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The symptoms of Long Covid are thought to be affecting men’s self-confidence, as a new study found that hair loss and sexual dysfunction are two of the officially recognised symptoms. These are both issues which are closely linked to self-esteem and self-identity, and may even lead to increased rates of anxiety and depression in men.

 SciTechDaily reports that a study by scientists from the University of Birmingham found that the consequences of Long Covid are more far-reaching than first thought. After extensive research of 2.4 million anonymous health records in the UK, scientists and medical professionals identified 62 new or more frequently reported symptoms.

Erectile dysfunction and hair loss were among the common symptoms, along with brain fog, fever, vomiting, bowel incontinence, limb swelling, and anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure, which may be a symptom of depression.)

One of the study’s senior authors is Dr Shamil Haroon, an associate clinical professor in public health at the University of Birmingham.

He said: “This research validates what patients have been telling clinicians and policymakers throughout the pandemic – that the symptoms of long Covid are extremely broad and cannot be fully accounted for by other factors, such as lifestyle risk factors or chronic health conditions.”

He added: “The symptoms we identified should help clinicians and clinical guideline developers to improve the assessment of patients with long-term effects from Covid-19, and to subsequently consider how this symptom burden can be best managed.”

Men who are suffering from sexual problems or unexplained hair loss are advised to consult their GP in the first instance, to rule out an underlying medical condition. It is reassuring to remember that hair loss caused by illness is usually temporary, and the hair will return to its normal growth patterns over time. 

Classic male pattern baldness can be treated with a product called finasteride, which suppresses the levels of the hormone DHT, which is responsible for killing hair follicles. It’s best to start the treatment at the first signs of hair loss because once the follicle has completely died, it can’t be revived.

Men who are experiencing sexual dysfunction are also advised to contact their GP for advice. This is because there may be a serious underlying cause for the problem, such as high blood pressure or heart disease. The doctor will ask questions about your lifestyle, such as how much you smoke, how much alcohol you drink, and how often you exercise. 

This is because maintaining a good level of physical fitness and eating well can boost circulation, meaning that sexual dysfunction is less likely to occur. Sexual problems can also be caused by stress and mood disorders, and taking regular exercise and eating a healthy balanced diet, and cutting down on alcohol, can lead to dramatic improvements. 

Men who have no major illnesses or lifestyle challenges may be prescribed Viagra, which works by increasing the blood flow to the genitals, making it easier to achieve and maintain an erection. The medication can be obtained online, following a virtual appointment with a doctor or pharmacist. 

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