to carry out more in-depth research and exploration.
Burkkim said that he does not believe that patients infected with the new coronavirus must need long-term follow-up sampling to analyze their sperm condition, but we obviously need more data and experience to deal with the adverse consequences of the new coronavirus infection, so more follow-up sampling It will help to better define which patients are most vulnerable to the negative reproductive effects of the new coronavirus.
Certain known diseases have long-term effects on fertility. In particular, mumps can cause inflammation of the testicles, and in some cases can lead to infertility. Nanguia said that some studies have shown that patients with the new coronavirus experience testicular pain similar to mumps.
The researchers pointed out that although this latest study is one of the largest studies to date on semen quality monitoring after the recovery of new coronavirus patients, its scale and the number of people under investigation are still relatively small, so larger studies are needed. Confirm these findings.
(source:internet, reference only)