Long-term Covid could affect your sex life

Researchers have determined that having the coronavirus could affect our sexual and reproductive health.

As well as the already well-known possible long term side effects of Covid, such as fever, cough, fatigue and sensory losses, researchers are ever learning about new possible implications that could derail your health.

Some women and men have reported effects on their sexual and reproductive systems following a Covid infection.

While, women have typically reported menstrual changes, men have specifically reported issues with erectile dysfunction (ED) that linger on well after other symptoms have subsided.

Erectile dysfunction in men is a possible long term side effect of being afflicted with the coronavirus

A literature review published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation in July confirmed onset ED as a symptom of coronavirus. The researchers found that male COVID patients were more likely to experience hypogonadism which is a condition where a person’s sex organs release little or no sex hormones – than those who have not been afflicted by Covid.

Whether this state of hypogonadism is permanent or temporary is a question so far left unanswered,” claimed the researchers.

Also noted in the study was lower counts of Leydig cells, which are found in the testicles that maintain the male reproductive tract assisting in the production of testosterone that are responsible for spermatogenesis, the generation of sperm.

The researchers connected that this suppression of testosterone ‘might be one of the reasons for the large difference in terms of mortality and hospitalization rate between males and females and might also explain why SARS-CoV-2 commonly infects old men.’

Women, however can also experience reproductive and sexual symptoms that doctors believe are linked to hormones. Louise Newson, MD a general practitioner and menopause specialist, told Vox that she is momentarily conducting a pilot survey to assess these symptoms in Covid patients.

She has so far received 842 responses from patients and says that the results “confirm (her) thoughts that long Covid is likely to be related to low hormone levels (testosterone and estrogen), which so far have been neglected with research.”

Newson said that many woman can notice worsening Covid symptoms just before their period commences, this is when estrogen levels plummet to an all-time low. She believes that certain long Covid symptoms such as dizziness, brain fog, fatigue and joint pain are also symptoms of menopause.

But there is encouraging news for patients worried that these symptoms could go on indefinitely. Newson says that: “anecdotally patients with long Covid from her menopause clinic have improved with the right type of hormone replacement therapy.”

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