(CMR) A new study has found that the coronavirus could linger in the penis and cause impotence. According to WebMD, this may be one more compelling reason men may want to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Coronavirus infection is already known to damage blood vessels, and vessels that supply blood to the penis appear to be no exception, WebMD explained in an analysis of the report published May 7 in the World Journal of Men's Health.
According to the article, researchers found coronavirus particles in penile tissue samples taken from two former COVID-19 patients who became impotent following their infection, which had occurred six and eight months earlier.
Further study revealed evidence of blood vessel damage in the penises of the COVID-19 patients, compared to two other men with erectile dysfunction who'd never been infected.
“We found that the virus affects the blood vessels that supply the penis, causing erectile dysfunction. The blood vessels themselves malfunction and are not able to provide enough blood to enter the penis for an erection,” said senior researcher Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, director of the reproductive urology program at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine.
Ramasamy compared this to organ damage in the lungs, kidneys, and brain that's been found in COVID-19 patients, WebMD stated.
“We think the penis also could be affected in a similar way. We don't think this is a temporary effect. We think this could be permanent,” Ramasamy said.
The two recovered COVID-19 patients undergoing penile prosthesis surgery for their erectile dysfunction both had normal erectile function prior to their infections, according to WebMD.
One of the men had been severely sick with COVID-19 and spent two weeks in the hospital before he recovered, but otherwise was free from chronic health problems. The other man had a relatively mild case of COVID-19 but suffered from clogged arteries and high blood pressure before becoming infected.
The study found that both men still had COVID-19 particles in their penile tissue and evidence of endothelial dysfunction — a condition in which the linings of small blood vessels don't function properly and fail to provide adequate blood supply to different parts of the body.