Covid-19 Might Cause Erectile Dysfunction

Published by Aaron Le

10 min read

Amidst the already overwhelming news on the COVID-19 pandemic, there's an additional concern for men: the virus may contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED).

bluechew pouch on a nightstand

Mask up to keep it up

Recent research indicates a potentially strong connection between COVID-19 infection and erectile issues. Contracting COVID-19 might increase the risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED) by almost six times, according to a March 2021 study led by Dr. Emmanuele A. Jannini in Italy, humorously titled "Mask Up to Keep It Up."

However, some medical professionals caution against jumping to conclusions too soon. They point out the overlap between risk factors for ED and contracting COVID-19, such as obesity, old age, heart disease, and smoking. Despite this, the correlation between COVID-19 and ED is garnering attention from doctors worldwide.

Dr. John Mulhall, a urologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, commented on the study, calling it highly preliminary. He emphasized the need for further large, long-term analyses to determine causation.

How can covid-19 cause erectile dysfunction?

Preliminary research identifies three factors that may contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED) following a COVID-19 infection:

  1. 1. Vascular Issues: Erections rely on a robust blood supply to the penis. Unfortunately, COVID-19 can trigger inflammation in the heart and muscles, potentially disrupting the necessary blood flow for achieving an erection. A study found that SARS-CoV-2 particles can enter penile tissue, causing endothelial dysfunction, which constricts blood vessels and leads to ED. According to Ranjith Ramasamy, Director of the Reproductive Urology Fellowship program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, men who didn't previously experience ED developed severe dysfunction after COVID-19 infection.
  2. 2. Psychological Issues: ED isn't always a physical problem; there's a close connection between sexual and mental health. Stress, anxiety, and poor mood—common during the pandemic—can contribute to sexual dysfunction. Up to 47% of people experiencing depression also face challenges in the bedroom.
  3. 3. General Health Issues: The Cleveland Clinic notes that men with poor health may experience more severe reactions to COVID-19 and encounter more difficulties with ED. Urologist Ryan Berglund emphasizes that erectile dysfunction can serve as an indicator of overall health. Particularly for young and healthy individuals who suddenly develop ED, especially after a COVID-19 infection, this could signal a more serious underlying health issue.

How to prevent erectile dysfunction caused by Covid-19

To boost your natural erectile function, staying physically fit is crucial. A two-year study revealed that men who exercised more, shed excess weight, and quit smoking significantly improved their erectile dysfunction (ED) compared to a control group.

This is particularly vital because men with a history of COVID-19 face an estimated 5.66 times greater risk of developing ED, according to Jannini’s 2021 study. Achieving fitness goals may take time, possibly months or even years. Meanwhile, medical experts strongly recommend that men consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Jannini emphasizes, "When offered, men should have the COVID vaccination. It also gives a whole new meaning to wearing the mask: mask up to keep it up. It could have the added benefit of preventing sexual dysfunction."

Dr. Allan Pacey from the University of Sheffield supports this advice: "I'd also argue that the correlation between COVID-19 and ED is a good reason for men to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and take the vaccine."

How to treat erectile dysfunction caused by Covid-19

As mentioned earlier, taking care of your overall physical and mental well-being can significantly enhance your sex life. Yet, for men facing pandemic-related erectile dysfunction (ED) who want to be prepared for spontaneous intimacy, medications offer a practical solution.

If you've considered using ED medication during the pandemic, you're not alone. Sales of Tadalafil (found in Cialis),  Sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra), Vardenafil (the active ingredient in Levitra) saw a 67% increase between February and December 2020. These FDA-approved medications work by boosting blood flow to the penis, increasing the likelihood of achieving harder and longer-lasting erections. While quarantine and lockdowns might typically make obtaining a doctor's prescription and filling it at a pharmacy inconvenient, telehealth services like BlueChew streamline the process. Men can get approved online and have their treatment discreetly shipped directly to their door.

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