Researchers say penile tissue samples collected from two men who had recovered from coronavirus months prior suggest that the impact of the illness may contribute to erectile dysfunction. The study, which only involved four men, was conducted by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researchers who said it’s the latest evidence suggesting a link between the two.
"Our research shows that COVID-19 can cause widespread endothelial dysfunction in organ systems beyond the lungs and kidneys," Ranjith Ramasamy, M.D., associated professor and director of the Miller School’s Reproductive Urology Program, said in a news release posted on EurekAlert.org. "In our pilot study, we found that men who previously did not complain of erectile dysfunction developed pretty severe erectile dysfunction on after the onset of COVID-19 infection."
In their latest work, published in the World Journal of Men’s Health, researchers collected penile tissue samples from two men who had a history of COVID-19 infection who underwent penile prosthesis surgery for erectile dysfunction. One of the men had been hospitalized for the illness, while the other only reported mild symptoms. They also collected penile tissue samples from two men undergoing the same procedure, but with no history of coronavirus illness.
Researchers reported that COVID-19 was present in the penile tissue of both men who had been infected, but not in those with no history of the virus. The two coronavirus survivors also had evidence of endothelial dysfunction, or widespread blood vessel dysfunction, while the other two did not.
While small, the researchers said the study suggests that men who contract the virus should be aware that erectile dysfunction could be an adverse effect.