Where the strength goes. Scientists named the most unpleasant consequences of COVID-19

Postmenopausal weakness

Medics have noticed: some men who previously did not complain of potency problems develop erectile dysfunction after COVID-19. To understand the reasons, Italian scientists together with their colleagues from China, Denmark and Vietnam analyzed articles on this subject published and indexed in Scopus, PubMed and Google Scholar databases from the beginning of 2020 until July 2021.

The authors concluded: potency disorder in COVID-19 is associated with a range of physiological and psychological factors. Experts believe that virtually any coronavirus-induced respiratory, neurological, cardiovascular, or endocrine complication can negatively affect male sexual health.

For example, oxygen deficiency is known to reduce erectile function. And many coovid patients still have lung problems three months after recovery. Oxygen deficiency reduces the production of nitric oxide, which is needed to increase the volume and hardening of the penis.

In addition, SARS-CoV-2 interacts with the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor and affects cells - particularly the endothelial cells lining the inside of blood and lymphatic vessels. Damage to the mucous membrane causes blood to stop flowing normally to the tissues.

American scientists from the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami found that the coronavirus spreads in the endothelial cells of the male penis. This negatively affects the supply of blood to the penis and, accordingly, the erectile function - because it is directly dependent on the integrity of the endothelium.

Long-term endocrine disruption in patients with COVID-19 has been less studied than pulmonary or cardiovascular disruption. However, there is evidence that ACE2 is expressed in pancreatic and testicular β-cells. Scientists from the Miller School note: sometimes coronavirus penetrates testicular tissue, which can affect male fertility in general. And Italian researchers have found that a prolonged course of covid drops the level of testosterone, the hormone responsible for sexual activity in men.

Different factors reinforce each other. For example, French scientists proved that patients with more severe forms of vascular damage, including acute thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, often develop severe endothelial dysfunction as well. And pancreatic dysfunction leads to exacerbation of diabetes, both type I and type II. Related endocrine and metabolic changes can lead to long-term problems with erection, the authors of the review believe.

Not just physiology

In addition to purely physiological, scientists have several indirect causes. First of all, these are the side effects of medications. And also stress due to hospitalization and socio-economic factors, such as forced isolation, fear of dismissal and financial difficulties.

Some long-term covid medications - such as beta-blockers and diuretics - impair erectile function. And restrictive measures lead to a depressed state of mind and anxiety. Many lost their jobs during the pandemic. Those who switched to remote work faced sedentary lifestyles, disruption of routines, a sharp decrease in communication and depression. According to scientists, this inevitably affects male sexual health.

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