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Aside from the reasons to get a vaccine for COVID-19 such as social responsibility and helping stop the spread of the virus, one reason that will resonate with men is that a new study has revealed that men who contract COVID-19 are nearly six times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction (ED).

According to WebMD, data was collated from a Sex@COVID online survey that was conducted in Italy from 7 April to 4 May in 2020, of a total of 6,821 participants over the age of 18, made up of 4177 women and 2,644 men.

The results showed that erectile dysfunction was significantly higher in men who had self-reported a history of COVID-19 compared to those reporting negative symptoms.

After adjusting for variables that have a bearing on the development of erectile dysfunction, such as age, BMI, psychological status, the study found that the odds ratio for developing ED after having had COVID-19 was 5.66 per cent.

This led the authors of the study to note that should a person experience a sudden worsening of erectile dysfunction, they should consider quarantining as a precaution and get a test for the virus, and to “consider their erectile impairment as a sign of possible underlying conditions that could increase the likelihood of suffering from COVID‐19.”

The study was led by Emmanuele A. Jannini, a professor of endocrinology and medical sexology at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, in Rome, Italy, and suggests that erectile dysfunction can be both a short-term and long-term complication of COVID-19.

Professor Jannini said: “When offered, men should have the COVID vaccination. It also gives a whole new meaning to wearing the mask ― mask up to keep it up. It could possibly have the added benefit of preventing sexual dysfunction.”

He also pointed out that there are several factors, such as older age, diabetes, high body mass index (BMI) and smoking, that are the same risk factors associated with both erectile dysfunction and the coronavirus.

“Results of our study agree with the pathophysiological mechanisms linking ED, endothelial dysfunction, and COVID-19,” he added. “Basically, endothelial dysfunction is common in both conditions (COVID-19 and ED).”

The study took the approach that erectile dysfunction can often be considered a clinical marker of impaired overall health, which can include cardiovascular problems at a young age in men.

It aimed to discover more on the connection between COVID-19 and erectile dysfunction and asked whether it could be a risk factor for contracting the virus and if contracting the virus leads to the development of erectile dysfunction.

“This would possibly suggest that men with ED, due to the underlying conditions which impair erectile response, could also be more susceptible to contracting COVID-19,” said Jannini.

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