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COVID-19 could lead to erectile dysfunction, new study suggests

Our Medical Watch segment deals with adult subject matter, specifically men's sexual health and functioning.

NEW ORLEANS — There are new findings about how the coronavirus is causing some long-term side effects in men.

University of Miami doctors are finding coronavirus in men's penile tissue several months after they get well. And in some, it is causing severe erectile dysfunction.

Urologist and Director of Men's Health at Tulane, Dr. Omer Raheem, is seeing patients who have E.D. after being infected with the coronavirus. He is also seeing other health problems in addition to E.D., such as lowered testosterone which is the male hormone. That causes men to become lethargic and have a lower sex drive. The virus also invades the testicles. Research is still looking into the effects on sperm quality, infertility and pregnancy, as well as if the virus can be spread during sex.

“We know from data that the virus actually present in seamen fluid. What the implication of that virus in the semen, transported to a woman, yet to be determined,” Dr. Raheem said.

Dr. Raheem says erectile dysfunction after COVID is more likely to affect men with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. It is not known if the damage to the penile tissue is permanent or not. Some patients are helped with medications such as Viagra, but the two men in the study needed penile implants to have an erection.

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When asked how E.D. psychologically is affecting his patients’ quality of life and relationships, he replied,  “I've seen a lot men with, who come from COVID and it has a lot of implication on their sexual mental health.”

Right now in Louisiana, women are more likely to have gotten a COVID vaccine than men, with women making up nearly 57 percent of those vaccinated.

When asked if he thinks this new scientific research is going to drive men to get a vaccine since sexual intimacy is so important, Dr. Raheem answered, “Absolutely.”

In addition to encouraging men to get a COVID vaccine, Dr. Raheem says men, with any of these side effects, should see a physician for treatment.