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Sexual Health

Can COVID-19 Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Is the COVID-19 pandemic bringing you and your willy down? Find out how the pandemic may cause erectile dysfunction (ED) in men, regardless of whether or not they have contracted the virus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been plastered across the headlines for over a year, and by now, you probably are already familiar with the usual symptoms of the coronavirus – fever, cough, breathlessness, and the loss of sense of smell and taste. Well, let us present you with a surprising piece of impotent news – COVID-19 can cause erectile dysfunction (ED). 

Mask up to keep it up

A study in Italy revealed a strong association between COVID-19 and ED. Men infected by the COVID-19 virus are almost six times more likely to experience ED. While more tailored research needs to be done to confirm the long-term impacts of the virus on sexual health, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Healthy circulation, healthy erection 

During a normal erection, blood flows into the spongy tissues of your penis, causing your penis to become firm. However, the COVID-19 virus can cause detrimental impacts on your heart and blood flow, affecting your ability to get or sustain an erection. 

Here’s what happens when the COVID-19 virus invades your body:

  1. Firstly, your body attempts to defend itself by launching a massive immune response against the virus. 
  2. This leads to dangerous levels of inflammation in your heart and its surrounding muscles, as well as on your blood vessels. 
  3. Next, the walls of your blood vessels become damaged and stiff, and their ability to push blood throughout the body becomes hindered.
  4. This disrupts the blood flow to your penis, especially since blood vessels to your penis are very small and narrow to begin with. 
  5. Eventually, with insufficient blood filling up the spongy tissues of your penis, your penis remains flaccid. This is known as erectile dysfunction (ED).

Mental exhaustion from the pandemic

The pandemic has affected everyone in many ways – some have lost their jobs, some are working longer hours due to WFH (work from home) measures, some are deprived of social interaction, and some may simply be having a hard time adjusting to the new normal. Whatever it is, the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly taken a toll on many people’s mental health, whether or not they have had the virus. In fact, a recent study conducted by AIA revealed that 9 in 10 Singaporeans are still struggling with their mental health one year into the pandemic, with men and young people are the most affected.

Unfortunately, when your mental health deteriorates, so does your sexual health. Stress, anxiety and depression are known risk factors of ED, interrupting your brain signals that are usually responsible for producing an erection. Hence, if your sex life has been underwhelming and disappointing recently, the COVID-19 pandemic may be the culprit. 

Stay away from the pandemic and the flaccid penis panic

Here are some tips on how you can cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce your risks of ED. 

  1. Mask up and get vaccinated: Masks and vaccines are your best friends that protect you from the COVID-19 spread. Need we really say more? 
  2. Stay active: Physical activity promotes blood circulation around your body, including to your penis. You can slowly build up an exercise routine, aiming towards at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. 
  3. Relax: Amidst the stress and anxiety stemming from the pandemic and WFH measures, it’s important to be kind to your mind. Good mental health also reduces your risk of ED. Take deep breaths, meditate and make some time to do the things that you enjoy. You can also confide in your loved ones about your concerns. 

Experiencing ED but cringing at the thought of visiting the doctor for this? Let Arx help you. Speak with one of our doctors now to explore your ED treatment options, all from the comfort of your own home. 

References

  • Sansone, A., Mollaioli, D., Ciocca, G., Colonnello, E., Limoncin, E., Balercia, G., & Jannini, E. A. (2021). “Mask up to keep it up”: Preliminary evidence of the association between erectile dysfunction and COVID‐19. Andrology. https://doi.org/10.1111/andr.13003
  • 9 in 10 Singaporeans still struggling with their mental health one year into the pandemic, men and younger adults most worried. (2021, April 15). AIA Group. https://www.aia.com.sg/content/dam/sg/en/docs/press-releases/2021/aia-health-matters-survey-2021.pdf.
  • Nazario, B. (2021, May 14). COVID-19 and Erectile Dysfunction: What to Know. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/lung/covid-erectile-dysfunction.
  • Kresch, E., Achua, J., Saltzman, R., Khodamoradi, K., Arora, H., Ibrahim, E., Kryvenko, O., Almeida, V. W., Firdaus, F., Hare, J. M., & Ramasamy, R. (2021). COVID-19 Endothelial Dysfunction Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction: Histopathological, Immunohistochemical, and Ultrastructural Study of the Human Penis. The World Journal of Men’s Health, 39. https://doi.org/10.5534/wjmh.210055
  • Smith, J. (2021, March 5). Why COVID-19 Might Lead to Erectile Dysfunction in Some People, According to Doctors. Prevention. https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/a34963722/erectile-dysfunction-covid-19-coronavirus/.

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