Preliminary evidence suggests that Covid could increase one’s risk of erectile dysfunction (ED). According to Sexual Medicine, a study conducted in 2021 found that reported rates of men’s sexual health problems, including erectile dysfunction, increased significantly during the pandemic. This study posited that either psychological or biological factors could cause these increased rates.
How Covid May Cause Erectile Dysfunction
Given that the pandemic is still ongoing, much of the research studying Covid’s link to ED is young and therefore speculative. In April 2022, a group of American researchers published an article in Sexual Medicine Review that summarized the potential ways that Covid causes ED.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 6.6% of men with andrological disorders were diagnosed with ED. This percentage increased to 8.7% during the pandemic period. Researchers don’t yet understand the underlying biological causes of this increase. Some estimations include:
- Vascular integrity issues: According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the vascular system transports blood throughout the body. Healthy erections rely on this system for adequate blood flow. If the vascular system is damaged, erectile dysfunction can occur. A growing body of evidence suggests that Covid can damage the vascular system, thus causing ED.
- Covid medication: More severe cases of Covid are often treated with potent medication. For example, aldosterone receptor blocks, which are used to control blood pressure, are believed to increase a patient’s risk of developing ED.
- Endocrine issues: Many organs are part of the endocrine system, which regulates the body’s hormonal levels. The testes, which are responsible for producing testosterone, are a part of this system. Covid may cause inflammation that can damage hormone-regulating organs. While reduced testosterone is more likely to affect a person’s sex drive rather than their erection potency, it is still a potential ED risk factor.
Mental Health Problems
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide reports of depression and anxiety skyrocketed during the pandemic. This increase was attributed several potential causes, including:
- Stress over the virus
- The challenges of living and working from home
- Grief after losing a loved one
According to The World Journal of Men’s Health, there’s a strong link between ED and depression. Research suggests that individuals with depression can be twice as likely to develop ED as those without it. This could also cause a negative feedback loop, as men who suffer from ED are often diagnosed with depression and anxiety. It’s often unclear if patients developed depression or ED first.
Some research suggests that the pandemic also altered sexual behavior frequency and satisfaction. According to Sexual Medicine, a study conducted in Turkey found that about 40% of participants reported having sex less frequently during the pandemic.
Disruption of Healthcare Access
The pandemic disrupted access to healthcare. Many elective urological procedures, some aimed at treating ED, were postponed during the pandemic. By postponing these treatments, patients had to live with their condition for a longer period.
However, the explosion of telemedicine during the pandemic benefitted some patients. Sexual health experts are highly specialized and usually situated in metropolitan areas. By offering telehealth check-ins over Zoom or another platform, these experts can reach more clients. The pandemic greatly improved the infrastructure that facilitates online healthcare.
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Who Is Most at Risk for Erectile Dysfunction?
While Covid is a potential factor that can increase one’s risk of ED, there is a range of other possible underlying causes. These medical conditions or lifestyle behaviors can lead to someone developing ED:
- Taking anti-depressants: Selective serotonin uptake reinhabits (SSRIs), used to treat depression, can cause ED.
- Smoking: Smokers are at risk of developing ED. However, it’s worth noting that this increased risk is only statistically significant if someone has smoked a pack a day for over 20 years, according to The World Journal of Men’s Health.
- Diabetes: According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s a well-documented correlation between diabetes and ED.
- Hypertension: Not only does hypertension cause ED, but the medication used to treat hypertension, like beta-blockers, is a risk as well, per the International Journal of Hypertension.
How do I Know If I Have ED?
Typically, you know if you are suffering from ED. According to the Mayo Clinic, this condition manifests in several ways, including:
- The inability to get or maintain an erection
- Low libido
We Can Help You Find Solutions for Erectile Dysfunction
You don’t need to suffer silently from erectile dysfunction. At Anti-Aging & Regenerative Associates, we provide a range of potential treatment options, including:
- Acoustic wave pressure therapy (AWPT): Also known as Revive Wave© Therapy, this treatment involves targeted shockwave treatment. These shockwaves stimulate cellular regrowth.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy: During this treatment, called the P-Shot, we’ll extract a sample of your blood and process it in a centrifuge machine. The centrifuge will concentrate your platelets, which we will then inject into the penis to promote cellular regrowth. This treatment can increase sexual stamina and erection firmness.
- Exosome therapy: Exosome therapy re-applies stem cells from one part of your body to your pubic area.
Our team can advise you on your treatment options and explain their potential side effects. We work tirelessly to improve the health of our clients and adhere to both FDA and DEA regulations. If you’re ready to get your sex life back on track, call our offices to schedule an appointment.