Erectile dysfunction (impotence) is a condition in which a man cannot achieve an erection sufficient for intercourse. The most important mechanism of its development is vascular: it occurs when blood flow in the penis is obstructed. This often accompanies “common” vascular pathologies, primarily atherosclerosis.
It is known that with COVID-19, pathological changes in the cardiovascular system are often observed. In the inner lining of the vessels (endothelium) there are receptors that are necessary for the coronavirus to enter the cell (primarily ACE2). Previously, it was found in the endothelium of the vessels of various organs. Endothelial dysfunction (endothelial dysfunction) is a condition in which the work of blood vessels is disrupted and the blood supply to organs is disrupted.
In the tissues of the penis, which are responsible for erection, the endothelium is the same as in other vessels. Therefore, the authors of the new study raised the question of whether the coronavirus can be found there and whether COVID-19 can contribute to impotence.
“Our research has shown that COVID-19 can cause widespread endothelial dysfunction in various organs and systems, not just the lungs and kidneys. It can occur in various organs, including the penis. In our pilot study, we found that men who had previously complained of erectile dysfunction developed quite severe impotence after suffering COVID-19, ”said Ranjith Ramasamy of the University of Miami, study co-author.
For scientific work, scientists collected samples of penile tissue from two men 65 and 71 years old, who suffered from COVID-19, and after 6-8 months underwent penile prosthetics for impotence. Before that, they did not suffer from erectile dysfunction. One of them had mild symptoms of infection, the other was hospitalized. Scientists also took similar penile tissue from two other men who underwent a similar operation, but who did not suffer from COVID-19.
In the tissues of the penis of men who have undergone COVID-19, scientists have discovered a coronavirus. Scientists found signs of endothelial dysfunction in them, in contrast to men who did not suffer from coronavirus infection.
“This suggests that men who have contracted COVID-19 should be aware that erectile dysfunction can be a side effect. In this case, you need to see a doctor, ”Ramasami said COVID-19.
Previously, the same group of scientists showed that the coronavirus can infect the testicles of some men, which has the potential to lead to infertility.