In a new study, Turkish researchers have found that coronavirus infection along with the pandemic’s adverse mental health effects have led to an increase in erectile dysfunction in men

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In a new study, researchers from Turkey have found that coronavirus infection along with the pandemic’s adverse mental health effects have led to an increase in erectile dysfunction in men.

In fact, a number of studies have shown that COVID-19 could have a significant effect on the male reproductive organs, which can impact overall sexual health and cause erectile dysfunction.

According to a report by The footprintTurkish researchers have found that dysfunction of the membranes that line blood vessels and direct testicular damage, as well as the adverse effects of the pandemic on mental health, have led to an increase in erectile dysfunction.

Let’s find out more about the study that suggests COVID infection could lead to increased cases of erectile dysfunction and what other studies are on the matter:

What is erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get and keep an erection during and during sex.

Erectile dysfunction or impotence can be caused by various physical conditions including diseases, hormonal imbalances, as well as psychological factors. It is often a sign of an underlying health condition that requires treatment and a risk factor for heart disease.

Clogged blood vessels, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, certain prescription drugs, smoking, and alcoholism can also be attributed to erectile dysfunction.

Since the brain plays a key role in triggering the series of physical events that cause an erection, a number of things can also interfere with sexual well-being and cause or worsen erectile dysfunction.

Depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues can add to the causes of erectile dysfunction.

What the studies say

According to The footprint report, which cites the study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research last month, erectile dysfunction can also be induced by autoimmune responses, such as inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease and psoriasis , among others.

These autoimmune responses produce proteins that modulate the immune response called cytokines, such as TNF-α and IL-6, which are known to worsen sexual dysfunction.

The body also releases cytokines during a COVID-19 infection.

In research studies, viral RNA has been detected in the surfaces of endothelial cells. The endothelium are the membranes that line the blood vessels. The virus then binds to ACE2 receptors which are used for signaling between cells and systems.

Also read: COVID-19: Future waves unlikely to have serious impact in India, experts say

Disruption of penile cell signaling leads to endothelial dysfunction.

Another study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, found remnants of the COVID-19 virus in the lungs, prostate, penis and testicles of rhesus macaque monkeys.

The researchers found that although the infection in the lungs began to clear up after 14 days, it increased in the testicles of the monkeys. The blood vessels of the genitals were also damaged.

According to The footprint, another study in 2021 also found that in a limited sample of just two infected men and two healthy men for controls, there were observable viral particles and RNA in penile blood vessels.

A survey by Chinese researchers focused on the sex life and sexual function of adult Chinese men during the pandemic.

He found that during the COVID-19 outbreak, decreased sexual function was present in a proportion of adult males, and risk factors included increased anxiety and depression, and decreased the frequency of sexual life.

According to a report from Financial Express, a study in the Journal of Andrology found that men who had COVID were 5.6 times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction, while another University of Florida study published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation found revealed that men who had had COVID-19 were 3.3 times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction.

A study published in the World Journal of Men’s Health found that the COVID-19 virus was still present in the penises of men who were infected six to eight months ago.

With contributions from agencies

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