We will preface this by saying that scientists don’t yet know much about the long-term effects of COVID-19, so much of what we may hear and read is speculative. The impact of COVID-19 also varies greatly from person to person; some people experience few if any symptoms, while others experience severe symptoms, sometimes resulting in death.
A sturdy published in the medical journal Andrology4 found that men who have tested positive for COVID-19 are more than five times as likely to have erectile dysfunction as those who have not.
A literature search5 suggests several means by which COVID-19 could trigger ED.
It has been established6 that the COVID-19 virus can cause long-term damage to blood vessels. Since vascular issues are a leading cause of ED, it’s reasonable to suppose that erectile dysfunction could be a long-term effect of COVID-197.
A 2021 study8 demonstrated the presence of the COVID-19 virus in the penis long after the initial infection in humans. The results suggest that widespread endothelial cell dysfunction from COVID-19 infection can contribute to ED.
Testicular Damage and Testosterone
Testicular damage9 in COVID-19 might induce a state of hypogonadism, leading to decreased levels of testosterone. Low testosterone is linked to erectile dysfunction.
A study published in 202210 found the the COVID 19 virus causes testicular infection and damage, resulting in decreased sperm count, decrease sperm quality. decreased testosterone, and testicular pain.
There is clear evidence that COVID-19 can result in long-term erectile dysfunction in some patients. The mechanisms are not yet fully understood, but are currently being researched.
- Chu, Kevin Y; Nackeeran, Sirpi; Horodyski, Laura; Masterson, Thomas A; Ramasamy, Ranjith. “COVID-19 Infection Is Associated With New Onset Erectile Dysfunction: Insights From a National Registry.” Sexual Medicine. Feb 2022;10(1):100478.
- Hsieh, Tung-Chin; Edwards, Natalie C; Bhattacharyya, Samir K; Nitschelm, Krista D; Burnett, Arthur L. “The Epidemic of COVID-19-Related Erectile Dysfunction: A Scoping Review and Health Care Perspective.” Sexual Medicine Reviews. Apr 2022; 10(2): 286–310.
- Kaynar, Mehmet; Quinta Gomes, Ana Luísa; Sokolakis, Ioannis; Gül, Murat. “Tip of the iceberg: erectile dysfunction and COVID-19.” International Journal of Impotence Research. Feb 2022.
- Sansone, Andrea; Mollaioli, Daniele; Ciocca, Giacomo; Colonnello, Elena; Limoncin, Erika; Balercia, Giancarlo; Jannini, Emmanuele A. “‘Mask up to keep it up’: Preliminary evidence of the association between erectile dysfunction and COVID‐19.” Andrology. March 2021.
- Sansone, A; Mollaioli, D; Ciocca, G; Limoncin, E; Colonnello, E; Vena, W; Jannini, E A. “Addressing male sexual and reproductive health in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.” Journal of Endocrinological Investigation. Jul 2020. 13 : 1–9. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7355084/>
- Ackermann, Maximilian; Verleden, Stijn E; Kuehnel, Mark; Haverich, Axel; Welte, Tobias; Laenger, Florian; Vanstapel, Arno; Werlein, Christopher; Stark, Helge; Tzankov, Alexandar; Li, William W; Li, Vincent W. “Pulmonary Vascular Endothelialitis, Thrombosis, and Angiogenesis in Covid-19.” The New England Journal of Medicine. Jul 2020. 383:120-128. <https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2015432>
- Becker, Richard C. “Anticipating the long-term cardiovascular effects of COVID-19.” Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolys. Sep 2020. 3 : 1–13. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7467860/>
- Kresch, Eliyahu; Achua, Justin; Saltzman, Russell; Khodamoradi, Kajal; Arora, Himanshu; Ibrahim, Emad; Kryvenko, Oleksandr N; Almeida, Vania Wolff; Firdaus, Fakiha; Hare, Joshua M; and Ramasamy, Ranjith. “COVID-19 Endothelial Dysfunction Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction: Histopathological, Immunohistochemical, and Ultrastructural Study of the Human Penis.” World Journal of Men’s Health. May 2021; 39:e22.
- Rastrelli, G; Di Stasi, V; Inglese, F; Beccaria, M; Garuti, M; Di Costanzo, D; et al. “Low testosterone levels predict clinical adverse outcomes in SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia patients.” Andrology. May 2020 20;10.1111/andr.12821.
- Madden, Patrick J; Thomas, Yanique; Blair, Robert V; Samer, Sadia; Doyle, Mark; Midkiff, Cecily C; Becker, Mark E; Arif, Muhammad S; McRaven, Michael D; Simons, Lacy M; Carias, Ann M; Martinelli, Elena; Lorenzo-Redondo, Ramon; Hultquist, Judd F ; Villinger, Francois J; Veazey, Ronald S; Hope, Thomas J. “An immunoPET probe to SARS-CoV-2 reveals early infection of the male genital tract in rhesus macaques.” biRXiv. Feb 2022.
- Xiao, Shuiyuan; Luo, Dan; Xiao, Yang. “Survivors of COVID-19 are at high risk of posttraumatic stress disorder.” Global Health Research and Policy. Jun 2020. 29 (2020). <https://ghrp.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s41256-020-00155-2>