The number of men in their 20s and 30s seeking help for erectile dysfunction is skyrocketing, and doctors are linking it to the after-effects of COVID-19 infection.

Doctors around the world are increasingly seeing younger, vaccinated and unvaccinated men report that they can no longer perform in the bedroom or even be stimulated after recovering from COVID-19.

“We started seeing our first patients with this problem after COVID as early as last winter,” Greg Girard, director of the Tulsa Men’s Clinic, told FOX23. “We have easily seen recently an increase of over 35% in the number of patients asking us for help. “

“They are mostly men in their mid-twenties and early thirties. We usually don’t see men seeking help or care until they are in their 40s and 50s.

Girard said it appears the virus is persistent and damaging the tiny blood vessels in the penis, and even after someone has recovered, the damage persists.

“There is no way to tell the difference between erectile dysfunction caused by COVID and erectile dysfunction caused by other factors, but we have ways to scan and see what is really going on,” he said. -he declares.

The effects on men’s sexual health caused by the internal damage of COVID-19 are so new, there is no name for it, and research is only just beginning in the global medical community. FOX23 has primarily heard of “COVID-related erectile dysfunction,” but in some cases the nickname “COVID Crotch” has been used. FOX23 was told that it could be more than two years before the damaging effects of COVID-19 on the penis are fully understood.

Dr. Basal Hassoun of Mercy Health in Oklahoma City is a urologist and a member of the Healthy Oklahoma Coalition. He told FOX23 and other reporters this fall that he has seen the results of the virus linger in the penis and cause severe damage to blood vessels and even lead to impotence.

“The tissue is a spongy tissue almost anatomically equivalent to the lungs in terms of vascular structure,” Hassoun said. “Thus, by hampering the vascular structure, blood flow to the genital area can be significantly affected.”

Hassoun said that due to the start of the research phase, it is not clear whether there was an impact on a man’s sperm count that could impact the chances of success. pregnancy, or if there is damage to the semen itself leading to an increased risk of birth defects. Today, many doctors and men’s clinics are communicating with each other about what works and what doesn’t and what is happening with their patients.

“There haven’t been any official studies, but there have been anecdotal experiences about it,” he said.

Girard said the Tulsa Men’s Clinic offers a mix of therapies that have reversed some, if not all, of the damage. While some may simply take pills like Viagra to increase blood flow to the penis when preparing to have sex, Girard and his team recommend shock wave therapy to stimulate and repair blood flow to the penis. damaged vessels.

“Normally our shockwave therapies last for about six weeks and you’ll know they’ve probably been reversed between forty-five and sixty days,” he said.

FOX23 asked the two men if there were any warning signs that might be at higher risk for COVID-related erectile dysfunction if they fall ill with COVID-19, and FOX23 has been told that many men who suffering from this condition had underlying health issues that would normally affect them later in life, but were awakened by their COVID infection. These conditions are akin to diabetes, anxiety / depression, hypertension, and other long term health issues.

Hassoun said that not only did COVID-19 when it infects someone brought many of these underlying conditions to the fore, but the pandemic itself causing people to stay home and be sedentary has also brought many of these underlying conditions to the forefront. exacerbated some negative health issues that only get worse when they have COVID. infection.

“A lot of people attributed their sexual dysfunction to fatigue or stress, but now that they stay home more, all of these underlying issues are unmasked and can be treated,” he said.

With any new health issue, it could take at least two years for all the answers and potential treatments to be discovered, but that doesn’t mean you should wait and live with erectile dysfunction. to doctors and looking for help and answers, we wouldn’t have the information we have today about COVID damage to blood vessels in the penis, especially in younger men in their sexual peak .