December 8, 2022

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Erectile dysfunction in COVID-19 patients is 5 times that of ordinary people

Andrology: Erectile dysfunction in COVID-19 patients is 5 times that of ordinary people

 

Erectile dysfunction in COVID-19 patients is 5 times that of ordinary people.  Recently, “Andrology” magazine published a study that pointed out that men who tested positive for the new coronavirus are five times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction (impotence) than ordinary men, which is likely to be a long-term complication caused by damage to the vascular endothelium.

Emmanuele Jannini, professor of endocrinology and sexual medicine at the University of Rome, Italy, introduced that the new coronavirus infection may cause intravascular inflammation and microthrombosis. Some recovered patients have developed long-term cardiac sequelae. Even asymptomatic infections may have symptoms of microvascular damage. It can be seen that the new coronavirus pneumonia is not only a lung disease, but also a vascular disease, which is manifested as vascular endothelial dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction is one of the prominent manifestations of vascular endothelial dysfunction. Previous studies have suggested that it has a potential connection with new coronavirus pneumonia. In this study, Jannini collected data on erectile dysfunction in 75 men who tested negative for the virus and 25 men who tested positive for the virus. The results found that there were 9 people in the two groups with the disease, and the calculated incidence rate was three times different. Excluding other common factors such as age, weight, and mental status, the risk of erectile dysfunction caused by new coronavirus pneumonia was equivalent to 5.27 times.

Jannini analyzed that a series of sequelae caused by new coronavirus pneumonia are all related to damage to the vascular endothelium. Vascular endothelium can release compounds that control vasoconstriction or expansion and regulate blood flow. One of the most critical for erection is nitric oxide. The vascular endothelium of the penis needs to produce enough nitric oxide to expand the blood vessels, and a large amount of blood flows to fill the penis to achieve an erection. However, vascular endothelial cells express many receptors for new coronavirus invading viruses and are most vulnerable to virus attack. If the endothelium is damaged and the release of nitric oxide is reduced, an erection will not be achieved.

At the same time, excessive constriction of blood vessels may also lead to erectile dysfunction. Blood pressure rises after vasoconstriction. As time goes by, vascular endothelial cells are damaged by high blood pressure to form blood clots. Changes in the immune status of the penis’s blood vessels may also cause blood clots and affect the blood supply to the penis. Since the blood vessels supplying the penis are much thinner than the blood vessels of the heart or other blood vessels, if the blood vessels are damaged, the penis is most prone to symptoms, that is, it cannot be erected.

There is also a possibility that the virus directly attacks the testicles. Since the testicular stromal cells can express the receptor ACE2 that binds to the virus, the testis is also one of the organs damaged by infection. After testicular injury, the coagulation status changes, and penile ischemia occurs; testicular injury can also lead to hypogonadism, impaired testosterone secretion, and affect erectile function.

Jannini said that erectile dysfunction is likely to be a short-term or long-term complication of the new coronavirus infection. Men should strengthen their awareness of the prevention of new coronavirus pneumonia, including vaccinations, frequent hand washing, wearing masks, and maintaining social distancing, etc., to reduce the harm of the virus to the whole body, especially the harm of sexual function. The sudden appearance of erectile dysfunction or worsening of symptoms in patients with positive virus infection is likely to be a sign of serious disease progression and requires intensive treatment.

Erectile dysfunction patients often have chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. These are also high-risk factors for new coronavirus pneumonia infection and aggravation. Therefore, this part of the population should strengthen the awareness of new coronavirus prevention. Once infected, special prevention of disease aggravation is required.

 

(source:internet, reference only)


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